Today’s Veterinary Business Staff
The University of Calgary veterinary school will increase enrollment by two-thirds as it withdraws from a regional agreement with the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in neighboring Saskatchewan.
Alberta’s provincial government announced Oct. 12 that it will stop paying $8 million a year to support the education of 80 Alberta students enrolled in the DVM program at the University of Saskatchewan’s Western College of Veterinary Medicine. Instead, the University of Calgary Faculty of Veterinary Medicine will be given an additional $4.7 million a year to expand first-year seats from 30 to 50.
Alberta students currently enrolled at Western will be permitted to complete the DVM program.
The plan, set to go into effect in 2020, disappointed Western’s dean, Douglas Freeman, DVM, MS, Ph.D.
“Alberta’s decision to withdraw its financial support from the WCVM — more than $8 million per year — will certainly have an impact on the WCVM’s programs and services,” he said.
The 54-year-old interprovincial agreement reserves 20 first-year seats for Alberta residents, 20 for British Columbia residents and 15 for Manitoba residents.
Calgary’s veterinary school, which opened in 2012, expects to have about 200 students by 2023.
“I appreciate the government of Alberta’s decision to support the expansion of our world-class teaching and research programs,” said the school’s dean, Baljit Singh, BVSc, MVSc, Ph.D. “This investment gives more Alberta students the opportunity to enter our community-embedded veterinary medical training programs and increases our capacity to graduate local veterinarians to support the province’s food animal, equine and pet-owning communities.”
Western will have to adjust to the revenue loss, Dr. Freeman said.
“In the meantime, we will be working on funding models for the college while we continue to build our programs based on our longstanding partnerships,” he said.
“However, one province’s decision doesn’t erase all that we have built and accomplished together in the past five decades. The WCVM will continue to be Western Canada’s veterinary college, providing quality veterinary education, research and clinical expertise to the region. We will not let the loss of support from one partner jeopardize our college’s value to all western Canadians.”
Canada has three other veterinary schools: Atlantic Veterinary College at the University of Prince Edward Island, the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Montreal and Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph.