In addition to providing care to all animals, veterinarians play a key role in food security and safeguarding against the spread of animal-borne diseases. To increase the number of veterinarians across the province, Alberta’s government is investing an additional $10 million, for a total of $68.5 million, to support the construction of the new Veterinary Learning Commons building at the University of Calgary’s Spy Hill Campus.

Construction begins Dec. 1 with the groundbreaking and is expected to be complete in the 2025-26 academic year. When complete, the number of veterinary medicine training seats will double to 100 from 50.

“Alberta’s agriculture sector requires more veterinarians to ensure a healthy and sustainable future. This investment will give the University of Calgary the infrastructure and space required to continue supporting Alberta’s producers with highly skilled veterinarians.”

Rajan Sawhney, Minister of Advanced Education

In Budget 2022, Alberta’s government committed $58.5 million over three years in capital funding to expand capacity at the University of Calgary faculty of veterinary medicine to help address the critical shortage of large animal veterinarians. Budget 2022 also provided $8.4 million to support enrolment expansion in the University of Calgary veterinary medicine program.

“We understand the seriousness of the veterinarian and veterinary technologist shortage, which is why we have provided funding and taken a whole-government approach to address the issue. At the same time, we’re providing capital funding for renovations and lab equipment to further expand veterinary diagnostics so rural vets and producers have affordable and timely access to services to manage animal health and welfare.”

RJ Sigurdson, Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation

As part of this new funding, $1.2 million will support equipment for molecular diagnostics for livestock and capital funding for renovations to the Clinical Skills Building and lab equipment, building on $560,000 in grants provided in 2022-23. This targeted funding is integral to the long-term goals of the faculty of veterinary medicine to provide a full-service veterinary diagnostics laboratory and continued support for livestock diagnostics in Alberta. This project is anticipated to lower operating costs for Alberta producers, as veterinarians are currently sending samples out of province for testing.

“We thank the provincial government for expanding its commitment to help UCalgary address a growing demand for more veterinary professionals and livestock diagnostic facilities. These facilities will provide even more testing capacity to protect the health of animals and support Alberta’s animal production industry and public health, and when this building is complete, there will be double the number of new veterinarians graduating every year.”

Ed McCauley, president and vice-chancellor, University of Calgary

“We are immensely grateful for this crucial investment that will help address the pressing veterinary shortage and enhance diagnostic capabilities. This investment reinforces our commitment to supporting our community, doubling veterinary medicine student capacity to ensure animal health, safety, and to safeguard against zoonotic diseases for the well-being of Alberta and beyond.”

Dr. Renate Weller, dean, faculty of veterinary medicine, University of Calgary

“Educating our veterinary students in Alberta is a critical part of the solution to global veterinary workforce shortages. Ensuring we have necessary lab diagnostic capacity is critical for disease management and producer livelihoods. The ABVMA thanks the Alberta government and the University of Calgary for their leadership and partnership with the profession to build and sustain veterinary education and essential animal lab capacity in Alberta.”

Dr. Natasha Kutryk, president, Alberta Veterinary Medical Association (ABVMA)

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