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April 2, 2024 News

National Veterinary Association calls on federal government to address severe workforce shortage

The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) is calling on the federal government to address workplace shortages and support a robust veterinary workforce.

The CVMA represents over 25,00 veterinarians and registered technicians and technologists who provide vital care and services for millions of clients including small and large animals across Canada.

The Employment and Social Development Canada’s (ESDC) Canadian Occupation Project System (COPS) shows that the labour market supply of veterinarians is in a structural supply deficit in the short term and in projections until 2031. The CVMA says these pressing challenges demand immediate attention from the federal government. Its calling for additional investments for programs, projects, and veterinary infrastructure as well as investments in the mental health of all veterinary professionals and paraprofessionals.

Dr. Trevor Lawson, CVMA president, says this shortage has significant implications for animal health and welfare, public health, the Canadian economy, communities across Canada, as well as the well-being of individual veterinary professionals and paraprofessionals.

“Veterinary medicine supports animal health and welfare, public health, and a healthy environment which together are foundational for the health of Canadians and the Canadian economy,” says Lawson. “Given the severe workforce shortage in our profession, Canada needs a veterinary workforce enhancement program that supports expansion and innovation of clinical teaching, training, and research to develop the next generation of veterinarians in response to societal demands.”

The workforce shortage poses a significant threat to the veterinary profession and its ability to provide quality care for its patients and clients. According to CVMA, this shortage can be addressed by recruiting and onboarding foreign-trained veterinarians (FTVs); establishing a national testing centre for internationally educated veterinarians; and ensuring there are dedicated funds to support veterinary infrastructure.

“It is imperative that Canada addresses this challenge urgently and comprehensively,” says Joel Neuheimer, Chief Executive Officer, CVMA. “Practice owners and employers are struggling to hire and retain veterinary professionals and paraprofessionals, which raises concerns about maintaining the highest standards of care.”

The CVMA has collaborated with MNP LLP to generate a report, entitled The Economic Impacts of Veterinary Medicine in Canada. Among its findings, the report indicates that in 2022/2023, veterinary practices of all types generated $15.7 billion in total economic output; $8.9 billion in total GDP; $1.7 billion in total revenue for municipalities, provinces, and the federal government; and over 75,000 full-time equivalent jobs for Canadians.

About the Author

Kara grew up on a grain farm near Bow Island, Alberta. After attending SAIT and the University of Calgary — where she obtained a degree in communication and media studies, and a diploma in broadcast news — Kara began her professional career working in agricultural communications and agricultural journalism. Kara now resides near her family’s farm, raising a mix of livestock, consisting mostly of goats (because something has to eat all that kochia). Kara has a passion for storytelling, but even more so, asking the questions that matter. You can find her surrounded by farmers/ranchers and a cup of coffee — or at an upcoming ABP event!

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Choice Steers

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Livestock Price Insurance Index

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Last Updated on April 11, 2024

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