Expanding seats for veterinary medicine


Source: Alberta Agriculture and Forestry

Alberta’s government is investing $8.4 million over three years to support enrolment expansion in the program. Additionally, $59 million in capital funding over three years will support the construction of new infrastructure to accommodate future learners. The funding is part of the Alberta at Work initiative.

“Agriculture is a key pillar of Alberta’s economy. That’s why it is so critical we ensure that livestock have access to the veterinary care that keeps them healthy. Through Alberta’s Recovery Plan and the Alberta at Work Initiative, we are addressing the shortage of veterinarians, and that our furry companions have the care they need, when they need it.”

Jason Kenney, Premier


“Rural Alberta relies on highly skilled and knowledgeable veterinary specialists to support the vitality of their businesses. These investments are very important steps in the process of ensuring we have more skilled vets available in our province, while offering students the chance to train for successful careers in this field close to home.”

Demetrios Nicolaides, Minister of Advanced Education

Alberta’s agricultural sector relies on healthy animals. Labour forecasts show there is an emerging need for veterinary specialists in the coming years, especially when it comes to livestock and large animals. Alberta’s government is laying the groundwork for the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine to accommodate more students, increasing the existing number of seats in the program by up to 50.

“Veterinarians and veterinary technologists are pillars, not only of the agriculture industry, but also in the rural communities they serve. Veterinary medicine is a key sector in our rural economy, and more Alberta-trained vets is a big win for our livestock sector.”

Nate Horner, Minister of Agriculture Forestry and Rural Economic Development


“Rural Alberta has been facing an emerging shortage of veterinarians and veterinary technologists. This investment will substantially increase enrolment at the veterinary faculty at the University of Calgary, increasing essential veterinarian capacity supporting farmers and ranchers in rural Alberta, and the continued competitiveness of our production animal agriculture sector.”

Travis Toews, Minister of Finance and President of Treasury Board


“Alberta at Work supports Albertans along their career journeys. With this critical investment, we are providing more opportunities for young Albertans to enter veterinary professions to support the workforce needs of businesses and communities across the province.”

Kaycee Madu, Minister of Labour and Immigration


“This funding from the Government of Alberta will ensure that the University of Calgary can train enough new veterinarians to help address the shortage of animal health professionals in our province, while also supporting the growth of a major economic sector.”

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


“Increasing the number of seats in our Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program will allow more Alberta students to study veterinary medicine, providing the only long-term sustainable way to ensure animal care in Alberta.”

Dr. Renate Weller, dean, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Calgary

This investment is the latest step towards addressing the shortage of large animal veterinarians in the province. In 2017, Alberta’s government decided not to renew its funding agreement with the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatchewan, which provided veterinary medicine education to Alberta students, and approved a plan to transition funding to the University of Calgary’s Veterinary Medicine Program beginning in 2020. This laid the groundwork for a strategy that will grow capacity within the province to make this career path more viable to students by offering it closer to home.

“This announcement marks a historic moment for veterinary medicine, animal care and the future economy of Alberta.  The Alberta Veterinary Medical Association thanks the Alberta government for this generational investment that allows critically needed expansion of the world-class veterinary education at the UCVM and helps to address the significant labour gaps facing our veterinary profession. Alberta will be well served by this new and expanded generation of veterinarians.”

Dr. Daren Mandrusiak, president, Alberta Veterinary Medical Association


“Veterinary technologists are integral to veterinary teams delivering services throughout Alberta. A critical shortage of veterinarians affects everyone. This investment offers us hope that the Alberta government is committed to addressing the needs of Alberta animal owners and recognizing the critical role of veterinary education in Alberta.”

Karen Melnyk, registered veterinary technician and president, Alberta Veterinary Technologist Association

The Alberta at Work Initiative is directly investing in programs that help get more Albertans back to work while addressing the province’s structural unemployment problem. Advanced Education plays a crucial role in this work, and this investment is one of a number of key programming investments for post-secondary education and training.

Quick facts

  • Through Budget 2022, Alberta’s government is investing more than $600 million over three years into Alberta at Work – a collection of strategic investments to help Albertans develop new skills and grow their careers.
  • The University of Calgary Faculty of Veterinary Medicine was established in 2005 to meet Alberta’s need for highly skilled veterinary graduates to support rural Alberta, production animal and equine industries, animal and human health research, and public health.


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