Government refuses to fund training spaces to tackle veterinarian shortage: BC Liberals

BC Liberals on Tuesday denounced Advanced Education Minister Melanie Mark for her refusal to fund additional veterinary school spaces for British Columbian students as a serious shortage of trained veterinarians in B.C. begins to impact animal welfare.

“As British Columbia’s population continues to grow, the demand for professional services is only bound to increase, yet there is already a serious shortage of trained veterinarians throughout the province,” said Advanced Education Critic Simon Gibson. “B.C. veterinarian students depend on the NDP government to send funding to Saskatchewan for veterinary college seats, yet when the minister had the opportunity to fund an additional 20 seats, she chose to take a pass.”

The reluctance to fund the additional seats is being seen as a further indication of the NDP’s economic mismanagement and potential cuts to come in the 2020 spring budget.

“The NDP has run out of money and are kicking the can down the road to buy themselves time as they try and figure out how to fool British Columbians into thinking they’re still capable of doing the job,” said Agriculture Critic Ian Paton. “If the veterinarian shortage continues, there will be acute consequences – especially in rural B.C. and Vancouver Island, which already have little to no access to veterinarians.”

A clear need has been identified by the Ministry of Advanced Education themselves and the industry, yet the NDP has chosen to throw away the opportunity to get more B.C. students into veterinary school to help ease the shortage moving forward, said the BC Liberals.