Mayor Doug McCallum welcomes new UBC program expansion into Surrey

SURREY Mayor Doug McCallum on Thursday said: “Another sign of Surrey’s prominence is the expansion of UBC’s physical therapy program into Surrey.”

He added: “I want to commend UBC and the provincial government for their foresight in bringing this program to Surrey. It will allow students from Surrey and south of the Fraser access to a world class education close to home.”

McCallum noted: “With today’s announcement, UBC joins KPU and SFU in offering university programs in Surrey. With our growing population, there is no question that there is ample demand for more post-secondary options within Surrey. I look forward to seeing what is next for UBC in Surrey.”


THE Province announced that more people in Surrey and the Fraser Valley will be able to pursue careers in physical therapy at a new training space coming to Surrey.

With provincial support, UBC has purchased the second floor of the City Centre 1 building in Surrey adjacent to Surrey Memorial Hospital. The space will be transformed to create teaching and research laboratories, seminar rooms, student learning commons, offices for faculty and multi-purpose space for assessment, treatment and health promotion.

Currently, the UBC master of physical therapy program welcomes 100 new learners each academic year with students training at the UBC Vancouver campus and in Prince George, in partnership with the University of Northern British Columbia. A total of 20 new seats will be available this fall, with those students moving to the new location in Surrey when it opens in 2023.

Anne Kang, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training, said: “Physical therapists provide vital and life-improving services for British Columbians. We know there’s an increasing need for their services across the province, including the Fraser Health region. That’s why we are investing in this new location to support current and future program expansions at UBC in Surrey. This capital investment will support the growth of this program, work toward meeting the demand for physical therapists today and well into the future.”

Santa Ono, President and Vice Chancellor of UBC, said: “This new space is an important part of UBC’s commitment to meeting the growing needs of Surrey and the Fraser region. By continuing to expand UBC’s presence in the Fraser, we’re creating new opportunities for students to learn and train locally where they’ll build deep connections with communities. We know learners are more likely to practise where they train, and this space will help encourage more physical therapists to stay and serve families in the region.”

The Province is investing $24.9 million, with UBC funding $7.9 million for the project. Work is entering the procurement phase this month with construction anticipated to start in fall 2022. The space is expected to open to students in fall 2023.

Dermot Kelleher, Dean, faculty of medicine and Vice President of Health at UBC said: “UBC is grateful to the Province for this strategic investment in training the next generation of physical therapists in the Fraser. The new site also paves the way for future expansion of other UBC health-professional programs, such as occupational therapy and midwifery in collaboration with health partners to better serve the needs of students, patients and communities.”

In the future, other health programs, like occupational therapy and midwifery, may be able to use the new facilities, creating collaborative learning environment for students attending UBC programs in Surrey.


Quick Facts

* The project cost is $32.8 million, including $20.5 million for the purchase of the space and $12.3 million for renovations.

* Physical therapists are identified as high-demand jobs, with 1,860 job openings in B.C. expected between 2021 and 2031.

* Physical therapists plan and implement treatment programs with a focus on prevention and mitigation of disease, injury and disability through therapeutic exercise programs.

* Occupational therapists support people who are recuperating from or impaired by illness, injury, developmental disorders or mental-health difficulties by encouraging rehabilitation through the performance of activities required in daily life.

* Midwives play an important role in B.C.’s health-care system, which includes providing primary care to women and their families during pregnancy, labour, birth and the postpartum period.