To encourage newly licensed veterinarians to practice in northern and underserviced communities in Ontario, the provincial government has launched the Veterinary Incentive Program.
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The program will provide grants of up to $50,000 over five years to veterinarians who provide care to livestock and poultry in these communities. Program funding will be delivered by the Agricultural Adaptation Council (AAC) and will be available to up to 100 newly licensed veterinarians. Program details, eligibility requirements and information on how to apply will be available on the AAC website.
“Veterinary services are a necessity for the agricultural community across Ontario, and our government recognizes the long-standing issues that farmers in underserviced areas have experienced when trying to access these services,” said Lisa Thompson, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, in a release.
In a separate statement, the Beef Farmers of Ontario (BFO) said it welcomed the funding. “For the last several years, BFO has prioritized finding solutions to address the shortage of large animal veterinarians, which has been impacting beef farmers in eastern and northern Ontario,” it said in the statement. “BFO continues to work with our industry partners and engage with the provincial government to discuss solutions to address this growing problem.”
“While there isn’t one single solution that will address the lack of veterinary capacity in Ontario, there are a multitude of short-term and long-term strategies, like the Veterinary Incentive Program, that will help create real progress for the livestock sector,” said Jack Chaffe, BFO president.
The Veterinary Incentive Program and the new Collaborative Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program, announced earlier this year, are designed to address the veterinary capacity shortage and attract new talent to veterinary medicine, the government of Ontario said in a release. The provincial government also launched consultations in November 2022 to modernize the Veterinarians Act. A discussion paper on the proposed amendments was posted on the Regulatory Registry. Feedback received during the consultation period is now being reviewed and will inform possible changes to the Act in the future.