There is a shortage of veterinarians throughout Alberta for both companion and livestock practices. This shortage has resulted in veterinarian clinics shutting down in communities as they no longer have a veterinarian on staff contributing to economic hardship for both commercial livestock operations as well as individuals and communities who must travel or leave their communities for adequate vet care.
In 2018 seven million (7,000,000) dogs visited the vet, up from 5 million (5, 000,000) a decade earlier. This increase represents the increase of pet ownership in response to COVID as people sought alternative companionship due to social isolation and the increase of time available due to online work environments. With higher demand, the trending decrease of veterinarians has resulted in increased stress on an already understaffed industry. Alberta has enjoyed economic prosperity; however, this has created challenges and responsibilities regarding the environment, social and economic needs of Albertans.
As many more veterinarians are retiring every year than there are new graduates, this shortage is all over Alberta, Canada and other countries requiring us all to work together to find solutions that will alleviate strain immediately and long term. We are glad to see the recent expansion announcement in the budget to alleviate this strain, as "veterinarians and veterinary technologists are critical to the health of Alberta's animals, the sustainability of Alberta's communities and to the Alberta economy growing forward. Labour shortages are real, growing and pose a risk to lives and livelihoods."
1. Assist in the promotion of Rural Alberta for Companion and Livestock Veterinarian Professionals;
2. Accelerate the accreditation process for internationally trained, non-accredited veterinarians to work in Alberta; and,
3. Facilitate specialized foreign veterinarians to practice in Alberta in their specialized fields.