Canadian veterinarians call for a testing centre to certify internationally-trained vets


The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) is calling on the federal government to invest in programs, projects, and veterinary infrastructure to mitigate a growing shortage in the veterinary workforce.

The Employment and Social Development Canada’s (ESDC) Canadian Occupation Project System (COPS) shows that the labour market supply of veterinarians is in a structural supply deficit in the short term and in projections until 2031, says the CVMA.

This shortage has significant implications for animal health and welfare, public health, the Canadian economy, communities across Canada, as well as the well-being of individual veterinary professionals and paraprofessionals, says the organization that represents over 25,000 veterinarians and registered technicians and technologists.

Veterinary practices in Canada generate $15.7 billion in total economic output, $8.9 billion in total GDP; $1.7 billion in total revenue for municipalities, provinces, and the federal government; and over 75,000 full-time equivalent jobs for Canadians, according to “The Economic Impacts of Veterinary Medicine in Canada,” released in December 2023.

“Veterinary medicine supports animal health and welfare, public health, and a healthy environment which together are foundational for the health of Canadians and the Canadian economy,” says Dr. Trevor Lawson, CVMA President. “Given the severe workforce shortage in our profession, Canada needs a veterinary workforce enhancement program that supports expansion and innovation of clinical teaching, training, and research to develop the next generation of veterinarians in response to societal demands.”

CVMA says one part of the solution to the shortage can be addressed by recruiting and onboarding foreign-trained veterinarians (FTVs) and establishing a national testing centre for internationally-educated veterinarians, and by ensuring there are dedicated funds to support veterinary infrastructure.

Additionally, a concerning proportion of veterinarians experience burnout and mental health issues, with one in five reporting suicidal ideation during their careers, says CVMA. When surveys, 89.2 per cent of Canadian veterinarians say they have suffered from burnout (high exhaustion, high depersonalization, and low professional efficacy).

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