Beef Farmers Welcome Veterinary Incentive Program
October 27, 2023
October 27, 2023 (Guelph, Ont.) – The Beef Farmers of Ontario (BFO) welcome the release of the Veterinary Incentive Program that was announced this week by the Government of Ontario. The program will encourage newly licensed veterinarians to practice in northern and underserviced communities by providing grants of up to $50,000 over five years to veterinarians who provide care to livestock and poultry in these communities.
Through the program, which is being delivered by the Agriculture Adaptation Council, up to 100 newly licensed veterinarians will be incentivized to provide specialized care to animals such as cattle, sheep, goats, and poultry in underserviced locations of the province.
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. 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,” states Jack Chaffe, BFO President. “We appreciate the leadership of Minister Thompson and Minister Dunlop on this file, and we look forward to continuing to work on this issue together.”
In addition to their engagement with industry and government, BFO continues to find ways to connect with Ontario Veterinary College students who are interested in working with beef cattle, to share information about the Ontario beef sector, and to get a better understanding of how to create opportunities to get interested students on-farm experiences. Further to this, BFO also funds two annual scholarships for Ontario Veterinary College students who are interested in beef cattle and plan to work in the food animal stream.
“Animal welfare is of the upmost importance to beef farmers and having a strong relationship with veterinarians is a critical component of our industry’s commitment to animal care, quality assurance and to our customers,” explains Chaffe.
Veterinary Incentive Program details, eligibility requirements and information on how to apply will be available on the AAC website.
Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs News Release
Veterinary graduates can now apply for funding to practice in areas with critical labour shortages
TORONTO — The Ontario government is launching the Veterinary Incentive Program to encourage newly licensed veterinarians to practice in northern and underserviced communities. The program intake opens on October 26 and will provide grants of up to $50,000 over five years to veterinarians who provide care to livestock and poultry in these communities.
“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. “Through this initiative, we’re taking action to fix it. The Veterinary Incentive Program will ensure the sustainability and continued health of Ontario’s livestock sector.”
Through this program, up to 100 newly licensed veterinarians will be incentivized to provide specialized care to animals such as cattle, sheep, goats, and poultry in underserviced locations of the province. It is being delivered by the Agricultural Adaptation Council (AAC). Program details, eligibility requirements and information on how to apply will be available on the AAC website.
“Access to veterinary care is vital to ensure a prosperous Ontario livestock value chain, especially in underserviced areas,” said Doug Alexander, Chair, Agricultural Adaptation Council. “We are pleased to have been chosen to deliver this unique, timely incentive program for newly licensed veterinarians on behalf of OMAFRA.”
The Veterinary Incentive Program and the new Collaborative Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program were announced in the 2023 Budget, Building a Strong Ontario to help address the veterinary capacity shortage and attract new talent to veterinary medicine. This program is designed to make it easier for farmers and large animal owners to access veterinary care where and when they need it, encourage newly licensed veterinarians to find rewarding work, and open the door for veterinarians to practice in northern Ontario and rural communities.
“We know that access to care for livestock animals is critical to rural and northern communities,” said Jill Dunlop, Minister of Colleges and Universities. “By encouraging new veterinary graduates to practice in underserviced areas, the Veterinary Incentive Program will help address labour shortages head-on, connect highly skilled veterinarians to great careers and support local economic growth.”
This program builds on other measures the government has taken to increase access to veterinary care. In November 2022, the government launched consultations to explore opportunities 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.
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