Keep Vet Med Strong

In October 2017, the Province of Alberta suddenly pulled out of the four-province partnership that has supported the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) for more than 50 years.

Losing Alberta’s share of funding – more than $8 million per year – will have a profound negative effect on veterinary education, research and clinical services. It is a serious setback for veterinary medicine and jeopardizes agriculture, public health and food safety in Western Canada.

We call on the Alberta government to commit full funding to veterinary medicine in Alberta and in Western Canada, to re-establish and commit to the partnerships that have served all of us so well.

Let’s Keep Vet Med Strong!

How can you help?


Post your support

to Facebook or Twitter using #KeepVetMedStrong


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Contact members

of the Alberta legislature

Minister of Advanced Education

Hon. Marlin Schmidt
Email the Minister
Phone: 780 427-2137
Twitter: @MarlinSchmidtAB

Minister of Agriculture and Forestry

Hon. Oneil John Carlier
Email the Minister
Phone: 780 427-2137

Opposition MLA for Vermilion-Lloydminster & Retired Veterinarian

Richard Starke
Email Dr. Starke
Phone: 780 638-1306
Twitter: @RichardStarke

Opposition Critic for Advanced Education

Wayne Anderson, MLA, Constituency of Highwood
Email Mr. Anderson
Phone: 780 427-7855
Twitter: @WayneAndersonUC

Contact your MLA

Use this list of Members of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta to directly contact your local MLA.

Why it matters

Less funding

for veterinary medicine

The Province of Alberta is cutting funding for veterinary medicine in Western Canada by more than $3.3 million per year. It is withdrawing $8 million from WCVM’s annual operating budget while adding only $4.7 million to the University of Calgary Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (UCVM).

Alberta gives up

access to world-class assets

Fifty-four years of partnership at the WCVM has built world-class infrastructure, programs, expertise and equipment. As a non-partner, Alberta will no longer have assured access to these valuable assets.

Fewer vets

for Alberta

Pulling out of the partnership will cap Alberta-based veterinary graduates at the current 50 per year — at a time when the province’s demand for veterinarians is increasing.

A blow

to the agriculture industry

Alberta’s withdrawal from the WCVM jeopardizes agriculture in Western Canada by impairing the province’s ability to respond quickly to public health crises such as disease outbreaks and threats to food safety. This threatens to harm the industry and undermines the public confidence.

Alberta abandons

leadership position in veterinary medicine

Fully funding two veterinary schools positioned Alberta as a leader in veterinary medicine education and research in Western Canada and the nation. Withdrawing from the WCVM abandons this leadership role and isolates Alberta.


no longer have a choice

Without funding from their home province, Alberta students will no longer be able to attend the WCVM. Once the limited number of in-province seats are filled, they will be forced to consider other vet schools at much greater expense.

No consultation

with veterinarians, industry or partners

This decision to cut Alberta’s funding to the WCVM was made without any consultation with the other three provinces, veterinarians or the industry groups that they serve.

What we want

Full funding for the UCVM and WCVM.

It’s what’s best for Alberta and for Western Canada.

The UCVM and the WCVM offer complementary programs that appeal to different students and produce veterinary graduates with different strengths. Blocking access to the WCVM limits opportunities for students and discourages valuable and productive collaborations.

What others are saying

More competition, less collaboration


“We are also concerned that instead of fostering a collaborative relationship between both institutions, as has been realized in the recent past, this decision will create a situation where the institutions compete for research and infrastructure funds.”

– Bob Lowe, Chair, Alberta Beef Producers
(Letter to Alberta Minister of Advanced Education Marlin Schmidt)

Fewer vets for Alberta

“In the past four years alone, Alberta’s investment in 80 available seats at WCVM resulted in 97 veterinarians coming to Alberta, 60 per cent of whom went into mixed and large animal practices. Continued funding of seats at WCVM is an investment in Alberta and a vital part of addressing capacity issues.”

– Dr. Margitta Dziwenka, DVM, DABT, President, Alberta Veterinary Medical Association
(Letter to Alberta Minister of Advanced Education Marlin Schmidt)

Veterinarians support full funding

“The ABVMA is of the opinion that support of both UCVM and WCVM is imperative.”

– Dr. Margitta Dziwenka, DVM, DABT, President, Alberta Veterinary Medical Association
(Letter to Alberta Minister of Advanced Education Marlin Schmidt)

Beef producers support “strong and thriving” veterinary institutions

“We derive benefits from both UCVM and WCVM, and it is in the beef industry’s best interests for both institutions to be strong and thriving. Expanding one program at the expense of another does not create a net benefit for the industry or for students. Simply shifting seats from one institution to another does not increase the number of Alberta students who will become veterinary graduates, it merely restricts where they can receive that education.”

– Bob Lowe, Chair, Alberta Beef Producers
(Letter to Alberta Minister of Advanced Education Marlin Schmidt)

Decision diminishes veterinary education and student choice

“Increasing the capacity at UCVM will have a clear benefit for the beef industry, but not if it diminishes WCVM and eliminates student choice at the same time.”

– Bob Lowe, Chair, Alberta Beef Producers
(Letter to Alberta Minister of Advanced Education Marlin Schmidt)

Isolation for future Alberta vet students


“The isolation that will be imposed on future Alberta veterinary students at the University of Calgary will remove the opportunity to foster professional relationships with future colleagues across Western Canada.”

– Kenny May, President, Western Canadian Veterinary Students’ Association
(Letter to Alberta Minister of Advanced Education Marlin Schmidt)

Background & resources

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