THUNDER BAY — Lakehead and Guelph universities say the provincial budget will allow them to proceed with a new veterinary program.
The two schools issued a news release Thursday evening, hours after the Ford government unveiled its spending plan, which said a "historic investment" by the province will allow the partners to move forward with their proposal.
The budget said the government will be providing $14.7 million over two years, starting in 2024-2025, allowing for an increase in enrolment of 20 new students per year.
The universities said the program, which they called the Collaborative Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Program in Rural and Northern Community Practice, will support economic growth by increasing the number of veterinarians working in northern, rural and Indigenous communities, and ensuring livestock producers have access to veterinary services.
"This investment includes critical support for a new, collaborative veterinary medicine program — increasing the number of veterinary spaces for the first time since 1988 and adding incentives to address critical shortages in veterinary care," the news release states.
Earlier this year, Thunder Bay city council approved $500,000 in funding through the Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission to support the program.
Municipal leaders across the region have also voiced their support for the program.