The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) was on Parliament Hill today to call on the federal government to address workplace shortages and support a robust veterinary workforce through additional investments for programs, projects, and veterinary infrastructure as well as investing in the mental health of all veterinary professionals and paraprofessionals. The CVMA represents over 25,000 veterinarians and registered technicians and technologists who provide vital care and services for millions of clients including small and large animals across Canada.

The veterinary profession in Canada faces pressing challenges that demand immediate attention from the federal government. 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. 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.

“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,” said 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.”

The workforce shortage poses a significant threat to the veterinary profession and its ability to provide quality care for its patients and clients. 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. Further, 89.2 per cent of veterinarians surveyed across Canada suffered from burnout (high exhaustion, high depersonalization, and low professional efficacy).

“It is imperative that Canada addresses this challenge urgently and comprehensively,” said Joel Neuheimer, Chief Executive Officer, CVMA. “Practice owners and employers are struggling to hire and retain veterinary professionals and paraprofessionals, which raises concerns about maintaining the highest standards of care.”

The CVMA has collaborated with MNP LLP to generate a report, The Economic Impacts of Veterinary Medicine in Canada, released in December 2023. Among its findings, the report indicates that in 2022/2023, veterinary practices of all types generated $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. The report presents clear evidence that the veterinary profession contributes substantially to Canada’s economy.

The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association is the national and international voice for Canada’s veterinarians, providing leadership and advocacy for veterinary medicine. Visit to learn more.