A decision by the Alberta government is going to impact the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) at the University of Saskatchewan.
Alberta will not renew its participation in the WCVM's interprovincial agreement after 2020. After that date, it will only provide funding for new veterinary student seats at the University of Calgary's Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. (UCVM)
It will end a 54 year partnership between the four western provinces that established a cost-sharing formula and provincial enrolment quotas.
Under the current agreement, the WCVM accepts 78 students per year. There are 20 each from Saskatchewan, Alberta and B.C., with another 15 from Manitoba. Three other seats are allocated for Indigenous students and those from the northern territories.
WCVM Dean Dr. Douglas Freeman is ''deeply disappointed" by the Alberta government decision.
"We'll work with our other partners and develop plans. It's a loss for sure and the partnership is so hard to lose."
Alberta's decision will eventually mean the loss of more than $8 million a year in funding, but Dr. Freeman hopes to maintain enrolment.
"I have a hard time seeing the college operating with fewer students. I think the size of the college is a pretty good size for the region in general. I know veterinarians would like to see more seats from their provinces."
Freeman also says Alberta students will no longer have the choice of completing a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree at the WCVM where they have access to a thriving veterinary teaching hospital and a wide range of research centres on the U of S campus.