The Government of Saskatchewan is expanding eligibility for the Saskatchewan Loan Forgiveness for Veterinarians and Veterinary Technologists program. Any Saskatchewan veterinary practice that offers veterinary services to livestock stakeholders from rural or remote communities is now eligible, which includes, but is not limited to, ambulatory service delivery. This expansion is in addition to designated communities previously announced in 2021, and the service threshold continues to be a minimum of 400 hours of services over a twelve-month period.
Saskatchewan’s growing economy is fueling high demand for veterinary professionals working in our rural and remote communities. This program is intended to attract veterinary professionals to work in rural areas by forgiving a portion of their Saskatchewan Student Loan debt for up to five years to a maximum of $20,000.
“We recognize that the veterinarian shortages in rural Saskatchewan will take ongoing collaboration to resolve,” Agriculture Minister David Marit said. “The Government of Saskatchewan takes this issue seriously and is committed to continuing to find additional solutions.”
“This expansion will ensure that veterinary professionals providing services to smaller communities are eligible for the program,” Advanced Education Minister Gordon S. Wyant, Q.C. said. “It is a positive step forward in addressing the need for veterinarians and veterinary technologists in rural and under-serviced communities in Saskatchewan.”
“The SCA is very pleased with the government’s announcement today regarding changes to the Loan Forgiveness Program for vets and vet techs,” said Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association Chair Arnold Balicki. “Our industry, like many others, is facing a shortage of vets which can negatively impact our industry, our ability to expand, our need for an established vet/client relationship for access to drugs and even animal welfare. We had raised concerns with the government previously around the qualifying parameters for this program. We truly appreciate that they took our concerns to heart and made the necessary changes to allow clinics in larger centres such as Prince Albert, who also serve rural clients, to now qualify.”
The Loan Forgiveness for Veterinarians and Veterinary Technologists program was announced in 2021 and began accepting applications on January 1, 2022.