Access to higher education – A major project in Rimouski to tackle the shortage of veterinarians

In order to train more veterinarians in the organic food and companion animal sector and to further stimulate higher education in the regions, the Minister of Higher Education, Ms.me Danielle McCann, on May 24, together with the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Mr André Lamontagne, announced a decentralization project towards the Université du Québec à Rimouskiof the Université de Montréal veterinary program, currently only offered on the campus of Saint Hyacinthe† An initial cohort of 25 people will be launched in the fall of 2024 and will deliver a 26% gain in student numbers compared to the current cohorts. So it will increase the active population on the campus of Rimouski and will contribute to the vitality of Bas-Saint-Laurent.

The Decentralized Training Program for Veterinary Medicine (PDFMV) allows the University of Montreal, the only university institution to offer training in this field in Quebec, to deliver some of this training at the University of Quebec’s main campus in Rimouski† For example, veterinary students will complete their first three years of their studies Rimouski to then continue their education on the campus of Saint Hyacinthe from the University of Montreal. The final year of the program mainly consists of internships that students can complete in the regions of Quebec.

In addition, the program will promote students’ proximity to livestock farms, thereby contributing to their practical training in organic food. In addition, more than 50% of the available places will be reserved for those interested in veterinary practice in the farm animal sector.

The realization of this decentralized veterinary medicine training project in Rimouski will require a building adapted to the specific needs of this area. To welcome new cohorts of students, the Université du Québec à Rimouski will redevelop parts of its main campus, in addition to constructing a building to meet the needs of the PDFMV. Indeed, classrooms, a veterinary simulation center, laboratories, an animal facility and offices will arise on the campus of Rimouski

“This announcement was really expected. The University of Montreal has the only faculty of veterinary medicine in Quebec and the only francophone one in North America. This faculty receives more than 1,000 applications for admission each year, but can only accommodate 96 new students. This imbalance weakens Quebec’s entire agri-food industry, which is nonetheless crucial and in dire need of veterinarians. As you can see, we are making a strong move to meet an equally strong need. I am convinced of the relevance of this large-scale project, which will not only meet the needs of the labor market, but also improve the higher education offer in the beautiful region of Rimouski. †

Danielle McCannMinister of Higher Education

“That’s excellent news. This is a turning point for the entire biofood industry. This new program Rimouski will assist veterinarians, especially large animal specialists. Our agricultural producers need these specialists to maintain the productivity of their livestock. Veterinarians are essential for the proper functioning of the organic food chain. This initiative comes on top of our government’s efforts to address the shortage of veterinarians. Ultimately, these 25 additional graduates each year will make a real difference in all regions of Quebec. †

André Lamontagne, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Minister responsible for the Chaudière-Appalaches region and Minister responsible for the Centre-du-Québec region

“We repeat it on all platforms: the occupation of the territory of Quebec is a priority for our government. We are therefore acting on several fronts simultaneously and with different resources to energize and attractive our regions so that they participate actively in Québec’s vitality. This vitality is very present in the Bas-Saint-Laurent and will only increase with the reception, at the Université du Québec à Rimouski, from the first three years of veterinary medicine training at the University of Montreal. †

Caroline ProulxMinister of Tourism and Minister responsible for the Bas-Saint-Laurent . Region

“Today’s announcement highlights more than two years of collaboration with the Université de Montréal, but above all a close collaboration for the coming decades. Thanks to modern infrastructures and rich inter-university collaboration, students can benefit from state-of-the-art training, a dynamic study and research environment and a stimulating university life. Together we will contribute to educating veterinarians to address a glaring lack of follow-up and to interest them in the practice in the regions. †

François Deschênes, Rector of the University of Quebec in Rimouski

“For the University of Montreal and its Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, the decentralized training project at Rimouski represents a huge step forward in responding to concrete needs and in particular those of breeders. We are delighted to offer this new program in partnership with the Université du Québec à Rimouski to train the next generation expected in all regions of Quebec. It is a way of working that has proven itself: we have a similar program in human medicine in Mauricie, in collaboration with the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, which has been very successful, both for the quality of the next generation there formed only to attract young professionals in the region. †

Daniel JutrasRector of the University of Montreal

  • The University of Montreal’s Decentralized Training Program in Veterinary Medicine (PDFMV) enables the University of Quebec to Rimouski to welcome students for their first three years of study in this field. These individuals will complete their education on the campus of Saint Hyacinthe from the University of Montreal. Keep in mind that the final year of the program mainly consists of internships that students can do in the regions.
  • Thanks to this large-scale project, 25 additional veterinarians can be trained every year.
  • The campus of the University of Quebec in Rimouski would welcome its first veterinary students from August 2024.
  • This project is included in the Québec Infrastructure Plan 2022-2032. The government contribution is confirmed at the end of the project planning phase.

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