New funding connects immigrants to careers in veterinary medicine

As many as 36 eligible people will get occupational and employability skills training over three intakes to prepare them for jobs as veterinary assistants on the Lower Mainland.

This is a new Community and Employer Partnerships (CEP) project from the Government of British Columbia. Participant recruitment is focused on immigrants.

“Graduates of Insignia College’s veterinary assistant training program will be prepared for exciting careers in a wide range of veterinary settings,” said Nicholas Simons, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “This new project reflects government’s commitment that all British Columbians have access to well-paying jobs.”

The Province is providing nearly $500,000 to Insignia College in Delta to deliver its veterinary assistant diploma training program on the Surrey campus. Participants will receive 17 weeks of occupational and employability skills training, four weeks of local work experience and one week of follow-up support to assist in their job search.

“Veterinary assistants play important roles in the day-to-day operations of veterinarian clinics and in supporting veterinarians,” said Anne Kang, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training. “Having more people training to become veterinary assistants will help alleviate pressures clinics across BC are facing in providing animal care.”

The students will also receive workplace safety courses in personal protective equipment, pandemic awareness, Occupational First Aid Level 1, privacy and information sharing, violence prevention and the Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS). Additionally, participants will receive short-term occupational certification in Idexx Vet Lab, Hills VNA small animal nutrition, Royal Canin, radiology and American Red Cross Pet First Aid. Participants who pass all of their course exams will receive a veterinary assistant diploma.

“We’re committed to getting our farmers and pet owners high-quality veterinarian care so domestic and commercial animals can thrive,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture and Food. “This investment is important to everyone caring for animals and for the workers who will be able to access well-paying jobs as veterinary assistants.”

Anyone interested in finding out more about this or other CEP projects can contact their local WorkBC centre.

“Over the next 10 years, we need to find ways to fill one million anticipated job openings,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation and MLA for Delta North. “Through this investment, we are giving people who recently immigrated to this province the opportunity and skills to join the workforce and take part in an exciting career helping animals. By making sure all British Columbians, including new ones, are future ready, we are creating a StrongerBC for everyone.”

This investment also builds on $10.68 million the Province provided to double the number of veterinarian seats from 20 to 40 this August at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine for provincially subsidized first-year students. Improving access and affordability to veterinary medicine education helps address the shortage of vets in BC

“We are excited about this opportunity given to British Columbians to complete skills training and work experience with enhanced support,” said Sahaj Sandhu, chief executive officer, Insignia College. “This funding will not only support the workforce shortages in the veterinary industry, but also prepare the candidates for in-demand and higher-paying jobs.”

The first intake of full-time, group-based classroom learning will be from June 20 to Nov. 18, 2022. The second intake will be from Sept. 5, 2022, to Feb. 10, 2023, and the third intake from Nov 21, 2022 to May 5, 2023.

Quick Facts:

  • Funding for this project is provided through the Project Based Labor Market Training stream of WorkBC’s CEP.
  • CEP investments are targeted at projects that support an inclusive economic recovery.
  • CEP projects support BC job seekers’ training and work experience and help businesses and communities address labor market challenges.
  • Through CEP, the Province invests $15 million annually in communities throughout BC


Learn how CEPs are helping local communities:

Learn about how WorkBC can help find British Columbian jobs:

Find your local WorkBC center:

Insignia College:

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