Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

December 11, 2002

Ottawa invests $37 million in U of G veterinary college

The University of Guelph's Ontario Veterinary College is receiving more than $37 million as part of a federal initiative to strengthen Canada's reputation at home and abroad as a world leader in the production of safe high-quality food. The federal money will support the renovation and expansion of U of G's veterinary hospital, laboratories and research buildings, as well as ensure that OVC has the lab and clinical equipment necessary to secure continued international accreditation.

The funding was announced Dec. 10 by Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Lyle Vanclief on behalf of the Government of Canada. It is part of Ottawa's $113-million investment to support the physical infrastructure of Canada's four veterinary colleges, located in Saskatoon, Guelph, Saint-Hyacinthe and Charlottetown.

"This is wonderful news," said U of G president Mordechai Rozanski. "It acknowledges the outstanding work of our faculty, staff, students and alumni and recognizes the great strengths in veterinary medicine in advancing animal, human and environmental health. It is with sincere thanks that I recognize Minister Vanclief and the Government of Canada for this strategic investment in our veterinary colleges and their help in supporting us to achieve our objectives."

The investment bolsters a national agenda to deal with newly discovered and re-emerging threats to human and animal health, respond to public concern regarding issues such as food safety and biosecurity, and meet the need for more veterinary scientists. This also complements OVC's provincial role in training the personnel needed to deal with current and emerging veterinary issues.

"This investment will allow the college to fulfil its responsibilities in an integrated national strategy in areas that include public health, food safety and zoonotic diseases," said OVC dean Alan Meek.

When the Ontario Veterinary College was awarded full accreditation by the American Veterinary Medical Association this fall, provost and vice-president (academic) Alastair Summerlee said he was concerned about the association's warnings related to OVC's fiscal challenges surrounding aging facilities and equipment. "This funding will prepare us to meet the challenges ahead," said Summerlee. "I am particularly pleased to note that the minister has indicated that the federal government will continue to work co-operatively with the colleges and provincial governments to ensure the future strength of these valuable national institutions."

Added acting OVC dean Jill McCutcheon: "The funding ensures that we'll have the facilities and infrastructure necessary to continue international accreditation of our veterinary college."

Food safety is a key element of the Agriculture Policy Framework, through which the Government of Canada is working with provinces and stakeholders to build on existing food safety measures and to improve the ability of the agriculture and agri-food sector to identify and respond to food safety issues and concerns.

"I'd like to thank Alan Meek and faculty and staff at OVC for their hard work in ensuring that OVC has the resources necessary to deliver on its responsibilities as part of the national network of public health and safety," said Rozanski.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs, 519-824-4120, Ext. 6982.

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