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BC appoints new chief veterinarian

Interplay of animal and human health is part of the Chief Veterinarian role.

Thursday July 28, 2022 | VICTORIA, BC

by Mary P Brooke, B.Sc. | Island Social Trends


A new chief veterinarian has been appointed in British Columbia. Theresa Burns has been appointed to that post, as announced today July 28, 2022 by the BC Ministry of Agriculture and Food.

Burns holds a doctor of veterinary medicine with distinction from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan. She also has a master of science in animal reproduction as well as a doctorate in epidemiology (the introduction, spread and control of diseases) from the University of Guelph.

She is a member of the College of Veterinarians of British Columbia and the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association. She has volunteered with Veterinarians without Borders Canada, the College of Veterinarians of BC, and Chilliwack Community Services.

Front-line practitioner & consultant:

Over her career, Burns has worked as a front-line veterinary practitioner providing care for pets and farm animals, as well as a consultant specializing in veterinary epidemiology, surveillance and One Health, which is an approach that combines factors contributing to animal, human and environmental health.

one health, cow
One Health looks at the interconnection of animal and human health.

Burns’ consultant experience has helped her develop a strong knowledge of regulated animal and zoonotic diseases, as well as diagnostic animal health laboratory processes and services. Her role as a veterinarian has provided her with a hands-on and foundational understanding of the challenges and opportunities practitioners face in providing animal care.

Role of the chief veterinarian:

The chief veterinarian supports the sustainability of animal agriculture in BC through the development and implementation of sound livestock health and regulatory management policies, as outlined by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food today.

lana popham, agriculture
BC Agriculture Minister Lana Popham providing a flood-related food and livestock loss update on Nov 25, 2021.

Burns will begin her role on September 6, 2022, at the Ministry of Agriculture and Foods’ Plant and Animal Health Centre in Abbotsford.

BC supporting the veterinarian sector:

Last month Agriculture and Food Minister Lana Popham announced that BC is helping veterinarian assistant graduates find work in BC. Participants will receive 17 weeks of occupational and employability skills training, four weeks of local work experience and one week of followup support to assist in their job search.

anne kang, minister of advanced education
Anne Kang, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training, in Prince George, May 2022. [BC Govt]

Back on April 4, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training, Anne Kang, announced that the province will provide $10.68 million to support 40 students entering the Western College of Veterinary Medicine this fall; she said that demand for subsidized seats at the Saskatchewan-based college has been high and tuition fees have been a barrier for aspiring veterinarians. The college (based at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon) has 80 seats.

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Province helping veterinary assistants find jobs (June 17, 2022)

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Island Social Trends is an independent online news portal taking a socioeconomic view to current news with a focus on sustainability, health and the politics that shapes these new directions.

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Island Social Trends Editor Mary P Brooke holds a B.Sc. in food and nutrition, with a second major in sociology and community education.