How to Immigrate to Canada as a Veterinarian

Published on: May 21st, 2024

Canada is a popular destination for many professionals with work experience and language proficiency, including professionals in veterinary medicine. Learn how you can take advantage of the numerous opportunities available and make your move to Canada.

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Canada is renowned for its robust healthcare system, high standard of living, and strong commitment to animal care and welfare. However, the veterinary profession in Canada is currently facing significant challenges. The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association reports that clinic owners and veterinary employers are struggling to hire and retain veterinary professionals. This shortage is expected to continue, with the Canadian Occupational Projection System predicting a shortage of veterinarians from 2024 to 2031. During this period, there will be approximately 5,000 job openings for veterinarians, but only about 4,300 qualified job seekers to fill these roles.

Given this high demand and limited supply, now is the perfect time for veterinarians to consider immigrating to Canada. The need for skilled veterinary professionals means there are numerous opportunities for career growth and development in various provinces. Understanding the best pathways for immigration is crucial to making a successful transition.

We will guide you through the different pathways for Canadian immigration as a veterinarian, helping you gain a clear understanding of the different options to start your career in Canada.

Express Entry system

Express Entry is an online immigration application system that canadian government uses to manage and process applications for permanent residency from skilled workers. Launched in 2015, the system encompasses different economic programs, and it is one of the best paths for veterinarians seeking to immigrate to Canada due to its efficiency and streamlined process. One of the economics programs is the Federal Skilled Worker Program, which allows qualified candidates to quickly gain permanent residency based on factors such as work experience, education, language proficiency, and other criteria. For veterinarians, this system is particularly advantageous because it prioritizes applicants with high-demand skills, making it easier to receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA). Additionally, the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) used in Express Entry gives points for factors such as job offers in Canada and provincial nominations, which can further enhance a veterinarian’s chances of successful immigration. With faster processing times and a transparent points-based system, Express Entry offers a clear and expedited route for veterinarians to start their careers in Canada.

For more detailed information on how to navigate the process, it is important to explore the following resources:

These resources will provide you with essential insights and help you take the next steps toward immigrating to Canada as a veterinarian.

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PNPs of Prince Edward Island

The Prince Edward Island Provincial Nominee Program (PEI PNP) is an excellent option for veterinarians seeking to immigrate to Canada due to the significant demand for veterinary professionals in the province. According to the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, the province had only 241 registered veterinarians at the end of 2023, highlighting a substantial need for more professionals in this field.

Veterinary professionals have two pathways to consider: you can apply through the Skilled Workers Outside Canada stream or pursue a diploma related to veterinary medicine in the province, obtain a valid Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP), and then apply under the International Graduates stream. The Prince Edward Island Veterinary Medical Association (PEIVMA) is the regulatory body for veterinarians in the province, and professionals must be members and licensed by the PEIVMA to practice.

This clear regulatory framework, combined with the high demand for veterinarians, makes Prince Edward Island an attractive destination for those looking to establish their careers and gain permanent residency in Canada.


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PNPs of Ontario

The Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) is an excellent option for veterinary foreign workers seeking to immigrate to Canada, due to its tailored streams and practical benefits.

The OINP offers two specific streams for veterinarians: the Foreign Worker Stream for skilled foreign workers with a permanent full-time job offer in Ontario, and the International Student Stream for recent graduates of a vet school a permanent full-time job offer in Ontario. One of the most attractive benefits for both employers and applicants is that a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is not required to support an application under any of the OINP Employer Job Offer streams. Additionally, upon nomination from the OINP, nominees receive a work permit support letter, allowing them to settle and work in Ontario while applying for permanent residence through federal streams. These streams are beneficial for veterinary professionals, including technicians, with education degrees such as a graduate degree or diploma from an eligible Canadian institution, or a university or college graduate certificate from an eligible Ontario institution.

It is important to note that for practice veterinary medicine must be licensed by the National Examining Board to practice in the province. According to the Government of Canada, the employment outlook for veterinarians in Ontario is very promising for the 2023-2025 period, with new positions arising from employment growth and additional opportunities due to retirements. This makes OINP a strategic pathway for veterinarians looking to build their careers in Ontario.
Read here more information about Ontario PNP’s in our dedicated guides:



Canada offers several attractive pathways for veterinarians seeking to immigrate and establish their careers. The Express Entry system stands out for its efficiency and clear, points-based process, making it a quick and transparent option for qualified candidates. The Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) provides targeted streams for foreign workers and recent graduates, offering the added benefit of not requiring a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). Similarly, the Prince Edward Island Provincial Nominee Program (PEI PNP) addresses the significant demand for veterinarians in the province, providing options for both skilled workers and international graduates.

Aspiring veterinarian immigrants should thoroughly research each program to determine which best suits your qualifications, career and personal goals. It is essential to ensure all required credentials and licenses are obtained, such as those from the College of Veterinarians of Ontario (CVO) or the Prince Edward Island Veterinary Medical Association (PEIVMA), depending on the province of interest.


Take the next step in your journey by filling out an online assessment to find out if your profile aligns with the requirements for Canadian immigration. Get personalized insights and help you plan your path to a successful veterinary career in Canada!


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