PetSmart Charities of Canada Addresses Lack of Access to Veterinary Care in Historically Excluded Communities

Next phase of the association $18 million commitment to increasing access to care includes support for Indigenous communities

BURLINGTON, ON, May 25, 2023 /CNW/ – Nearly 60% of Canadian families now have pets, but about half of those pets don’t have an ongoing relationship with a veterinarian. Lack of access to veterinary care in Canada is disproportionately experienced in indigenous communities where the nearest veterinarian may be hours away. The nationwide shortage of veterinarians adds to the complexity of accessing companion animal care in historically excluded communities. To help solve this problem, PetSmart Charities of Canada™, the nation’s leading animal welfare funder, has launched an innovative grantmaking program to meet the unique needs of communities by working alongside them.

Veterinarians Without Borders, one of 9 grant recipients, will work to bring veterinary services to Indigenous communities with support from PetSmart Charities of Canada. (CNW Group/PetSmart Charities of Canada)

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada1 identified concerns about health inequities among Indigenous communities Canada. The social determinants of health, or the conditions in the environments where people are born, live, learn and work, affect their quality of life. Where a lack of access to health services, food, housing, transportation and education affects indigenous peoples, it is likely that the same will be true for access to veterinary care for pets of this community.

PetSmart Charities from Canada program consists of two grant phases. This year, grants were awarded to 9 organizations to work in collaboration with Aboriginal communities. The 9 organizations participating in the first phase of the grant program include:

  • Brant County SPCA – Six Nations, Ont.

  • Canadian Animal Assistance TeamPelly’s Crossing, Yukon

  • Georgian Triangle Humanitarian Society – Saugeen First Nation, Ont.

  • Paws for Hope Animal Foundation – Huu-ay-Aht First Nations, BC

  • Thompson Humane Society – Nisichawayasihk (NCN) and Nelson House, Man.

  • Toronto Animal ServicesToronto, ON

  • Tsay Keh Dene First NationTsay KehBC

  • Veterinarians Without BordersIgloolik And Gjoa Haven NOW

  • Humane Society of Winnipeg South Indian Lake (Manitoba)

Access to veterinary care is a matter of health equity

“We believe that every family should be able to enjoy the joy of pets – and that all pets should have access to proper veterinary care,” said Aimee GilbreathPresident of PetSmart Charities of Canada. “Pets should not be a luxury or a privilege, and all communities need the expertise of practicing veterinarians. We are excited about the potential of this program to increase access to culturally appropriate care that meets the needs of Indigenous populations in each of these communities. .”

Many indigenous communities in Canada have limited or no access to veterinary services2. This first phase of granting is focused on building relationships with members of each community to better understand each individual’s unique needs to support companion animal health. The second phase grant for this cohort begins in 2024 and will leverage learnings from the first phase grant to support increased access to veterinary care in every community.

“This grant supports essential work to provide remote communities with access to veterinary services,” said Yvonne Kipling, One Health Specialist at the Winnipeg Humane Society, program grant recipient. “Canadians love their pets like family and sometimes struggle to provide basic veterinary services due to lack of access. This grant has helped us build relationships with community members and identify the services we need most. Rarely do remote communities have the opportunity to discuss their needs with animal care agencies, and we have seen a positive response so far. We are grateful to PetSmart Charities of Canadaand his visionary approach to access to care for Canadians. »

Multi-pronged approach to improving access to veterinary care

These grants are just one part of PetSmart Charities of from Canada $18 million five-year commitment to improve access to veterinary care Canada. This commitment will address many of the challenges that contribute to this issue, including shortage of veterinarians, regulatory challenges, lack of affordable care and/or payment models, and more.

PetSmart Charities estimates it would cost more than $5 billion every year to fill the gap for pets needing veterinary care under the current system. To help lead the charge, the nonprofit organization is taking a leadership role in bringing together partners and stakeholders to develop and implement solutions to address the problem of access to veterinary care, including grant programs such as this one.

For more information on how PetSmart Charities of Canada works to expand access to veterinary care nationwide or to help support initiatives like this for pets and their families, visit

About PetSmart Charities of Canada™

PetSmart Charities Canada is committed to making the world a better place for pets and all those who love them. Through its in-store adoption program at all PetSmart® stores nationwide, PetSmart Charities of Canada helps thousands of animals connect with loving families each year. PetSmart Charities Canada also provides grants to support organizations that advocate and care for the well-being of all companion animals and their families. Our grants and efforts connect companion animals to loving homes through adoption, improve access to affordable veterinary care, and support families in times of crisis with access to food, shelter, and life support. ’emergency. Each year, thousands of generous donors help pets in need by donating to PetSmart Charities of Canada directly on, when shopping on and using PIN pads at cash registers in PetSmart stores. In turn, PetSmart Charities of Canada effectively uses more than 90 cents of every dollar donated to fulfill its role as the leading funder of animal welfare in Canadagiving more $25 million since its inception in 1999. Independent of PetSmart LLC, PetSmart Charities of Canada is a registered Canadian charity. To learn more, visit

PetSmart Charities of Canada Logo (CNW Group/PetSmart Charities of Canada)

PetSmart Charities of Canada Logo (CNW Group/PetSmart Charities of Canada)

SOURCE PetSmart Charities of Canada



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PetSmart Charities of Canada Addresses Lack of Access to Veterinary Care in Historically Excluded Communities

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