British Columbia Veterinary Professional Honoured with CVMA Distinguished Member Award

July 11, 2023

Quebec City, Que. – Dr. Rob Ashburner was honoured with the 2023 Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) Distinguished Member Award for his significant contributions to the national veterinary profession.

Dr. Ashburner graduated from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) in 1984 and went on to own a companion animal practice in Vancouver. His involvement with service to the profession of veterinary medicine is more than 30 years long. After graduating from WCVM, he joined a committee of the British Columbia Veterinary Medical Association, which he served for 20 years, including two terms as President. In 2006, while he was the President of CVMA, he established the Economic Survey Program in cooperation with the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association (OVMA), which continues today.

“Dr. Ashburner ushered in the new era of practice management by developing tools, practice management metrics, and better work/life expectations for veterinarians. More than 20 years later, these reports and publications are the cornerstone of veterinary practice management in British Columbia,” says Darren Osbourne, Director of Economic Research, OVMA.

Dr. Ashburner is a CVMA Canadian representative on the Council of Education Site Accreditation team and is a member of CVMA Workforce Advisory Group, as well as a Member of the Steering Committee – Labour Market Study of BC Veterinary Sector. He is a Director and Treasurer of the CVMA-Society of British Columbia Veterinarians (SBCV), a growing organization that provides service to B.C. veterinarians. The SBCV was recently successful in its advocacy to have the provincial government double the number of B.C. students accepted into WCVM; a feat achieved after four years of consistent work.

“Dr. Ashburner continues his efforts to address the shortage of veterinarians by supporting the development of the SBVC's Resiliency program to help B.C. veterinarians survive and thrive in the current labour and economic times. He frequently meets with remote, rural, and northern interest groups to address the particularly dire situation with staffing veterinary practices. He also is a frequent participant in the admission process at WCVM,” says Dr. Al Longair, President of CVMA-SBCV Board of Directors.

Dr. Ashburner has volunteered tirelessly at both the provincial and national levels, serving on numerous committees for the British Columbia Veterinary Medical Association, SBCV, and the CVMA. He has been involved with the University of British Columbia’s Animal Welfare Committee and with WCVM in various capacities.

“Dr. Ashburner was part of the group of veterinarians who helped found True North Veterinary Diagnostics in 2009, a trust-owned veterinary diagnostic laboratory dedicated to serving the profession by providing diagnostics, education, and charity. He has also been a member of the Board of Directors for the laboratory, supplying a wealth of knowledge and experience,” says Dr. Jim Bilenduke, President of True North Veterinary Diagnostics.

“I got to work directly with Dr. Ashburner when he was appointed to represent B.C. on the National Examining Board. It was an amazing experience to see a national leader bring deep and thoughtful perspectives to the work of the NEB that oversees the process for the grant of Certificate of Qualification for veterinarians in Canada,” says Dr. Baljit Singh, Vice-President Research, University of Saskatchewan.

Rob is married with three grown children, one of whom is a veterinarian, and spends much time with his five grandchildren. He is actively involved in many sports and outdoor activities including cycling, running, skiing, and outdoor adventure.

Distinguished Membership is presented to a CVMA member for long and outstanding service on CVMA Council, Executive, Boards and Committees, or for outstanding contributions to the veterinary profession.

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The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) is the national and international voice for Canada’s veterinarians, providing leadership and advocacy for veterinary medicine. Each year, the CVMA proudly recognizes individuals and groups for their outstanding contribution to veterinary medicine. Visit to learn more about the CVMA.

Ashley Dupont
Communications Officer
Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA)
613-236-1162 ext. 125