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Province to provide $60.7M for medical school at SFU Surrey

Premier David Eby and numerous NDP MLAs hosted an announcement in Surrey Tuesday

Premier David Eby was in Surrey Tuesday (July 9) to announce continued funding for Simon Fraser University's medical school. 

The medical school will be at SFU's Surrey campus and, pending approval, is set to start recruitment for its inaugural class in summer 2026. 

Eby, along with B.C.'s Minister of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills Lisa Beare and Minister of Health Adrian Dix, announced Tuesday that the province will provide $33.7 million in capital funding for an interim space and $27 million in operational funding from Budget 2024. The province has previously provided $14 million for startup and planning. 

The interim space will be at SFU Surrey's campus and a leased location will be nearby. The area will be renovated to accommodate classrooms, labs, and office space for faculty and staff. 

"This investment in the first entirely new medical school in Western Canada in 55 years will mean more family doctors graduating each year to provide care for people," Eby said. 

Tiffany Deng is an undergraduate at SFU and a prospective medical student who is an inaugural member of the SFU School of Medicine Learner Advisory Committee. 

"The SFU School of Medicine's commitment to embedding Indigenous knowledge systems in its curriculum, as well as fostering community partnerships, including with the First Nations Health Authority, is a promising step towards addressing these issues that are often overlooked, especially in the field of medicine," Deng said. 

The committee's main focus is on prioritizing patient-centred care, promoting primary care education and fostering community-based learning, Deng added.

Joy Johnson, president and vice-chancellor of Simon Fraser University, said Tuesday's announcement was a good day for SFU, Surrey, and the province. 

"I'm so excited to celebrate the school of medicine and all it will accomplish here in Surrey and here in British Columbia," Johnson said. 

"Everyone deserves health care that is effective, that is accessible, that is inclusive, that is culturally safe, and we're working hard, with a great team here at SFU and in partnership with our ministries of health and post-secondary education skills training, to build that medical school," Johnson added. 

Johnson said SFU's senate and board of governors formally approved the establishment of the medical school in May 2024, which is a crucial step. 

"The school is working toward candidate status with the Committee on the Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools, with the goal of preliminary accreditation by fall 2025. Upon successful completion of planned accreditation stages within this timeframe, the school will have approval to recruit its first class to start in summer 2026," reads a provincial press release Tuesday (July 9). 

Johnson announced Dr. David J. Price as the medical school's founding dean. Price has spent the last year as the acting dean before the board approved him as the founding dean on July 4, 2024.  

Price said in a statement that being the founding dean is a "huge honour and responsibility."

"I'm confident that our growing and diverse team is ready to tackle the job in creating a primary and community care focused medical school that all British Columbians will be proud of. The partnership and contributions of the First Nations Health Authority and Fraser Health, among others, will be critical to our success, and I look forward to developing and deepening those relationships."

B.C.'s Minister of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills, Lisa Beare, said: "This government is focused on delivering results, and through this interim space and the operational funding to support this medical school at SFU's Surrey campus, we're taking action to train the doctors of tomorrow and build the primary care workforce for all of B.C.," Beare said. 

Eby faulted previous governments for not stepping up to the plate and ensuring Surrey residents had the health care they needed. 

"The challenges that we're facing today, didn't have to be as bad as we're facing. Deliberate decisions were made by previous governments that shortchanged communities such as Surrey and prevented us from being ready for the kind of demands that we're seeing today," Eby said. 


Anna Burns

About the Author: Anna Burns

I cover health care, non-profits and social issues-related topics for the Surrey Now-Leader.
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