Strengthening Health Care in Rural and Remote Communities

In Economic Action Plan 2011, the Government of Canada announced that it would invest an estimated $9 million per year to forgive a portion of Canada Student Loans for family doctors, nurses and nurse practitioners who work in designated rural or remote communities, including communities that provide health services to First Nations, Inuit and Métis populations. Economic Action Plan 2012 further clarified that the incentive will also apply to residents in family medicine. Candidates can now apply for loan forgiveness. Starting in 2012-13, family doctors who meet the program criteria, including family medical residents in training with an accredited medical school in Canada, are eligible for federal Canada Student Loan forgiveness of up to $8,000 per year to a maximum of $40,000 over five years, while nurse practitioners and nurses are eligible for Canada Student Loan forgiveness of up to $4,000 per year to a maximum of $20,000. Economic Action Plan 2012 broadened the eligibility for loan forgiveness to include residents in family medicine. Candidates can start applying for loan forgiveness on April 1, 2013.

About the Program

The Canada Student Loans Program (CSLP) helps by providing student financial assistance in loans and grants to Canadians attending post-secondary education in most provinces and territories.

Who Is Eligible

Family doctors, nurses and nurse practitioners who work in more than 4,200 designated rural or remote communities and who have been employed (whether full-time, part-time or casual) for 12 months in a designated rural or remote community and have provided in-person services for a minimum of 400 hours in that community are eligible for loan forgiveness. Residents in family medicine must have provided a minimum of 400 hours, or 50 days, of in-person service to be eligible. Candidates should first ensure that they are working in a designated community using the postal code lookup. Applications are available on the CanLearn website.

How It Works

Once the candidate has completed a year of service in a designated community, he or she will have 90 days to apply for student loan forgiveness. The first 12-month period for which applications will be accepted is April 1, 2012 to March 31, 2013. Candidates have until June 30, 2013 to submit an application for that period. Student loan forgiveness is available for up to five years for work in designated communities. Employment must have started on or after July 1, 2011.

Progress to Date

Through the CSLP, the Government of Canada works in partnership with most provinces and territories to deliver student financial assistance. The Government of Canada provides approximately 60% of the assessed need, up to a maximum of $210 in loans per week of study. The remaining 40% may be provided as provincial or territorial student loans. An estimated 5  million students have received almost $41 billion in Canada Student Loans since the CSLP was created in 1964. In 2011-12, the CSLP provided approximately $2.4 billion in full- and part-time student loans to approximately 453,500 students and awarded $647 million in non-repayable Canada Student Grants to 336,000 students.

Find Out More

For more information, visit

Search form

Share this page:

Projects Map

Working in Canada

Search for the latest job opportunities and skill requirements in Canada's job market including mining, forestry, and various trades.