The Harper Government today announced that family doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners and residents in family medicine in more than 4 200 rural communities across Canada could be eligible for Canada Student Loan forgiveness. The announcement was made today by the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, on behalf of Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development.
“Our government is committed to strengthening health care for all Canadians,” said Minister Aglukkaq. “By offering Canada Student Loan forgiveness, we’re doing our part to encourage family doctors and nurses to serve Canadians in rural and remote communities and improve access to primary health care.”
Family doctors and nurses can work in more than 4 200 designated rural and remote communities across Canada to be eligible for Canada Student Loan forgiveness. Designated communities refer to those with a population of less than 50 000, including communities that provide health services to First Nations, Inuit and Métis populations.
Nurses and nurse practitioners working in designated communities will be eligible to receive up to $4,000 per year in Canada Student Loan forgiveness, while family doctors and residents in family medicine could receive up to $8,000 per year, to a maximum of five years.
The Canada Student Loans Program will begin accepting applications for student loan forgiveness on April 1, 2013. For more information visit CanLearn.ca.
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 under-served rural or remote communities. Economic Action Plan 2012 further clarified that the incentive will also apply to residents in family medicine.
To be eligible for partial loan forgiveness, family doctors, residents in family medicine, nurses and nurse practitioners must have been employed for 12 months in a designated rural or remote community and must have provided in-person services for a minimum of 400 hours, or 50 days, throughout that year. Residents in family medicine must have provided a minimum of 400 hours, or 50 days, of in-person service to be eligible. Loan forgiveness will be available for a maximum of five years of work in a designated community.
A designated community is a census subdivision that:
- has a core population of less than 50,000; and
- is located outside of the capital cities’ of the ten provinces.
Applicants can determine whether a community is designated by using the postal code search tool available on CanLearn.ca.