The Government of Canada offers Canada Student Loan forgiveness to eligible family doctors, residents in family medicine, nurse practitioners, and nurses who work in under-served rural or remote communities that lack the primary health care they need.
This change will help more Canadians get the health care they deserve.
Loan forgiveness can only be applied to outstanding Canada Student Loan balances. Canada Student Loans converted to a credit line, private loan, or an Ontario Medical Resident Loan are not eligible for loan forgiveness.
Canada Student Loan forgiveness applies only to the federal portion of a student loan. It does not apply to the provincial or territorial portion of a student loan.
Note: You may be eligible for loan forgiveness on your Saskatchewan student loans. The Government of Saskatchewan offers loan forgiveness for nurses and nurse practitioners working in rural and remote communities.
To be eligible for Canada Student Loan forgiveness, you must have;
- started your current employment (full-time, part-time or casual) as an eligible medical professional (family doctor, resident in family medicine, nurse practitioner, or nurse) in an under-served rural or remote community on or after July 1, 2011;
- been employed for a full year (12 consecutive months) in an under-served rural or remote community (this does not apply to residents in family medicine);
- provided in-person services for a minimum of 400 hours in that community;
- a Canada Student Loan that is in good standing; and
- submitted an Application for Canada Student Loan Forgiveness for Family Doctors and Nurses.
Note: You can apply for Canada Student Loan forgiveness for family doctors and nurses if you are enrolled in full-time or part-time studies, are currently repaying your student loan, or are in your 6-month non-repayment period. If your Canada Student Loan is in repayment, you must continue to make your regular monthly payments.
Eligible medical professionals
If you practice as one of the medical professionals listed below, you could be eligible for Canada Student Loan forgiveness:
- family doctor;
- family medicine resident in training with an accredited medical school in Canada;
- registered nurse;
- registered psychiatric nurse;
- registered practical nurse;
- licensed practical nurse; or
- nurse practitioner.
Eligible under-served rural or remote communities
You can verify if a community is a designated rural or remote community using our Postal Code Lookup tool.
Note: You can work in multiple under-served rural or remote communities during the year as long as you complete at least 400 hours total of in-person service over the course of the 12-month period. As long as you continue to work in an under-served rural or remote community, you may work for multiple employers during the 12-month period.
How much you could receive
As a family doctor or resident in family medicine, you could receive up to $40,000 in Canada Student Loan forgiveness over a maximum of five years ($8,000 per year).
If you are a nurse or nurse practitioner and qualify, you could receive up to $20,000 in Canada Student Loan forgiveness over a maximum of five years ($4,000 per year).
Note: Loan forgiveness will apply to your outstanding loan principal balance after the end of your 12 months of service. You will be required to keep making regular interest payments.
Your five years of service in an under-served rural or remote community do not have to be consecutive. Provided you have a Canada Student Loan balance at the end of each year of service in an under-served rural or remote community, you will qualify for loan forgiveness for five years.
What you need before you start
Loan forgiveness period
A loan forgiveness period is a period of 12 consecutive months during which you have been employed or in practice and have provided in-person services for a minimum of 400 hours in an under-served rural or remote community.
You must complete a full 12-month loan forgiveness period before applying for this benefit, and a subsequent loan forgiveness period may only begin after an approved period has ended.
The first loan forgiveness period cannot have started before July 1st, 2011. It is up to you to indicate a loan forgiveness period that conforms to your application criteria. Once you have completed your loan forgiveness period, you have 90 days to apply for this benefit. Your loan balance will then be reduced as of the day after the end of your loan forgiveness period.
Residents in family medicine are exempt from the requirement of being employed in an under-served rural or remote community for 12 consecutive months. However, your loan forgiveness period must still be a period of 12 consecutive months during which you have provided 400 hours of in-person service in an under-served rural or remote community.
You must indicate the start of the loan forgiveness period on the application, and your application can be accepted only once a full year has passed since that start date. Once you have completed your loan forgiveness period, you have 90 days to apply for this benefit.
Sick leave and parental leave
If you take a leave during the 12 months of service for less than one month and you can complete 400 hours of in-person service, you will still be eligible for loan forgiveness. If your leave is longer than one month and/or it prevents you from completing 400 hours of in-person service, you will be expected to provide documentation to show that you received one or more of the following Employment Insurance benefits:
- Maternity and Parental Benefits
- Sickness Benefits
- Compassionate Care Benefits
- Family Caregiver Benefits
Once you have completed a year of service in an under-served rural or remote community, you have 90 days to apply for loan forgiveness.
Paper versions are also available through the National Student Loans Service Centre (NSLSC).
Note: To maintain your eligibility, you must re-apply every year. A reminder letter will be sent to you each year as long as the Canada Student Loans Program records indicate that you may be eligible.
Once your application for loan forgiveness has been approved, your Canada Student Loan balance will be reduced. Your monthly payments will also be reduced unless you opt out on your application form. You can request changes to your monthly payments at any time by contacting the NSLSC.