Government of Canada Announces Student Loan Forgiveness for Family Doctors and Nurses in Rural Communities

August 03, 2012

Red Deer, Alberta, August 3, 2012 - The Government of Canada today announced that eligible family doctors, nurses and nurse practitioners who work in rural communities will have a portion of their Canada Student Loan forgiven starting in spring 2013, thereby improving primary health care in rural communities. The announcement was highlighted by Earl Dreeshen, Member of Parliament for Red Deer on behalf of the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, and the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health.

“Primary health care services are a priority for our Government. Canadians rightly expect to receive quality health care no matter where they live,” said Dreeshen. “This initiative will encourage more health care professionals to work in the communities that need them most.”

In Economic Action Plan 2011, the Government announced that family doctors, nurses and nurse practitioners who began working in a designated community on, or after, April 1, 2012 will be eligible to apply for partial student loan forgiveness. This applies to most communities with a population of 50,000 or less, including communities that provide health services to First Nations, Inuit and Métis populations. Economic Action Plan 2012 further clarified that the measure will also include residents in family medicine.

“Our Government’s investment will help to attract more medical professionals to our smaller communities and improve access to health care services for people who live beyond large urban areas,” says Minister Aglukkaq. “This is another example of our Government acting to strengthen health care and improve the health of Canadians.”

Family doctors and residents in family medicine will be eligible to receive up to $8,000 per year in Canada Student Loan forgiveness to a maximum of $40,000 over five years; nurses and nurse practitioners will be eligible to receive up to $4,000 per year to a maximum of $20,000 over five years.

More information is available at www.actionplan.gc.ca.