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 made by Parliamentary Secretary Dr. Kellie Leitch on behalf of the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, and the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health.
“Our Government is committed to strengthening primary health care services in rural communities,” says Dr. Leitch. “Today’s announcement will not only alleviate the high cost of education and training for many Canadians in this field, but will also 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.