New interest relief measure to provide much-needed help to Canada Student Loan borrowers on medical or parental leave
Supporting students and young Canadians is one of the most important investments a government can make to ensure a stronger economy and a better future. This has never been more important than now, at a time when Canada’s young people have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, with summer jobs and internships cancelled or altered, and uncertainty around their studies.
Canada’s Minister of Employment, Workforce Development, and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough, highlighted a new measure to help student borrowers manage financial burdens they may face when taking temporary medical or parental leave from their studies—including for mental health reasons. This measure, which was announced as part of Budget 2019, is effective as of October 1, 2020. Borrowers who are approved under this new measure will benefit from a suspension of payments and interest on their Canada Student Loans for six months, which can be extended up to a total of 18 months of leave.
To be eligible for medical or parental leave, borrowers must:
- at the time of their application, be in full-time or part-time studies, or in the six-month non-repayment period;
- submit a medical or parental leave application within six months of the end of their most recent period of studies, and no later than 12 months after the medical or parental event;
- have taken a leave from studies for medical or parental reasons on or after October 1, 2020; and
- be at least 30 calendar days into a new confirmed period of study following any previous medical or parental leave.
“Students deserve a fair and equal chance to succeed in their studies, regardless of their family or health situation. Through this measure, we hope to give them peace of mind in knowing that they have the support they need to focus on important life events rather than worry about their debt. We know that continuing to invest in our students and young people today is vital to our future and in rebuilding a stronger economic.”
– Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough
This measure will provide much-needed and timely support to students who may be experiencing medical illnesses, including mental health challenges, that significantly interfere with their ability to pursue their studies. In addition, students who have recently become parents or guardians of a child may need extended parental leave due to uncertainties regarding the availability of child care services or concerns over the risk of infection at child care service providers.
Students deserve to finish their studies and build a successful future, and this measure ensures they continue to have access to the tools and opportunities they need to do that.