ARCHIVED — Vol. 146, No. 26 — December 19, 2012

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SI/2012-97 December 19, 2012

KEEPING CANADA’S ECONOMY AND JOBS GROWING ACT

Order Fixing January 1, 2013 as the Day on which Certain Sections of the Act Come into Force

P.C. 2012-1591 November 29, 2012

His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, pursuant to subsection 159(1) of the Keeping Canada’s Economy and Jobs Growing Act, chapter 24 of the Statutes of Canada, 2011, fixes January 1, 2013 as the day on which sections 152 and 153, subsections 155(1) and (2) and sections 157 and 158 of that Act come into force.

EXPLANATORY NOTE

(This note is not part of the Order.)

Proposal

This Order in Council fixes January 1, 2013, as the date on which sections 152 and 153, subsections 155(1) and (2) and sections 157 and 158 of the Keeping Canada’s Economy and Jobs Growing Act (the Act) come into force, thereby giving effect to amendments made with respect to sections 2, 9.2, 13, 15 and 17 of the Canada Student Financial Assistance Act (CSFAA) and sections 11.1 and 17 of the Canada Student Loans Act (CSLA).

Objective

These amendments will provide the authority for the forgiveness of a portion of Canada Student Loan debt for family physicians, nurses and nurse practitioners who begin to work in underserved rural or remote communities, including the authority to prescribe the maximum amount and number of years of forgiveness, as well as other conditions, in regulations.

Background

The Act, which received Royal Assent on December 15, 2011, enacted various measures announced in Budget 2011 measures. Sections 152 and 153, subsections 155(1) and (2) and sections 157 and 158 of the Act amended the CSFAA and the CSLA to give the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development (HRSD) the authority to forgive an amount in respect of a federal student loan to a family physician, nurse or nurse practitioner who begins to work in an underserved rural or remote community.

The legislative amendments support the Government of Canada’s efforts to ensuring that the improvements to health care in rural and remote communities, as announced in Budget 2011, be made available to students in early 2013. The coming into force date of January 1, 2013, was chosen to meet this commitment, and to ensure transparency and predictability in allowing application materials to be available prior to April 2013.

Rural or remote communities across Canada often lack access to health care services that are more accessible to urban communities. In order to receive primary health care, many Canadians in these underserved communities need to travel significant distances or suffer from limited health care services, which in turn contributes to the poorer health status of rural and remote residents. Among the many factors that contribute to the limited access to health care services in rural and remote areas is the challenge of attracting health care professionals to work in these regions. The loan forgiveness initiative announced in Budget 2011 will allow eligible family physicians, nurses and nurse practitioners to have a portion, if not all, of their student loan debt forgiven if they began to work in an underserved rural or remote community on or after July 1, 2011.

To implement this commitment, the Act was amended, thereby introducing changes to federal student financial assistance legislation, including the addition of section 9.2 and amendments to sections 2, 13, 15 and 17 of the CSFAA and the addition of section 11.1 and amendments to section 17 of the CSLA. The coming into force of these amendments will give the Minister of HRSD the authority to forgive a portion of the student loan debt of family physicians, nurses and nurse practitioners.

Implications

Fixing the date for sections 152 and 153, subsections 155(1) and (2) and sections 157 and 158 of the Act to come into force will give the Minister of HRSD the authority to forgive an amount in respect of a federal student loan to a family physician, nurse or nurse practitioner who begins to work in an underserved rural or remote community. It is estimated that approximately 700 health professionals will benefit from loan forgiveness during the first year of the initiative at a cost of $3.4 million. At maturity costs are estimated to be $8.7 million per year with approximately 1 500 Canada Student Loan borrowers benefitting from loan forgiveness.

Consultation

Pursuant to the amendments made to the CSFAA and the CSLA by the Act, and in anticipation of the coming into force of these amendments, officials from the Canada Student Loans Program conducted consultations with key non-government and government stakeholders, including physicians organizations, nursing organizations, Aboriginal organizations and federal/provincial/territorial committees.

Departmental contact

For more information, please contact

Atiq Rahman
Director
Operational Policy and Research
Canada Student Loans Program
Human Resources and Skills Development Canada
200 Montcalm Street
Gatineau, Quebec
K1A 0J9
Telephone: 819-994-4518
Email: atiqur.rahman@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca