Feds give student loan relief to some doctors, nurses

Ryan Ross
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The federal government recently announced a new initiative to forgive a portion of Canada Student Loans for nurses and doctors who practise in rural areas, which in P.E.I.'s case will include most of the province.

A federal government plan to try and attract nurses and doctors to rural areas will help P.E.I. in its recruiting efforts, says Health Minister Doug Currie.

The federal government recently announced a new initiative to forgive a portion of Canada Student Loans for nurses and doctors who practise in rural areas, which in P.E.I.'s case will include most of the province.

Currie said it adds to what the provincial government is already doing with its recruiting efforts.

"This basically strengthens our ability to attract in rural Prince Edward Island," he said.

Starting in April, the federal government will forgive up to $8,000 in Canada Student Loans per year for doctors working in rural or remote communities, up to a maximum of $40,000 over five years.

For nurses or nurse practitioners, the government will forgive up to $4,000 in loans per year, up to a maximum of $20,000.

To be eligible, a doctor, nurse or nurse practitioner will have to live in a designated community, which has a core population of fewer than 50,000 people and is outside provincial capitals.

That leaves doctors and nurses working in Charlottetown ineligible.

In order to qualify, the doctors, nurses and nurse practitioners will have to meet certain criteria, such as working in a designated community for a full year.

For doctors, the debt relief could add to an already sizeable incentive from the province, which is going to start giving $110,000 in signing bonuses and money for their education as long as they commit to working in P.E.I. for five years.

The province announced its incentives in November and Currie said the federal government's program would help with what P.E.I. is doing.

"I see that as a positive," he said.

In a news release, federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq said her government was doing its part to encourage family doctors and nurses to serve in rural and remote communities and improve access to primary health care.

"Our government is committed to strengthening health care for all Canadians," she said.

The Canada Student Loans Program will start accepting applications for student loan forgiveness on April 1 and further details can be found at www.canlearn.ca.

rross@theguardian.pe.ca

twitter.com/ryanrross

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown

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  • Parent
    January 09, 2013 - 09:41

    Now lets get real , I live in a very rule area . We are talking maybe a few hundred or less having to travel 100 + km. to do some test , because we can't have them done 38 km. from our home in the only major city in PEI . They want me to travel to the other end of PEI , on a very fixed income . Try as you May 8 years without a Doctor and you think one , with a small money incentive will come even closer to me ,is possible . Our government has failed to provide basic care , so we are supposed to look at this far beyoud possiablity . . NO WAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • shirley
    January 08, 2013 - 22:07

    what a joke. Do you really think thats going to get Dr's on PEI The nurses graduating don't even stay on the Island, and their born there & know how bad their needed. They go out west where the money is double

  • GIVE ME A BREAK
    January 08, 2013 - 10:13

    Do you actually believe that a Doctor who will make 25 times that is going to give it up and move to a rural area and put in three times the hours to save 8 thousand a year. Who thought this up?

    • Concerned Parent
      January 08, 2013 - 13:32

      We need better services in our main urban hospitals as well. My son was admitted to the QEH in Dec and had to be transported to and from Summerside hospital just to get a IV PIC Line insterted as not one person at the QEH could do it and the person who could, would not be available for a number of days. Furthermore, My Dad had two heart attacks in October and was in a coma for 9 days in Halifax and he has been waiting to see a heart doctor back home in Charlottetown since mid-November. This is not a rural problem - it's simply a PEI Problem.

    • MOE
      January 09, 2013 - 10:11

      THEY WILL TAKE WHAT YOUR OFFER AND THEN RUN , THEY ARE IN IT FOR THE MONEY AND NOT THE NEEDS 0F THE ISLANDERS ANY DOCTOR WHO WORKS 9:30am 12:00 ,1:00 UNTIL 3:00pm 4 DAYS A WEEK IS IN IT, FOR THE MONEY ONLY!!!!!