Ottawa, Ontario – Leon Benoit, Member of Parliament for Vegreville-Wainwright, is pleased to announce new initiatives by the Conservative Government to strengthen our health care system and our rural communities. Benoit joins the Hon. Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, and the Hon. Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, in announcing that the Government of Canada will forgive a portion of Canada Student Loans for family doctors and nurses who practice in rural communities, starting in Spring 2013. “This is another important step by a Government committed to strengthening primary health care services in rural communities,” said Benoit.
The initiative will not only alleviate the high cost of education and training for many Canadians in the health care field, but will also encourage more health care professionals to work in the communities that need them the most. “These measures will apply to communities with populations of 50,000 or less, as well as communities that provide health care services to First Nations, Inuit and Métis populations,” clarified Benoit. "This is an important step which will make a difference for my friends and neighbours living in rural areas. This, along with our tax reduction regime and improvements to our immigration system will make it far more likely that doctors will settle down in rural areas."
These initiatives will benefit health care professionals that began their work in our rural communities on or after April 1st, 2012. Family doctors and residents of family medicine who begin to work in undeserved rural communities will be eligible for a Canada Student Loan forgiveness of $8,000 per year, up to a maximum of $40,000. Nurses and nurse practitioners will be eligible for Canada Student Loan forgiveness of $4,000 per year, up to a maximum of $20,000. “Canada’s Economic Action Plan works for all Canadians, in all areas of the country,” Benoit said. “This recent announcement is just another example of our Government’s commitment to a sound recovery in all areas of the country, as well as maintaining the health of Canadians.”
More information is available at www.actionplan.gc.ca.