OTTAWA– The Canadian Federation of Students welcomes proposed measures announced by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Chrystia Freeland, to make all Canada Student Loans and Canada Apprentice Loans permanently interest-free beginning on April 1, 2023.
“Making Canada Student Loans and Canada Apprentice Loans permanently interest-free is a great first step towards removing financial barriers from obtaining a postsecondary education,” said Marie Dolcetti-Koros, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. “We’re encouraged by Deputy Minister Freeland’s commitment to supporting students struggling with rising inflation, particularly through funding directed at increasing aid for student renters, student unemployment, and First Nations youth.”
Measures introduced as part of Canada’s Fall Economic Statement 2022, are a direct result of the combined efforts of student leaders, activists, and advocacy groups that called for—and won—emergency support for postsecondary students impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, students have continued to advocate for federal investment and the permanent extension of emergency student financial aid programs to offset the impacts of rising inflation and tuition costs.
Other proposed changes that will help make life more affordable for students and graduates include:
- $400 million over 2 years for Canada Summer Jobs to have 70,000 annual summer job placements
- $250 million for a Sustainable Jobs Training Centre, Union Training and Innovation Program, and Sustainable Jobs Secretariat
- $301.4 million over 2 years to provide wraparound supports and job placements to young people facing employment barriers
- $100.2 million over 3 years for First Nations youth through the Income Assistance-First Nations Youth Employment Strategy Pilot
- A top-up to the Canada Housing Benefit that will deliver a tax-free payment of $500 directly to 1.8 million low-income renters
For over three decades, the Canadian Federation of Students has called to end the predatory practice of collecting interest on student loans. While this victory ushers in significant and lasting improvements to Canada’s student financial aid system, we continue to advocate for a national vision for free and accessible postsecondary education for all.