New interest relief measure to provide much-needed help to Canada Student Loan borrowers on medical or parental leave 

News release

More than 7,000 borrowers a year to benefit  

October 7, 2020              Gatineau, Quebec              Employment and Social Development Canada

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.

Today, the 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.

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.


“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

Quick facts

  • When a part-time student with both part-time and full-time Canada Student Loans is approved for medical or parental leave, only their part-time loans will be suspended. Payments and interest will continue on the student’s full-time loans.

  • The Government has increased grant and loan support for the 2020–21 school year, so that students facing financial challenges can access and afford a post-secondary education this school year. These changes include:

    • doubling Canada Student Grants to up to $6,000 for full-time students and up to $3,600 for part-time students, and doubling Canada Student Grants for students with permanent disabilities and students with dependants;
    • broadening the eligibility for student financial assistance by removing the student’s and spouse’s expected contributions for the 2020–2021 school year; and
    • increasing the weekly maximum Canada Student Loan limit from $210 to $350. 
  • Other Government of Canada supports aimed at helping young Canadians and students affected by the COVID-19 pandemic include:

    • increased funding of up to $187.7 million for the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy to create 9,500 more work opportunities for young Canadians, particularly those facing barriers to employment;
    • additional funding of $61.7 million for the Canada Summer Jobs program to help expand the current work placement target from 70,000 to more than 80,000 placements for young people aged 15 to 30. To date, more than 84,500 jobs have been approved, with thousands of opportunities currently available at;
    • increased funding of $266.1 million for the Student Work Placement Program to support up to 40,000 work placements for post-secondary students in vital sectors such as healthcare; and
    • a six-month interest-free moratorium on the repayment of Canada Student Loans that provided relief to more than 1 million borrowers currently in repayment.

Associated links


For media enquiries, please contact:
Marielle Hossack
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion Carla Qualtrough 

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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