Canada Student Loan and Canada Apprentice Loan debt collection

We're reaching out to taxpayers

As of December 2020, you may receive a phone call or letter from the CRA about your existing debt. The CRA will reconnect with taxpayers to re-evaluate their financial situation and agree to a payment arrangement, where possible. No legal actions will be taken at this time.

Paying your debt all at once, and in full, helps you avoid interest and other legal and financial consequences. However, if you cannot pay the full amount now, there are options for you. Ignoring your debt does not make it go away. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will work with you to resolve your debt.  

Debt payment

The CRA collects defaulted Canada Student Loans (CSL) and Canada Apprentice Loans (CAL) on behalf of Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC). 

You can pay your debt online, at your financial institution or by mail. The CRA will apply your payment toward your oldest ESDC debt unless you request otherwise.

  • Online
    • The easiest way to pay is through your online banking service. CRA’s “My Payment” is not available to pay an ESDC debt.
    • Select "Employment and Social Development Canada" as the payee if available on your financial institution’s website. Your account number is on your statement of account.
  • By mail
    • Make your cheque or money order payable to "Receiver General for Canada".
    • Write your client ID number on the front of your cheque or money order.
    • Include your remittance slip with your payment – do not staple.
    • Mail your payment to the payment office indicated on the back of your statement of account.
    • Do not send cash by mail.
  • In person
    • at your financial institution with your statement of account
  • For non-residents
    • Payments made by electronic funds transfer
      • payments in foreign currency
      • only accepted for amounts over $1000
    • debtors assume the cost of conversion
    • debtors are responsible for all fees that cannot be deducted from the amount
    • debtors will require the following information:
      • Fédération des caisses Desjardins du Québec
        1 Complexe Desjardins
        South Tower, 15th floor,
        Montreal, Quebec, Canada
        H5B 1B3
      • SWIFT Bic code number: CCDQCAMM
      • Financial Institution: 815
      • Transit number: 98000
      • Beneficiary name: 014-25623- ESDC
      • Beneficiary account number: MFI09702510815CAD5
      • Charges field : "OUR"
      • Description (mandatory):
        Client name: last name, first name
        Account number:______________
        Other information:_____________
        (Program: CPP, OAS, EI, etc.)

Payment arrangement

If you cannot pay your loan in full, or make the minimum monthly payment on your statement of account, the CRA may agree to a reduced regular payment. This allows you to make payments over time until you have paid the entire debt, including interest. Your debt will gain interest until you pay the full balance.  

A payment arrangement is an agreement between you and the CRA to pay your debt over a certain period. The CRA will consider a payment arrangement when you have shown that you have tried to pay your debt in full by either reducing your expenses or borrowing funds. After reviewing your financial details, the CRA will work with you to determine the amount and length of the payment arrangement.

The Income and expense worksheet is an optional budget tool to help you determine what you can afford to pay on a regular basis.

Contact the CRA to set up your payment arrangement.

You must pay as agreed, continue to file all returns on time, and stay up to date with your tax obligations. Payment arrangements may be subject to periodic reviews.

Even if you have a payment arrangement and are making payments, the CRA is authorized to take amounts from any benefits or credits you receive when you have a debt.

If your situation changes and you cannot continue with your payment arrangement, you must contact the CRA. If you do not, the CRA may proceed with legal actions to collect the balance of your debt. Go to Consequences of not paying for more information.

If you are unable to make a payment or payment arrangement, go to Unable to pay.

Related links:

Unable to pay

If you cannot pay in full, or make the minimum monthly payment on your statement of account, contact the CRA.

If you do not call or make a payment arrangement, the CRA may take legal action to collect the balance. Go to Consequences of not paying for more information.

Financial hardship provisions

You may apply for help under the financial hardship provisions if your debt repayment makes it difficult for you to pay for basic needs such as housing, food and utilities.

For more information, contact the CRA.

Severe Permanent Disability Benefit

If you are permanently disabled you may qualify for the Severe Permanent Disability Benefit. You may have your student loans cancelled if your disability prevents you from studying and working for the rest of your life.

Enrolment is not automatic. Contact the CRA for information on the Severe permanent disability benefit.

Repayment Assistance Plan

If you have a Canada Student Loan with Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), you may apply for repayment help with their Repayment Assistance Plan (RAP).

If you default on your student loan, the federal portion will be transferred and collected by the CRA, and the RAP will no longer be available.

You can apply to have your loans returned to the ESDC through the rehabilitation program so that you may apply for a RAP.

Judgement

If you have a judgement on your account, you will not be eligible for Canada Student Loan rehabilitation. Contact the National Student Loans Service Centre to discuss your situation.

Insolvency or bankruptcy

If you feel you are insolvent or are considering bankruptcy, visit the Office of the superintendent of bankruptcy.

Related links:

Consequences of not paying

If you do not pay your loan, or refuse to cooperate, the CRA may take legal action which could result in serious financial or legal consequences for you.

Before starting legal action, the CRA must do the following:

  • make 1 attempt to give verbal legal warning by phone
  • send 1 written legal warning letter

For more information, go to Legal warning about collection of debt.

Once the CRA has started any of the following legal actions, the CRA will not usually withdraw them.

To avoid legal action, go to Debt payment or Unable to pay.

  • Garnishing wages or other income sources

    Demand on third party (redirect money owed to you by a third party)

    The CRA can issue a demand on third party (DTP) to take funds that a third party owes you or holds for you. A third party could include a person or organization such as your employer, your bank or other sources of income.

    The DTP is typically sent at 30% of your take home pay and 100% of funds held in your financial institution. The CRA will apply the funds to your debt.

    For more information on DTP, go to Understanding a demand on third party

    Set-off (redirect money owed to you by the federal government)

    If you are owed money by any federal government department or agency, the CRA can issue a set-off to redirect the funds, and apply these amounts to your debt.

    The CRA can use your federal income, goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) credits or any future income tax refunds to reduce your debt.

    Set-offs can be done even if you have a payment arrangement and are making payments.

  • Asset liens and seizures

    The CRA can get a provincial judgement or a certificate from the Federal Court confirming the amount you owe. This will make your debt a matter of public record and allow the CRA to proceed with asset liens and seizures. The CRA will usually send you a letter to advise you that if you do not resolve your account, the CRA may take further legal action to pay the debt.

    Registering a lien on assets

    Once the debt is certified, or a judgement obtained, the CRA can register a lien against your assets and property, including your personal residence. Registering a lien will secure the amount of debt owing, by establishing creditor priority in the event of a sale. This means, if you sell your asset, your CRA debt is automatically paid from the proceeds of the sale, before you receive any remaining proceeds.

    Seizing and selling your assets

    If your debt remains outstanding, the CRA may get a writ or memorial to seize and sell your assets and property. This could include your car, boat, artwork, cottage, rental property, or personal residence.

    If the CRA sells your assets, the CRA will use the proceeds to pay:

    • the defaulted loan
    • any costs charged by the bailiff hired to sell the assets on behalf of the CRA

    You will still have to pay any remaining debt.

Related links:

Contact the CRA
  • Calls from within Canada and the United States

    You can complete a government programs debt call request to receive a callback from a CRA agent or locate the call topic and corresponding phone number from the tables below.

    Make a payment arrangement for an existing debt
    (from within Canada and the United States)
    Call topics Phone number Hours of service
    Government programs debt 1-866-864-5825 Monday to Friday (except holidays)
    8 am to 8 pm (Eastern time)
    Teletypewriter (TTY) 1-800-665-0354 Monday to Friday (except holidays)
    9 am to 5 pm (local time)

    See Services for persons with disabilities for information about services and alternative contact formats.

  • Calls from outside Canada and the United States

    The CRA accepts collect calls by automated response. Contact your service provider or operator to initiate the collect call.

    For general enquiries
    (from outside Canada and the United States)
    Call topics Phone number Hours of service
    International government programs debt 613-221-3004 Monday to Friday (except holidays)
    8 am to 8 pm (Eastern time)
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