March 18, 2020
Toronto, ON - Today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a six-month interest-free moratorium on Canada Student Loans as part of the country’s economic stimulus package in light of COVID-19. This announcement comes after the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) released a letter calling on the federal government to implement this necessary measure. OUSA commends the federal government for taking quick action to address the challenges Canadian post-secondary graduates will face in making Canada Student Loan repayments as a result of the income barriers that COVID-19 presents.
“On behalf of the 150,000 undergraduates OUSA represents, thank you to Minister Ahmed Hussen and Minister Carla Qualtrough for their swift action to help graduates with debt relief during COVID-19,” said Catherine Dunne, President of OUSA and Vice-President for the University Students’ Council at Western University. “Graduates need to prioritize staying healthy and helping their communities, and these steps will support that.”
However, Canada Student Loans make up only a portion of the funding students receive under the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP), which means that those currently paying off OSAP loans will still accrue interest and be required to make payments on the provincial portion of their loans.
Yesterday, OUSA also called on the Government of Ontario to implement an interest-free moratorium on the provincial portion of OSAP loans. We are optimistic they will take similar measures to support students and graduates who face additional barriers to making OSAP payments during this difficult time.
While we practice social distancing, and as the economy recovers following COVID-19, new graduates will need time to find good quality jobs. As a result, OUSA is also recommending that the federal and provincial governments implement a two year interest-free grace period for students graduating in 2020.
OUSA’s complete recommendations to the federal and provincial government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic can be found below:
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OUSA represents the interests of 150,000 professional and undergraduate, full-time and part-time university students at eight student associations across Ontario. Our vision is for an accessible, affordable, accountable, and high quality post-secondary education in Ontario.
Communications & Operations Coordinator
Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance