OTTAWA – The Canadian Federation of Students (the Federation), welcomes commitments announced by Jagmeet Singh, leader of the New Democratic Party (NDP), to forgive up to $20,000 in federal student debt for current loan borrowers while working towards achieving a tuition-free post-secondary education model in Canada. These announcements come after the Federation met with a number of elected officials during the pandemic, advocating for a Just Recovery for Students.
“Student debt is not only a barrier for individuals looking to attain a post-secondary education, but it’s necessary to acquire skills needed to succeed in today’s workforce,” said Nicole Brayiannis, Deputy National Chair of the Federation. “With the uncertainty of our futures stemming from the pandemic, students, graduates, and loan borrowers are looking for strong national leadership that will equip Canadians with the tools to overcome the challenges of tomorrow.”
The NDP’s national post-secondary education strategy is a long-term pandemic recovery initiative that looks to include students and graduates to participate in Canada’s recovering economy. The proposal looks to remove the unnecessary financial burden of student debt on current loan holders while allowing new graduates to get a head start on their careers.
Commitments announced included replacing the existing Repayment Assistance Plan (RAP) with an income-contingent debt forgiveness program for federal student loans while providing a five-year grace period for repayments to new graduates. The NDP also restated commitments to working with provinces and territories to achieve a tuition-free post-secondary education, immediately reinstating the moratoriums on student loans until the pandemic subsides, and ending government profits collected from student debt by permanently eliminating interest on federal student loans.
The Federation continues to advocate for immediate pandemic relief for all students and recent graduates as well as a national post-secondary strategy that is equitable for all.