Canadian Association of Internes and Residents

March 23, 2011 12:17 ET

CAIR: Resident Physicians Support Proposed Canada Student Loan Forgiveness Program

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 23, 2011) - The Canadian Association of Internes and Residents (CAIR) welcomes the proposed loan forgiveness program put forward by the Government of Canada as part of the 2011 Budget. The plan would forgive Canada Student Loans for up to $8,000 a year to a maximum of $40,000 for new doctors who provide health care in rural and remote regions. CAIR believes this is a positive step towards improving the physician shortage affecting these areas in Canada.

"CAIR is pleased to see that the federal government is willing to fund such initiatives," said Dr. Sasha Ho Farris Nyirabu, CAIR President and a second-year resident in the Northern, Rural and Remote stream of Family Medicine at the University of Manitoba. "We believe that the proposed Canada Student Loan forgiveness program will act as an additional incentive for resident physicians to consider establishing their practices in Canada's remotest areas".

The issue of resident physicians approaching the end of their training saddled with mortgage-sized debt continues to be a major concern across Canada. In 1996, a first-year resident physician who graduated from the MD program at the University of Toronto would have paid roughly $12,500 in tuition fees over four years. Resident physicians who are part of the U of T's 2011 graduating class will have paid roughly $74,000 for the same program.

A survey conducted by CAIR in 2006 found that the average debt of Canada's resident physicians stands at $158,728, with a median debt of $135,000. Forgiveness of federal Canada Student Loans would go a long way to reducing this debtload.

The Canadian Association of Internes and Residents (CAIR) is the national representative body of over 7,500 Resident Physicians in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, the Maritime Provinces, and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Contact Information

  • CAIR
    Cheryl Pellerin
    Executive Director