Effective July 11, 2021, Saskatchewan entered Step Three of the Re-Opening Roadmap and the public health order relative to COVID-19 was lifted. All restrictions related to the public health order were removed as of that date.

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Loan Forgiveness for Veterinarians and Veterinary Technologists

The Saskatchewan Student Loan Forgiveness Program for Veterinarians and Veterinary Technologists encourages veterinary professionals to work in rural areas of the province.

An application form for this new program will be available at the end of 2021. The Loan Forgiveness for Veterinarians and Veterinary Technologists program will begin receiving applications in January 2022.
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1. Benefits

The Loan Forgiveness for Veterinarians and Veterinary Technologists program is intended to encourage veterinarians and veterinary technologists to practice in under-served rural or remote communities by forgiving a portion of Saskatchewan Student Loans.

The amount of eligible forgiveness you could receive is calculated annually and is paid as a reduction to your provincial student loan. Veterinarians and veterinary technologists will receive forgiveness of one-fifth (20%) of their outstanding Saskatchewan Student Loan debt, up to $4,000 annually, for up to five years, to a maximum of $20,000.

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2. Eligibility

To be eligible for Saskatchewan Student Loan Forgiveness, you need to have:

  • Started your current employment (full-time, part-time, or casual) as an eligible veterinarian or veterinary technologist in a designated rural or remote community on or after January 1, 2021;
  • Been employed for a full year (12 consecutive months) in a designated community. You also must be new to the profession or new to the community;
  • Provided in-person services for a minimum of 400 hours in that community;
  • A valid license to practice in Saskatchewan as a:
  • Veterinarian
  • Veterinary Technologist
  • A Saskatchewan Student Loan in repayment (or in your grace period) and in good standing; and
  • Submitted an application form within 90 days of completing your year of service. Note: application forms will be made available at the end of 2021.

You must be working in a designated rural or remote community with a population of less than 10,000. The exceptions are Estevan, Weyburn and Lloydminster (Saskatchewan), which are also designated communities for this program.

It is acceptable to work in multiple designated communities during the year as long as you complete a minimum of 400 hours of in-person service over 12 consecutive months.

Saskatchewan Loan Forgiveness is not restricted to newly graduated veterinarians and veterinary technologists. However, in order to qualify you must have begun work in a designated rural or remote community on or after January 1, 2021. Your employer must also attest to this on your application. Please indicate if you work in a self-employed practice – supporting documentation may be requested.

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3. How To Apply

After you have completed 12 consecutive months, as outlined above, you have 90 days to apply for loan forgiveness.

After each year of service, you must re-apply for the benefit. A reminder letter will be sent to you each year, as long as records indicate you would be eligible. You must complete each year of loan forgiveness before you can re-apply for a subsequent year.

Application Deadline

Once you have completed a year of service in a designated community, you have 90 days to apply for loan forgiveness. For example, for an employment period of January 1, 2021, to December 31, 2021, you would have until March 31, 2022, to submit an application for that period.

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4. Apply

Additional information including an application form will be available at the end of 2021. The Loan Forgiveness Program for Veterinarians and Veterinary Technologists will start receiving applications in January 2022.

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5. Further Information

Your Responsibilities

During your year of service before you can apply, you must make regular monthly payments on your Saskatchewan Student Loan. Once your application for loan forgiveness has been approved, your Saskatchewan Student Loan balance will be reduced. Your monthly payments will also be reduced. If you do not wish your monthly payments to be reduced, you can opt out of this reduction when you apply. Federal funding represents the greater part of the initial student loan funding. Payment amounts will be prorated and applied to the loan balances. Information about your student loan balances, including the Canada and Saskatchewan portions, will be provided in your initial assessment letter and updated on your student portal account. Applicants on the Repayment Assistance Plan may also be eligible for loan forgiveness.

Break in Service

You are not eligible for loan forgiveness if you leave a designated community before the year of service is complete. However, you may change a designated community provided you re-establish employment in another designated community. A break in service is permitted up to 31 days for relocation.

Sick, Compassionate or Parental Leave

You remain eligible for loan forgiveness if your leave is less than one month and you are able to complete a minimum of 400 hours of in-person service over 12 consecutive months.

If your leave is longer than one month and/or prevented you from completing the 400 hour of in-person service, you may still be eligible if the leave was because of an illness, childbirth or to care for a family member. You must have received at least one of the following Employment Insurance (EI) benefits:

  • Maternity benefits
  • Parental benefits
  • Sickness benefits
  • Compassionate care benefits
  • Benefit for parents of critically ill children

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