Student loan program mistakenly forgave debt to doctors, nurses: documents
Jordan Press, The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, October 11, 2016 4:50AM EDT
OTTAWA - The federal government is keeping closer tabs on a student loan program targeting doctors and nurses after many of them had loans mistakenly forgiven over the past two years.
The federal government launched the doctors and nurses loan forgiveness program in 2013 to act as an incentive for medical school graduates to practice in underserved areas of the country, or communities that had a hard time attracting new family doctors.
But documents show 30 of them should never have received the help during the program's first two years of existence.
Documents from Employment and Social Development Canada, which oversees the student loans program, show the mistake was first noticed in September 2015 when provincial officials in Saskatchewan alerted their federal counterparts.
The Saskatchewan government set up its own loan forgiveness program for nurses the same year the federal program launched. The documents suggest the private company contracted to administer both programs, DH Corporation (also known as D+H), made the errors that saw about $113,000 in loans mistakenly forgiven.
A March briefing note to Labour Minister MaryAnn Mihychuk, a copy of which The Canadian Press obtained under the Access to Information Act, shows that between February and August of this year ESDC officials verified every decision by D+H to forgive a loan while system upgrades were made.