Report From Parliament

September 11, 2012

By Cheryl Gallant, M.P.

I hope you had a pleasant and enjoyable summer. The fall session of Parliament promises to be busy and productive. Thank-you to all those constituents who took the time to say hi! during the community constituency clinics.

September means back to school. The Canada Student Loans Program (CSLP) offers financial assistance to full and part-time students pursuing post-secondary education, in the form of loans, grants and repayment assistance. The CSLP is delivered in partnership with the Province, like healthcare.

Primary healthcare services continue to be a priority for the Federal Government. Residents should not have to live in a large city like Toronto to receive quality treatment. Starting in April of this year for individuals who commit to working in a designated community, (which generally means the community has a population of less than 50 thousand), family doctors and residents in family medicine will be eligible to receive up to $8,000 per year in Canada Student Loan forgiveness to a maximum of $40,000 over 5 years; nurses and nurse practitioners will be eligible to receive up to $4,000 per year to a maximum of $20,000 over 5 years.

To apply for loan forgiveness for the federal student loan portion, family doctors and nurses must have been employed, (full time, part-time or casual) for a full year (12 months) in a designated rural or remote community (or communities) and have provided in-person services for a minimum of 400 hours (or 50 days) in that community. Questions regarding the recent decision by the province to freeze funding to family health teams should be directed to your provincial member as the delivery of healthcare is a provincial responsibility.

New parents are encouraged to contact my office for details of the recent announcement made by our government about a new Employment Insurance benefit. This special, new EI benefit is intended to ease the financial burden on parents who take time off to care for a critically ill or injured child. Parents who must take time off work to care for a child who has a life-threatening illness or injury will be able to apply for up to 35 weeks of this new EI special benefit.

As your Federal Member of Parliament, I am pleased to represent you on a variety of issues. Whether that issue is eliminating the long gun registry, promoting agriculture, international trade, AECL, the military or jobs in the working forest, I am here to serve you! As always, if you have any concerns of a federal nature, or just want to share your views with me, please do not hesitate to contact my office.