The House of Commons has called on the government to extend a moratorium on federal student loan payments to May 2021.
Pending government implementation, the new moratorium, approved on November 24, will cover payments from October 1, 2020 through May 31, 2021.
Ottawa had paused student loan payments in light of COVID-19 in March, but payments resumed on September 30.
Tanysha Klassen, chairperson of the BC Federation of Students, said that this was a welcome decision.
“Young Canadians have been amongst the hardest hit with the economic slowdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Klassen in a press release. “As the government struggles to restart the economy, providing recent graduates with a little more flexibility in their finances through pausing loan payments will help the process.”
A group of students had petitioned Parliament earlier this year to extend the COVID-19 payment moratorium after the time period overlapped with the six-month grace period class of 2020 graduates already had.
“You have all these students at the undergrad and graduate level that are just finishing programs, expecting to enter the workforce full time to start repaying loans, and that came to a halt very quickly in March when we all realized we’re probably not going to be able to get a job,” said Patty Facy, a UBC grad leading the petition, in November.
Facy tweeted that the new extension will benefit those who graduated in spring of 2020, but not fall graduates, as the moratorium will still overlap with the existing grace period.
Klassen also said that the federal government should consider cancelling all student loan debt.
“To continue to support recent and future graduates, the federal government should permanently eliminate interest charged on student loans.”
This article and headline have been updated to reflect that the House of Commons has called on the government to extend the moratorium but has not done so.