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Education is important when building a career in Canada, especially if you’re a new resident. The only problem is that getting training or accreditation can be expensive. Luckily, as a newcomer, you may be eligible for an education loan in Canada. 

So, if you’re an immigrant and looking for an affordable way to fund your education, accreditation, or training expenses, here’s how you can qualify for a suitable loan. 

Types Of Education Loans In Canada

Once you’ve immigrated to Canada, there are a few different places you can apply to get funding for your education/accreditation, including the following organizations:   

Windmill Microlending

Windmill Microlending is Canada’s only national charity that offers affordable loans to skilled immigrants and refugees. Founded in 2005, their microloans help clients cover the costs of training, accreditation, and career development. They gave more than 8,000 loans to new Canadians. Both private and public sectors fund them.

What Do They Offer?

Windmill offers microloans of up to $15,000 to help applicants achieve career success. Currently, they charge a fixed interest rate of 6.7% for the entire duration (terms can last up to 60 months) of a loan to assure payment and financial stability. You can use the loan to:

  • Education and training programs of less than 2 years 
  • Licensing and qualifying exam fees
  • French or English language training
  • Relocation costs for employment
  • Books, course materials, and work equipment   

Association Communautaire D’emprunt De Montréal (ACEM)

Microcrédit Montréal’s aim is to fight poverty and exclusion due to institutional barriers,  through a community-based microcredit program. They seek to democratize financing and offer equal opportunities through a participating network of investors and borrowers. In order to promote inclusivity, prosperity, and socio-economic development in Montréal.   

What Do They Offer?

ACEM microloans range from $500 to $15,000 and have low variable interest rates consisting of Desjardin’s prime rate + 1.00%. The average repayment period is 4 years and there are no early repayment penalties. They also offer lines of credit that can be converted to term loans after 2 years. You can use the loan to:

  • Short-term upgrade courses (under 2 years)
  • Professional order enrollment 
  • Language training (related to career projects) 
  • Costs related to necessities like childcare and living   

Foreign Credential Recognition (FCR) Loan Program 

Since 2018, the FCR Loans Program has been helping skilled immigrants enter the job market within their desired fields, like health, law, technology, and education. They provide loan and career guidance and understand that even skilled immigrants can have trouble finding employment or getting their credentials verified in Canada.  

What Do They Offer?

FCR loans are available to British Columbia residents. Eligible newcomers can apply for multiple loans of $1,000 to $30,000 with flexible monthly repayment periods of 1 to 10 years and competitive interest rates (prime rate + 0%). The funds can be used to cover:

  • Training costs
  • Credential evaluations
  • Examinations
  • Membership fees
  • Course materials
  • Travel costs

SEED Winnipeg

SEED (Supporting Employment & Economic Development) Winnipeg Inc. offers a program called Recognition Courts. It provides support to skilled immigrants who wish to work in their fields of expertise or find new careers in Manitoba. Applicants do not need to have employment, assets, or credit histories in Canada to be eligible.    

What Do They Offer?

SEED has partnered with the Assiniboine Credit Union to provide loans of up to $30,000 and flexible terms of up to 7.5 years. They can cover costs like tuition, textbooks, and fees associated with the registration process of Apprenticeship Manitoba or professional regulatory bodies. Their loans come with zero fees and fixed or variable interest rates:

  • Fixed & Variable Rates = as low as Assiniboine Credit Union Prime Rate + 1.00%
  • Current Assiniboine Prime Rate = 6.70% (subject to change without prior notice)   

WILL Employment Connections

Founded as the Women Immigrants of London Resource Service Centre in 1984. WILL Employment Solutions is a non-profit that offers support for all immigrants in Ontario. Including job seekers, employers, and regulated professionals. Their mission is to make sure that everyone has a chance to prosper through meaningful work, without barriers.         

What Do They Offer?

The Internationally Trained Worker (ITW) Loan Program is offered through WILL Access. It provides the funds to complete foreign credential recognition. Loans range up to $15,000 and have terms of up to 4 years. Variable interest rates accrue at Libro Credit Union’s prime rate + 1.00% per annum. The funds can be put toward expenses like:

  • Exams and licensure fees
  • Professional association fees
  • Qualification assessment
  • Tuition fees for training and skills upgrades        

Canada Microcredit Educators Group (CMEG)

CMEG offers microloans to skilled immigrants who live in Prince Edward Island (PEI). These can help pay for accreditation or training to work in the field newcomers worked in entering Canada. Their Foreign Credential Recognition program verifies that someone’s education and job experience are equal to the standards set for Canadian professionals.          

What Do They Offer? 

CMEG works in partnership with Human Resources Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) to offer this program in PEI. They’ve also partnered with Consolidated Credit Union to provide loans of up to $15,000 with fixed interest rates (prime rate + 1.00%) and terms of 2 years. Funds may be used in addition to student loans and can pay for: 

  • Training and/or living costs while obtaining training or certifications appropriate to Canada (if they’re required for costs that are not allowed under student loans)         

ISANS/AICLF

The Atlantic Immigrant Career Loan Fund is a special program for internationally trained immigrants in Atlantic Canada (NS, NB, PEI, NL). It’s provided by the Immigration Services of Nova Scotia. It is open to new Canadians who wish to overcome financial barriers, level up their skills, and get licenses or certifications to practice or change their careers.      

What Do They Offer?

The AICLF project is funded by the Government of Canada’s Foreign Credential Recognition Program and administered by ISANS, in partnership with the Royal Bank of Canada. Eligible immigrants can borrow up to $15,000 over a maximum of 4 years, at RBC’s prime rate + 1.00%. If you qualify, you can use AICLF funds to pay for costs like:

  • Travel
  • Licensing 
  • Study materials
  • Tools & equipment    

Acquiring Experience; Integrating Skills (AXIS) Career Services

AXIS Career Services was founded in 1995. Their mission is to empower internationally trained workers with the right skills, knowledge, and experience to become contributing members of the Newfoundland & Labrador workforce. They now offer several programs, such as internship placement, communications training, and pre-employment readiness.        

What Do They Offer?

Like the ISANS, AXIS Career Services offers loan funding through the AICLF program, which means eligible Newfoundland & Labrador residents can acquire up to $15,000 of financing to pay for most types of necessary costs related to their careers, including: 

  • Living expenses during exams or specific training
  • Accommodations to complete exams or courses
  • Registration & tuition fees   

How to budget and build your savings as a PNP Immigrant.

Other Ways To Get An Education Loan In Canada

If you’re an internationally trained worker but none of the programs above seem right for you, there are several other ways to get funding for your career in Canada, including: 

Education Loan In Canada: Personal Loans

If you can’t qualify for any loan programs through the federal or provincial government, you may be eligible for a regular personal loan through a bank, credit union, or alternative lender instead. However, you’ll have to build a good credit history and credit score to get the best interest rates and loan conditions.   

If you don’t know what your credit score is, you can check it for free using Loans Canada’s Compare Hub. Understanding your financial and credit profile will help you apply with lenders you have the best chance of qualifying with. 

Education Loan In Canada: Student Line of Credit

Many financial institutions also provide student lines of credit, which can be great when you want more flexibility than a loan offers. Like a credit card, a line of credit lets you make minimum payments and withdraw based on your needs. Plus, interest only applies to the amounts you borrow.

Fund Your Education Or Accreditation With An Education Loan In Canada:

Thankfully, there are many ways to get loans or lines of credit through our governments and financial institutions. Speak to your immigration consultant or career advisor to see what works best for you. Depending on the province or territory you live in, you’ll have access to various resources for your education and career.  

Education Loan Canada FAQs

Do I need to get my credentials assessed?

It depends on the circumstances of your immigration. Any work experience, education, or professional credentials that you got outside Canada will need to be assessed if you: 
  • Immigrate to Canada as a Federal Skilled Worker
  • Enter Canada to work in a specific trade or profession
  • Enter Canada to study  

How will having my credentials assessed help me?

You may begin the process of having your credentials assessed and verified prior to arriving in Canada. While this takes time and costs money, it can help you:
  • Discover which types of jobs you are qualified for
  • Show potential employers which positions you are qualified for
  • Find out if your credentials are equal to the standards set for Canadian workers
  • Determine if you need more education, training, or work experience in Canada   

How can I find jobs in Canada?

If you’re an immigrant in Canada looking for a job, there are tools you can use to help you find one. One of the best ways to find jobs within your field is by using various job boards like Job Bank, Indeed, Linkedin, and others.
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Bryan Daly

Bryan is a graduate of Dawson College and Concordia University. He has been writing for Loans Canada for five years, covering all things related to personal finance, and aims to pursue the craft of professional writing for many years to come. In his spare time, he maintains a passion for editing, writing screenplays, staying fit, and travelling the world in search of the coolest sights our planet has to offer.

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