GATINEAU, QC, April 28, 2013 /CNW/ - The Harper Government today announced that family doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners and family medicine residents in more than 4 200 rural communities across Canada can now apply for Canada Student Loan forgiveness. The announcement was made by the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development. "By offering Canada Student Loan forgiveness, we're doing our part to encourage health care professionals to serve Canadians in rural and remote communities where they are needed to improve access to primary care," said Minister Finley. "This initiative is part of our Government's commitment to strengthen health care for all Canadians." Student loan forgiveness is available for up to five years for work in designated communities, which are communities with an urban core population of less than 50 000, outside of provincial capitals. Employment must have started on or after July 1, 2011. This initiative applies to the federal portion of Canada Student Loans. Applications and information are available on CanLearn.ca. Nurses and nurse practitioners could receive up to $4,000 per year in Canada Student Loan forgiveness, to a maximum of $20,000 over five years. Family doctors and residents in family medicine could receive up to $8,000 per year, to a maximum of $40,000 over five years. BACKGROUNDER Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes new measures to connect Canadians with available jobs and equip them with the skills and training they need. These include the Canada Job Grant, creating opportunities for apprentices and providing support to under-represented groups, including people with disabilities, Aboriginal people, newcomers and youth. Education and communities are two of the drivers of growth and job creation identified in the Harper Government's Economic Action Plan.