52

 


 

Third Session, 48th General Assembly

68 Elizabeth II, 2019

BILL 52

AN ACT RESPECTING STUDENT FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE

Received and Read the First Time................................................................

Second Reading............................................................................................

Committee.....................................................................................................

Third Reading...............................................................................................

Royal Assent.................................................................................................

HONOURABLE BERNARD DAVIS

Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Labour

Ordered to be printed by the Honourable House of Assembly

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES

This Bill would repeal and replace the Student Financial Assistance Act.

The Bill would repeal provisions respecting the Student Loan Corporation and implement the transfer of the student loan program to the Department of Advanced Education, Skills and Labour and the Department of Finance.


A BILL

AN ACT RESPECTING STUDENT FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE

Analysis


        1.   Short title

        2.   Definitions

              PART I
ADMINISTRATION

        3.   Educational institutions

        4.   Agreements

        5.   Agent

        6.   Financial Institution

        7.   Notice of financial assistance

        8.   Financial assistance

        9.   Crown successor

      10.   No right to payments

      11.   Over award

      12.   Appeal board

      13.   Appeal

              PART II
REGULATIONS

      14.   Ministerial regulations

      15.   Lieutenant-Governor in Council regulations

      16.   Procedures, fees and forms

              PART III
REPAYMENT OF STUDENT LOANS AND REMEDIES

      17.   Liability of minors

      18.   Financial assistance not chargeable etc.

      19.   Subrogation and collection

      20.   No notice

      21.   Consequences of breach

      22.   Offence and penalty

      23.   Report

      24.   Immunity

      25.   Application

      26.   NLR 74/10 Amdt.

      27.   SNL2002 cI-0.1 Amdt.

      28.   SNL2000 cI-1.1 Amdt.

      29.   RSNL1990 cP-25 Amdt.

      30.   CNLR 1114/96 Amdt.

      31.   RSNL1990 cP-43 Amdt.

      32.   Repeal

      33.   Commencement


Be it enacted by the Lieutenant-Governor and House of Assembly in Legislative Session convened, as follows:

Short title

        1. This Act may be cited as the Student Financial Assistance Act, 2019.

Definitions

        2. In this Act

             (a)  "appeal board" means the appeal board established under section 12;

             (b)  "borrower" means a person to whom financial assistance is given under this Act;

             (c)  "department" means the department presided over by the minister;

             (d)  "educational institution" means an institution of learning, whether within or outside the province, that offers courses at a post-secondary level and that is designated under section 3;

             (e)  "federal Act" means the Canada Student Financial Assistance Act (Canada);

             (f)  "financial assistance" means a student loan or other form of assistance that has been or may be provided to a student under this Act or the Student Financial Assistance Act in force before the coming into force of this Act;

             (g)  "financial institution" means

                      (i)  a bank to which the Bank Act (Canada) applies,

                     (ii)  a credit union incorporated or continued under the Credit Union Act, and

                    (iii)  those other persons that are designated by the minister;

             (h)  "former Act" means the Student Financial Assistance Act;

              (i)  "lender" means the Crown or a financial institution from which a borrower receives a student loan in accordance with a student loan agreement;

              (j)  "minister" means the minister appointed under the Executive Council Act to administer this Act;

             (k)  "qualifying student" means a person who

                      (i)  is a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident within the meaning of the Immigration Act (Canada),

                     (ii)  is a resident of the province, and

                    (iii)  is qualified for enrolment or is enrolled at an educational institution;

              (l)  "reserve force" means reserve force as defined in the National Defence Act (Canada);

           (m)  "student loan" means money loaned to a borrower under this Act or under the Newfoundland and Labrador Student Loan Program, operating on or after September 1, 1994 in accordance with a student loan agreement between a lender and that borrower; and

             (n)  "student loan agreement" means an agreement between a lender and a borrower for the receipt of a student loan by the borrower in accordance with this Act or under the Newfoundland and Labrador Student Loan Program, operating on or after September 1, 1994.

PART I
ADMINISTRATION

Educational institutions

        3. (1) A person may apply to the minister to have an institution of learning designated as an educational institution.

             (2)  Where an application is made under subsection (1), and the applicant meets the requirements established by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council under the regulations, the minister may designate the institution of learning as an educational institution.

Agreements

        4. (1) The minister may, in order to carry out the purposes of this Act, enter into and amend agreements with the government, or an agency of the government, of another province, territory and of Canada and with a person or a private agency or organization with respect to

             (a)  the exchange of information and records related to student financial assistance;

             (b)  the joint undertaking of projects;

             (c)  payment to or by the province of contributions in respect of the cost of projects referred to in paragraph (b);

             (d)  the harmonization and administration of federal, provincial and territorial financial assistance programs; and

             (e)  the promotion of the purposes of this Act.

             (2)  The minister may, with the approval of the Lieutenant-Governor in Council, enter into and amend an agreement with a lender with respect to the making of student loans and the provision of other forms of financial assistance. 

Agent

        5. The minister may act as an agent of the Government of Canada and may appoint agents to act on behalf of the government of the province for the purposes of this Act.

Financial Institution

        6. The minister may, in writing, designate the financial institutions that may be lenders under this Act.

Notice of financial assistance

        7. (1) A qualifying student may, in the form required by the minister, apply to the minister for financial assistance.

             (2)  The minister may issue a notice of financial assistance to a qualifying student who applies under subsection (1) provided that the student complies with and meets the requirements established by the regulations.

             (3)  A notice of financial assistance shall state the social insurance number of the qualifying student and the maximum amount of financial assistance that may be given to that student.

             (4)  The maximum amount of financial assistance referred to in subsection (3) shall be set in accordance with the regulations.

Financial assistance

        8. (1) The minister shall, in accordance with this Act, provide financial assistance to a qualifying student in an amount that shall not exceed the amount set out in the regulations. 

             (2)  The minister may, in accordance with the regulations, credit or debit a borrower’s account with the Crown.

             (3)  The minister may pay all or a portion of financial assistance provided under subsection (1) on behalf of a student to the educational institution attended by the student and the receipt of that educational institution for the payment made is a sufficient discharge to the minister for the amount set out in that receipt with respect to that student’s financial assistance.

Crown successor

        9. (1) The Crown is the successor in law to the Student Loan Corporation and, notwithstanding the repeal of the former Act, has all the power which the Student Loan Corporation had under that Act with respect to the administration of student financial assistance before the coming into force of this Act.

             (2)  The Crown is charged with and assumes all the obligations and liabilities of the Student Loan Corporation.            

             (3)  Title to all of the property and assets of the Student Loan Corporation is vested in the Crown.

             (4)  An agreement made between the Student Loan Corporation and another party before this Act comes into force continues in force and is binding on the Crown and the other party to it.

No right to payments

      10. A person is not entitled as a matter of right to receive, obtain or have paid on account of or in respect of that person an amount of money authorized under this Act.

Over award

      11. (1) Where, under this Act, a person receives or obtains an amount of money to which he or she is not entitled or an amount of money in excess of the sum to which he or she is entitled, that amount shall be recovered in the manner required by regulation.

             (2)  Subsection (1) applies notwithstanding that a person has been or will be prosecuted for an offence arising out of his or her receipt of money as described in subsection (1).

Appeal board

      12. (1) The minister shall, in accordance with the regulations, appoint a panel of persons to act as a student assistance appeal board.

             (2)  The appeal board may be divided into one or more committees.

Appeal

      13. (1) A person may make an appeal to the appeal board with respect to a denial, term, condition, amount of a student loan, financial assistance, interest or payment relief made or established under this Act.

             (2)  An appeal made under subsection (1) shall be made in accordance with the regulations.

             (3)  The appeal board or a committee of the appeal board shall, in writing and not more than 10 days after the hearing and consideration of an appeal, notify the appellant of its decision and the reasons for that decision.

             (4)  A decision of a committee of the appeal board and of the appeal board on an appeal is final and binding.

PART II
REGULATIONS

Ministerial regulations

      14. (1) The minister may make regulations

             (a)  defining, for the purpose of this Act, a word or term not defined in this Act;

             (b)  respecting the assessment of need for financial assistance under this Act;

             (c)  respecting the disclosure of financial and other information, reports and documentation for the purpose of this Act;

             (d)  respecting the payment by borrowers of fees, costs, insurance premiums and insurance coverage, expenses and disbursements, legal or otherwise, incurred by a lender or the Crown in endeavouring to recover student loans made to a borrower under this Act;

             (e)  respecting qualifying students, full time students, assessments of need and requirements for receiving financial assistance;

             (f)  respecting the recovery of student loans, awards and grants given in error or in excess of an amount permissible under this Act including the circumstances under which all or part of a grant is to be converted into a student loan;

             (g)  respecting the composition of a panel of persons to the appeal board, committees of, chairperson of, appeals to, administration and procedures of the appeal board, terms of office and vacancies on the appeal board;

             (h)  respecting the information to be provided by students, qualifying students and borrowers with respect to their obtaining financial assistance;

              (i)  respecting applications for student loans and other financial assistance;

              (j)  respecting the administration of grant, student loan, debt reduction, relief and remission programs and respecting the persons or classes of persons who are eligible for a grant, loan, debt reduction, relief or remission program;

             (k)  adopting provisions of the federal Act and regulations made under that Act; and

              (l)  respecting evidence to be provided and oaths or affirmations to be made for the purpose of the Act.

             (2)  Regulations made under this section may be made with retroactive effect.

Lieutenant-Governor in Council regulations

      15. (1) The Lieutenant-Governor in Council may make regulations

             (a)  prescribing requirements for the designation of educational institutions and the standards and requirements necessary to maintain that designation;

             (b)  prescribing circumstances and conditions under which a designation as an educational institution may be revoked and reinstated;

             (c)  respecting the manner of calculation, total amount and payment of student loans and other financial assistance;

             (d)  respecting the terms and conditions under which a student loan or other financial assistance may be provided and the information, terms and conditions to be stated in student loan agreements;

             (e)  respecting interest free periods, payment deferrals for student loans, student loan forgiveness and remission, debt reduction, grant programs, interest relief and debt relief relating to death or disability;

             (f)  setting lower interest rates or eliminating interest for student loan agreements and setting the effective dates for those lowered interest rates or eliminated interest, except where a judgment of the court has been made with respect to a student loan agreement;

             (g)  setting lower interest rates or eliminating interest for debts owed to the Crown as a result of the Crown fulfilling the obligations of a borrower under a student loan agreement, and setting the effective dates for those lowered interest rates or eliminated interest, excepting debts that are owed to the Crown as a result of a judgment of a court;

             (h)  respecting the circumstances in which no interest is payable by members of the reserve force in respect of their student loans;

              (i)  respecting the circumstances in which no fees may be charged to members of the reserve force on their student loans;

              (j)  respecting the circumstances in which no amount on account of principal or interest is required to be paid by members of the reserve force in respect of their student loans;

             (k)  respecting the assignment, transfer or sale of student loans;

              (l)  adopting provisions of the federal Act and regulations made under that Act and respecting the application of those provisions;

           (m)  determining the period during which financial assistance is to be provided;

             (n)  determining who are borrowers for the purposes of this Act;

             (o)  respecting interest rates, amortization and repayment of student loans and other financial assistance;

             (p)  respecting set off, write-offs, over awards and the recovery of money owed to the Crown;

             (q)  respecting the terms of repayment of student loans under student loan agreements;

              (r)  generally to give effect to the purpose of this Act.

             (2)  Regulations made under this section may establish different requirements for different classes of student loan agreements and lenders.

             (3)  Regulations made under this section may be made with retroactive effect.

             (4)  Regulations made under this section may confer powers or impose duties on the minister with respect to matters dealt with in those regulations.

             (5)  An interest rate lowered or interest eliminated in accordance with regulations made under paragraphs (1)(f) and (g) applies to a student loan agreement or a debt owed to the Crown as a result of the Crown fulfilling the obligations of a borrower under a student loan agreement notwithstanding that that lowered interest rate or eliminated interest is contrary to a term or condition of the applicable student loan agreement. 

Procedures, fees and forms

      16. (1) The minister may establish policies and procedures for the purpose of the administration and implementation of this Act and regulations.

             (2)  The minister may set fees and establish forms for the purpose and administration of this Act.

PART III
REPAYMENT OF STUDENT LOANS AND REMEDIES

Liability of minors

      17. (1) A qualifying student under 19 years of age at the time of entering into a student loan agreement is bound by that agreement, and this Act applies as if he or she had attained the age of majority at the time when the contractual liability under that agreement arose.

             (2)  Subsection (1) applies to a student loan agreement notwithstanding that the agreement was entered into with a lender before the coming into force of this Act.

Financial assistance not chargeable etc.

      18. (1) Money that is financial assistance paid or payable under this Act shall not be charged, attached, anticipated or given as security and is exempt from execution, seizure or attachment and a transaction purporting to assign, charge, attach, anticipate or give as security such financial assistance is void, except where this section is overridden by a provision of another Act.

             (2)  A notice of garnishment received by the Crown with respect to money received by the Crown to repay a student loan is void.

Subrogation and collection

      19. (1) Where the Crown has paid money to a lender to fulfil the obligations of a borrower under a student loan, the Crown has the same right to collect from the borrower the amount paid to the lender and interest that the lender would have had if the Crown had not made that payment.

             (2)  Money owed to the Crown under an agreement, including a student loan agreement, by subrogation or otherwise under this Act, may be collected as a civil debt owed to the Crown. 

             (3)  Where a student loan is assigned to the Crown by a lender, the Crown has the right to collect from the borrower of that student loan the total amount required to be paid by the borrower under the terms of the student loan agreement, as amended by this Act, notwithstanding a payment made by the Crown under an agreement with that lender. 

             (4)  Notwithstanding a provision of another Act, where a borrower is

             (a)  in default of a student loan owed to the Crown; or

             (b)  indebted to the Crown with respect to a payment under subsection (1),

the Minister of Finance may recover the amount owed by the borrower from a refund or repayment that may otherwise be made under the Income Tax Act (Canada) or under the Income Tax Act, 2000.

             (5)  In a proceeding in a court for the recovery of money owed to the Crown arising out of an agreement or otherwise under this Act, a copy of the account stating the amount owed to the Crown may be signed and certified by the minister and where signed and certified is, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, evidence of the amount due and payable without further proof that that money is owed and without proof of the signature and certification of the minister.

             (6)  This section applies to payments of the Crown to a lender with respect to a student loan obligation incurred by a borrower whether that obligation arose before or after the coming into force of this Act.

             (7)  This Act shall not affect a remedy of the Crown that is available under another Act or law of the province for the recovery of or enforcement of a payment of money.

No notice

      20. For the purpose of the assignment of a borrower’s student loan from a financial institution to the Crown, the notice requirement of paragraph 103(1)(b) of the Judicature Act shall be considered to be satisfied notwithstanding that express written notice has not been given to the borrower, trustee or other person from whom the assignee is entitled to receive or claim the student loan debt. 

Consequences of breach

      21. (1) Where a person is convicted of an offence under this Act, the Canada Student Loans Act (Canada) or the federal Act,

             (a)  no financial assistance is payable to that person or to his or her benefit on or after the date of conviction; and

             (b)  the minister may demand that the person repay to the Crown financial assistance including interest and interest subsidies paid to or for the benefit of the person.

             (2)  Where the minister determines that a person has contravened this Act, breached a term of an agreement entered into by the person or provided false or misleading information with respect to obtaining financial assistance,

             (a)  the minister may, in accordance with the regulations, demand payment of all or a part of financial assistance made to that person; and

             (b)  where payment is demanded under paragraph (a), the financial assistance or a part of it is due and payable, together with interest on any outstanding balance of a student loan. 

             (3)  This section does not affect the validity or enforceability of a guarantee provided to a financial institution.

Offence and penalty

      22. (1) A person who, either orally or in writing, makes a false statement or misrepresentation or gives false or misleading information for the purpose of obtaining financial assistance under this Act or assisting another person in obtaining financial assistance under this Act commits an offence.

             (2)  A person who contravenes this Act commits an offence.

             (3)  A person who commits an offence under this Act is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than $500 and not more than $5,000, and for a subsequent offence to a fine of not less than $1,000 and not more than $10,000.

             (4)  A person who is convicted of an offence under this Act shall not apply for and is not eligible to receive financial assistance under this Act.

             (5)  Notwithstanding subsection (4), and not less than 3 years after a person has been convicted of an offence under this Act, the minister may, where he or she considers it appropriate, determine that the person may apply for and be granted financial assistance.

Report

      23. (1) The minister shall annually prepare a report on the administration of this Act for the preceding academic year and shall table that report before the House of Assembly within 30 days of the completion of the report and if the House of Assembly is not sitting, within 30 days of the commencement of the next sitting.

             (2)  In addition to a report under subsection (1), the minister may prepare and make public a report on the administration of this Act that may include student financial assistance default rates and write-offs generally and with respect to specific programs and educational institutions.

             (3)  For the purpose of subsection (1), "academic year" means a year commencing on August 1 of a year and ending on July 31 of the following year.

Immunity

      24. An action shall not lie or be instituted against an employee of the department, a member of the appeal board, the Crown or another person authorized to fulfil a responsibility under this Act for a loss or damage suffered by a person in respect of an act done or omitted to be done pursuant to or in the exercise or supposed exercise of a power, function or duty conferred or imposed under this Act.

Application

      25. This Act applies to a student loan agreement and to a student loan made before the coming into force of this Act as if that agreement or loan were made under this Act.

NLR 74/10 Amdt.

      26. Paragraph 8(c) of the Cost of Consumer Credit Disclosure Regulations published under the Consumer Protection and Business Practices Act is amended by deleting the reference "Student Financial Assistance Act" and substituting the reference "Student Financial Assistance Act, 2019". 

SNL2002 cI-0.1 Amdt.

      27. Subsection 7(3.1) of the Income and Employment Support Act is repealed.

SNL2000 cI-1.1 Amdt.

      28. Subsection 16.1(1) of the Income Tax Act, 2000 is amended by deleting the reference "Student Financial Assistance Act" and substituting the reference "Student Financial Assistance Act, 2019".

RSNL1990 cP-25 Amdt.

      29. Paragraph 19(1)(u) of the Private Training Institutions Act is amended by deleting the reference "Student Assistance Act" and substituting the reference "Student Financial Assistance Act, 2019".

CNLR 1114/96 Amdt.

      30. Section 26.5 of the Private Training Institutions Regulations published under the Private Training Institutions Act is amended by deleting the reference "Student Assistance Act" and substituting the reference "Student Financial Assistance Act, 2019". 

RSNL1990 cP-43 Amdt.

      31. Schedule C of the Public Service Commission Act is amended by deleting the reference "Student Financial Assistance ActStudent Financial Assistance Administration Regulations, paragraphs 18(1)(b) and (e)" and substituting the reference "Student Financial Assistance Act, 2019Student Financial Assistance Administration Regulations, paragraphs 18(1)(b) and (e)".

Repeal

      32. (1) The Student Financial Assistance Act is repealed.

             (2)  The Student Financial Assistance Board of Directors Regulations are repealed.

Commencement

      33. This Act comes into force on August 1, 2019.