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In pre-budget letter, Hajdu asks Ontario to reverse student-loan changes

OTTAWA — The feud between the federal Liberals and the Ontario Tories is taking another turn in the run-up to the Doug Ford government’s first provincial budget.

Labour Minister Patty Hajdu, who oversees federal student-support programs, is asking her provincial counterpart to roll back changes the Progressive Conservatives made in January to the Ontario Student Assistance Plan.

Among the changes was charging interest on loans during a six-month repayment “grace period” after graduation, a move the Tories said would reduce complexity for students and match rules for the federal Canada Student Loans Program.

Except the Trudeau Liberals announced changes to the federal program in their March budget to waive interest charges during the grace period.

In a letter sent Tuesday to Merrilee Fullerton, Ontario’s minister of training, colleges and universities, Hajdu asks the provincial government to abandon the change in the provincial budget and align again with federal standards.

On Thursday, the Ontario government tables its first spending blueprint since being elected last year.

The Canadian Press

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