Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is a professional development (PD) loan and what can it be used for?

A: The loan may be used for:

–           Short-term (1 year or less) professional development activity

–           Exam fees with a professional governing association

–           Travel expenses to write an exam

–           Qualification assessments

–           Books and course materials

–           Living allowance during a short-term internship or co-op placement administered by a college, university or community partner

–           Other applicable expenses related to your professional development as approved by OCLF


Q: What can a business loan be used for?

A: The loan may be used for:

–           Starting a new business

–           Expanding or maintaining an existing business (less than X years old)

–           Buying a new business

–           Business start-up costs


Q: Are these programs and loans only for professionals or for people who have degrees?

A:        No. Our programs and loans are for anyone who meets the basic eligibility criteria.

–           Over 18 years old

–           Resident of Ottawa

–           Permanent resident or Canadian Citizen

–           Acceptable credit history

–           Those who will incur costs in order to work again may speak with OCLF staff

–           Tradespeople, skilled workers, professionals and aspiring entrepreneurs are encouraged to speak with OCLF staff


Q: Does it matter where I live?

A: Yes. We can lend to people living in the Ottawa area.


Q: Can I meet with an OCLF Loan Facilitator in person?

A: Yes.


Q: Can I use an OCLF loan to pay off my credit card?

A:        Not usually, but it may be allowed if you recently paid for licensing/training costs on your credit card, and can show us that you did.


Q: I want to work in my field, but my first priority is providing for my family. How can an OCLF loan help?

A:        OCLF loans can only be used for living expenses if, you are in a short term internship or co-op placement administered by a college, university or community partner.


Q: Does OCLF make money from the loans?

A:        No. OCLF is a non-profit organization whose operating expenses are covered from other sources. All loan interest goes to the loan fund to provide loans to future applicants, to cover defaulted loans, to pay for the interest OCLF pays if it has borrowed the money it lends out, and to pay bank service charges.


Q: How much will my payments be?

A:        It depends on your interest rate, the amount you borrow, the length of your professional development activity and the repayment time. For example, if you borrow $5,000 for a six (6) month program at 9% with three (3) years repayment:

–           During your program (6 months) you pay interest only: x $ / month

–           The following three (3) months are still interest only: x $ / month

–           After that, you will pay interest + principal for 36 months: x $ / month

–           At the end, you will have paid a total of about $x

–           There are no penalty fees for repaying your loan faster than originally planned