Loans 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
– Tuition, books, fees (e.g laboratory fess), course materials, equipment cost
– 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

*A professional association (also called a professional body, professional organization, or professional society) is usually a nonprofit organization seeking to further a particular profession, the interests of individuals engaged in that profession and the public interest.

Q: What can a business loan be used for?

A: The loan may be used for:
– Starting a new business
– Expanding or maintaining your business (less than 5 years old)
– Buying an existing business
– Business start-up costs
Cannot be used for: Research and development

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

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

Q: Does it matter where I live?

A: Yes. We predominantly lend to people living in the Ottawa area but please contact us as some exceptions apply.

Q: Can I meet with an OCLF Loans Officer in person?

A: Yes, and we can meet you at your place of convenience. To book an appointment, please contact:

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/lending partner to provide loans to future applicants, to cover loans in default, 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: Your credit score and history determines the interest rate you will be paying on your loan. Therefore, your payment will depend 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 8.70% with three (3) years repayment:
– During your program (6 months) you pay interest only: 36.25 $ / month
– The following three (3) months are still interest only: 36.25 $ / month
– After that, you will pay interest + principal for 36 months: 158.30 $ / month
– At the end, you will have paid a total of about $6,025.05
– There are no penalty fees for repaying your loan faster than originally planned

Q: What type of loans are ineligible?

A: Loans to finance a vehicle or asset purchase.
Loans for debt consolidations.
Loans not related to professional development or business activities.
Loans for living expenses, unless you are in a short-term internship or co-op placement administered by a college, university or community partner.