It is important for us that you get the answers to any questions you have about our loan program. Browse through the frequently asked questions below or talk us to find the answers you’re looking for.
What can the loan be used for?
Windmill loans may be used for:
- Education and training programs of two years or less
- Fees for licensing and qualifying exams
- Travel expenses to take courses or write exams which are unavailable in your area
- Qualification assessments
- Professional association fees
- Books, supplies and course materials
- English or French language courses specific to employment
- Living allowance during study time (if you need to quit your job or reduce your hours during study time)
- Other costs related to continuing your career may be considered
Is this program only for professionals and/or for people who have degrees?
No. Any immigrant who will incur costs in order to work again in the occupation they had in their home country may apply. Tradespeople, skilled workers and professionals are all encouraged to apply. Read our eligibility requirements to learn more.
Do I have to go back to the same work I did before?
No, you do not have to be returning to the exact same position. We support immigrants who are returning to their previous field or a related field. For instance, if you were a dentist you could apply for a loan to help with the costs of becoming a dental hygienist.
Windmill loans cannot be used to help you start a career in a new field.
Am I eligible for a loan if I am already working in my field?
Yes, but only if you are underemployed (working at a level much lower than someone with your education or experience should be).
Do you support refugees or protected persons in Canada?
Windmill has a loan program for refugees/protected persons to limit their financial burden as they strive to resettle in Canada. Refugees or protected persons may apply for the Windmill Refugee Loan Program within three years from the time they have attained a Refugee Status in Canada to the date of their application at Windmill.
Does it matter where I live?
We can lend to people living anywhere in Canada, except for those who live in Quebec.
Can I meet with a Windmill representative in person?
Our process is designed so that you can be assessed and approved for a loan anywhere in Canada, except Quebec. However, if you live in Calgary, Edmonton, or Toronto, you can meet with our staff in person, if you prefer that over Skype™ or phone.
Can I use a Windmill loan to pay off my credit card?
Not usually, but it may be allowed if you very recently paid for licensing/training costs on your credit card, and can show us that you did.
I want to work in my field, but my first priority is providing for my family. How can a Windmill loan help?
Loans may be used to help pay short term living expenses if you need to quit your job or reduce your hours at work while you are attending school or studying for exams.
What are all the steps in the application process?
- The application process starts with the eligibility quiz, found here. If the quiz tells you that you are not eligible, you may want to speak to one of our staff to determine whether you may become eligible in the future.
- Once you’ve confirmed your eligibility, you can create your account on our online application portal, found here. If you have all of your supporting documents ready, it should only take you 30-60 minutes to complete the application. For a detailed list of the supporting documents that you’ll need, see here.
- Once we’ve received your complete application, we will review it and reach out by phone or email if we have any questions or require any more information. Otherwise, the next time you hear from us will be with an email to book your interview, which can be done over skype, or in person if you live in Calgary, Edmonton, or Toronto. If you have not heard from us a few days after submitting your application, please check your junk mail folder to see if the interview booking email went there. We recommend that you book your interview as soon as you receive the booking email, as spots can fill up fast.
- The interview with one of our Loan Facilitators will last about an hour and you will discuss your journey to Canada, background information, a review of your Learning Plan and financial situation, and an explanation of the Windmill payment terms and conditions.
- Your Loan Facilitator will then write a summary of your application and recommend approval or decline to our Loan Review Committee. The Committee gets back to them with a decision within a few days, and you will be informed of your approval or decline soon after.
- If your loan is approved, your Loan Facilitator will ask you to upload your void cheque to your online account. You will then be asked to sign your Loan Documents online using AdobeSign.
- Once your void cheque and signed Loan Documents have been received, your Loan Facilitator will arrange the disbursement of funds. You should see the funds in your bank account a few business days afterwards.
How much may I borrow?
You may borrow up to $10,000, but the average loan is around $7,000.
What is the interest rate?
The interest rate is the RBC Prime rate plus 1.5%, set quarterly. We are proud we have been able to keep the interest rate low. It is not uncommon for microloan programs to charge up to 10% above prime.
Why does Windmill charge interest?
The interest we charge you helps replenish the loan fund if some of the loans are not paid back, and pays for the interest and bank charges we have to pay.
Who benefits from the interest paid on the loans?
Aside from paying the interest charged to us and bank fees, we have been able to keep payments of principal and interest in the loan fund, helping to ensure the sustainability of the loan fund. Future loan recipients will benefit from the interest paid by today’s recipients.
Does Windmill make money from the loans?
No. The Windmill program is run by non-profit societies 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 Windmill pays if it has borrowed the money it lends out, and to pay bank service charges.
How much will my payments be?
Read our loan terms and conditions to learn more about paying your loan back.
Still have questions? Our loan team would be happy to answer your questions and help you get started in your application. Contact us here.
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