Updates

Effective March 19, 2020, all of our non-essential on-site research activities will be paused. Please check your RTC registered email for our weekly Newsletter, Staying Connected.

RTC: Staying Connected

We are launching this special RTC Newsletter.  The goal of this is to provide useful updates and a wide range of relevant information that can help you to stay connected and productive during these challenging times. We hope that the need for this Newsletter will be as short lived as possible. However, we recognize that maintaining and supporting our community is especially important now. We hope you will find our Newsletter useful. We welcome suggestions as well as content from all of you.

Contribute to Staying Connected!

We would like to include new topics in the Newsletter based on your ideas and requests. However, we need help to do this. We are looking for volunteers to work with us to create content for the Newsletter. You can contribute on a regular basis, or just once, as your time permits.

  • Weekly update on coronavirus research;
  • Information on how trainees can help;
  • Useful training links (online courses, webinars, workshops);
  • Update on COVID-19 learning opportunities (e.g. John’s Hopkins short course, webinars)
  • Any topic discussing ways to stay connected with and support each other;
  • Science topic with selected interesting recent articles: summary of the findings and highlight of why this is interesting;
  • Cool pictures: fancy microscopy staining from an experiment;
  • Interviews with Postdoctoral fellows about how to be successful in the lab/in the career;
  • A question/answer section where more experienced PIs can answer some common trouble-shooting techniques, training experience and/or provide recommendations.

COVID-19 Updates for Trainees

March 19, 2020, all of our non-essential on-site research activities have been paused.

We continue to closely monitor the evolving situation with COVID-19. In order to protect our people, our trainees and our patients, the University of Toronto and all affiliated hospital’s research leadership have collectively agreed to scale back and in some cases to pause all non-essential on-site research activities.

For more information check your RTC registered email.

Upcoming Events

ZOOM details sent to your RTC registered email

may, 2020

8may1:00 pm- 2:00 pmRTC Seminar: First steps to Nanomedicine: Assessing Interactions between Polysytrene Nanoparticles and Albumin Proteins - Presented by Selena Osman

15may2:00 pm- 3:00 pmRTC Wellness Workshop: Finding Joy in the Age of COVID

20may1:00 pm- 2:00 pmRTC Seminar: Adherence to a Portfolio-like dietary pattern and risk of cardiovascular disease: Insights from the Women’s Health Initiative - Presented by Andrea Glenn (Supervisor: Dr. Sievenpiper)

20may1:00 pm- 2:00 pmRTC Seminar: Clinical and psychological outcomes of receiving a variant of uncertain significance from multigene panel testing or sequencing: A systematic review - Presented by Chloe Mighton (Supervisor: Dr. Bombard)

Tips & Facts

During these extraordinary times we all face challenges stemming from the loss of our regular routines, reduced and altered social interactions; uncertainty about the future and fear for our health and the health of those we love. Finding motivation can also be a challenge. Right now, you might actually feel happy to have some extra downtime, and this is fine too. Give yourself some rest.

The first step to overcome the challenges associated with physical distancing and the shutting down of most of our daily activities is to understand how these affect you. This knowledge will allow you to develop a personal plan. Remember, it is natural to feel somewhat disoriented and lost. However, these feelings should be reduced as we get used to our new normal.

Once you see that you can stay healthy and productive, you will start feeling better. Hopefully many of you have already developed a new routine. Here are some tips on how to adapt to your new, temporary normal and take back some control.

 

Maintain as much of your previous routine as possible.

  • Try to wake up at the same time each day.
  • Your schedule should include time for work, but also for exercise, meals, social activities (but remember physical distancing) and entertainment.
  • Try to stick to your routine as much as possible. Once you see how it works over a couple of days, make changes as needed.
  • If possible, do so outdoors (but remember social distancing). Do not go to the gym.

Stay productive:

  • Create a healthy workspace that minimizes distractions.
  • Make a task list to obtain a general overview of the things you will work on. Generate long and short-term plans and timelines.
  • Develop a general work schedule that you will follow daily (e.g. “9-11 am work on thesis”). Fill your schedule with specifics for each day. The daily plan should be as specific as possible. Re-evaluate and change as needed.

Avoid isolation:

  • Spend time maintaining your social contacts remotely. For example, if you cannot have meals together with roommates, organize group lunches or dinners with your friends via video chat.
    • Set up regular virtual meetings with your supervisor. This will give you a chance to evaluate progress and discuss challenges. It also provides motivation to work. During the meeting you can discuss your needs. Prepare for these meetings and ask questions. Be pro-active.
    • If your team has not organized virtual meetings, initiate these. You can discuss projects, have journal clubs or ask someone to teach you something.

Acknowledge your feelings. It is natural to get a flood of emotions.

  • Being fearful of the virus is normal. Avoid panicking. Finding a balance between being careful and panicking is a difficult thing. However, knowledge is power: gather information from good sources to understand that we are not as helpless as it can sometimes feel. Use this information to protect yourself and your loved ones.
  • Avoid information overload. The WHO recommendations for maintaining mental health issues highlights the importance of following news only to be informed but avoiding too much upsetting news (https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public).
  • Do not feel guilty if your progress is slower than you hoped. As long as you have some progress, it is OK. You will have some days when you are unfocused.
  • Focusing on others’ needs is one of the most powerful means for improving one’s mood. Get involved, look for opportunities to help out

Interested in learning something new? Check out these free online sessions!

 

GraphPad: Prism academy

There are over 8 hours of free online training with Prism Academy? Advance your knowledge of statistics and data visualization with step-by-step video tutorials, real-world examples and interactive courses taught by scientists. Join Prism Academy today! Learn more.

 

McGill Personal Finance Essentials

From budgeting to borrowing, real estate and beyond, invest a few hours in this free, online course and you’ll gain the knowledge and confidence to make a lifetime of smart financial decisions. Taught by professors from McGill University’s Desautels Faculty of Management, the course is open to everyone. Finish all course modules to receive a McGill Personal Finance Essentials attestation of completion. Learn more.

 

Learning How to Learn: Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects

This course gives you easy access to the invaluable learning techniques used by experts in art, music, literature, math, science, sports, and many other disciplines. The course covers topics including: how the two very different learning modes and how the brain encapsulates (“chunks”) information; illusions of learning; memory techniques; dealing with procrastination; best practices shown by research to be most effective in helping you master tough subjects. Learn more.

 

IBM Data Science Professional Certificate

Data Science has been ranked as one of the hottest professions and the demand for data practitioners is booming. This Professional Certificate from IBM is intended for anyone interested in developing skills and experience to pursue a career in Data Science or Machine Learning. This program consists of 9 courses providing you with the latest job-ready skills and techniques covering a wide array of data science topics including: open source tools and libraries, methodologies, Python, databases, SQL, data visualization, data analysis, and machine learning. You will practice hands-on in the IBM Cloud using real data science tools and real-world data sets. Learn more.

 

Photoshop for the Scientist

Message from the creator of this course: “I’ve been working in research labs for the past 10 years and, like most people, I made extensive use of PowerPoint for building my figures and when I did use Photoshop, I wasted a lot of time doing things manually or destructively (even though I thought I was a pro at the time!). Then a couple of years ago I got a job analyzing histology and microscopy images in Photoshop and realized how little I knew. I couldn’t believe some of the tools that were available; tools that I would never have discovered otherwise. Since then, I’ve spent literally hundreds of hours working through tutorials, completing mastery-level courses on Lynda.com and experimenting and analyzing my own data. I’d now like to share what I’ve learned, and hopefully save you the hours and headaches I spent figuring all this stuff out by trial and error!”  Learn more.

It is worth repeating, that by working from home, you already make a very significant contribution to efforts aimed at reducing the spread of the virus. Without this, none of the other efforts would work, so you practicing physical distancing is a vital contribution. At this time, the Institute has not yet called upon the research community for direct contribution to the Hospital’s efforts. However, we are promised that if the need arises, we will be called to help.

Many of you also asked how you can contribute to COVID-19 research. This is something that you should discuss with your supervisor. There are many grants that have been submitted from our Institute. However, at this time, there are no general guidelines regarding how graduate students can contribute.  Any graduate students involved in this activity will need to follow instructions from their Department as well as research leadership at SMH. They will need permission from their graduate department chair and supervisors (and research leadership, if the research involves on-site activity).

In the meantime, there is a grassroots effort that we would like to call attention to. Dr Tara Moriarty from U of T has been organizing Canadian scientists who would like to help with efforts to fight COVID-19. You can read about this here:

https://www.cbc.ca/radio/quirks/mar-2-mobilizing-scientists-in-the-covid-19-fight-riding-the-covid-wave-and-more-1.5512550/scientists-are-mobilizing-from-the-ground-up-and-the-top-down-in-our-fight-against-covid-19-1.5512558

 

Dr. Moriarty had initiated a registry to generate a list of those individuals who have scientific training and are willing to get involved if the need arises. You can sign up and register your expertise here:

https://moriartylab.org/covid-19-volunteers/

 

We would like to include new topics in the Newsletter based on your ideas and requests. However, we need help to do this. We are looking for volunteers to work with us to create content for the Newsletter. You can contribute on a regular basis, or just once, as your time permits.

Here are some examples of topics you could contribute, and new ideas are always welcome! Please let us know (rtc@smh.ca) if you are interested in working with us.

  • Weekly update on coronavirus research;
  • Information on how trainees can help;
  • Useful training links (online courses, webinars, workshops);
  • Update on COVID-19 learning opportunities (e.g. John’s Hopkins short course, webinars)
  • Any topic discussing ways to stay connected with and support each other;
  • Science topic with selected interesting recent articles: summary of the findings and highlight of why this is interesting;
  • Cool pictures: fancy microscopy staining from an experiment;
  • Interviews with Postdoctoral fellows about how to be successful in the lab/in the career;
  • A question/answer section where more experienced PIs can answer some common trouble-shooting techniques, training experience and/or provide recommendations.

SARS-Cov-2 (Sever Acute Respiratory Syndrome-Coronavirus 2), is a positive-sense single stranded RNA virus that causes COVID-19. It belongs to the β-coronaviridae family. It is a close relative of SARS-CoV-1 (which caused the 2002/3 SARS epidemic that hit Toronto hard) and Middle East respiratory syndrome virus MERS-CoV (PMID: 27344959).

The four structural proteins of coronaviruses include the spike (S), envelope (E), membrane (M), and nucleocapsid (N) proteins. The S glycoprotein plays a crucial role in viral entry into cells, and therefore it is a key target for vaccines, therapeutic antibodies and diagnostic tests under development.

Structure of the S protein of SARS-CoV-2 was recently obtained using cryo-electron microscopy (PMID: 32075877). Entry of coronaviruses into cells requires the binding of the S proteins to cellular receptors. Entry is also facilitated by processing of the S protein by host proteases (a process termed priming). Similar to the first SARS virus, SARS-CoV-2 binds to the host Angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) protein. ACE2 is part of the Renin-Angiotensin System (RAS) key for blood pressure regulation. It cleaves angiotensin-II, thus reducing its levels; and generates the peptide Ang(1-7). This activity balances the effect of angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) (PMID 24293035). ACE2 is a transmembrane protein highly expressed on the surface of lung cells, but can also be found in the heart, arteries, intestine and kidneys (PMID 15141377). It is cleaved by the enzyme ADAM17, resulting in the release of a soluble fragment, that can be found in serum and urine (PMID 15983030 and 24332999). Recent studies have verified that the S protein of SARS-CoV-2 indeed binds ACE2, and this is critical for the entry of the virus into the cells (PMID 32142651 and 32075877). Further, Transmembrane Serine Protease 2 (TMPRSS2) was found to be essential for S protein priming (32142651), and a clinically approved inhibitor of this enzyme blocked viral entry.

Recently, an international team of researchers led by scientists from Austria and the University of British Columbia and in collaboration with St. Michael’s Hospital found promising effects of human recombinant soluble ACE2 (hrsACE2). They showed that hrsACE2 blocked entry of SARS-CoV-2 into cultured organoids derived from human blood vessels and kidneys, and significantly reduced virus production by cultured cells.  Read more.

The RTC has collected tips to help you with your thesis. Please see this link for the first part: how to get started.

 

Stay tuned for part 2 with tips on the specific sections. We also hosted a thesis writing seminar on April 23rd.

Shaista Answer, a recent IMS graduate created a short practical list of thesis writing tips. Please also refer to the tips on How to get started with your thesis on here.

American Society for Molecular Biology poster session

April 30, 2020

During these challenging times, we might not be able to come together in person, but we can stay connected. This year, we’ll be re-creating our annual meeting experience online. Please join us by presenting your research, learning from experts in the field and connecting with your colleagues. All presenters will receive a certificate of participation.

Send us a video of you presenting your research. Later this spring, we’ll hold a poster chat on Twitter where you can talk about your work with fellow researchers. Learn more. 

2nd annual Ontario Cell Biology Symposium 
June 1-5, 2020
This conference will be free and held entirely online and feature short talks from trainees and ECRs from around Ontario (and a few from outside the province) from 11:30am-1:20pm each day that week (4-5 short talks per day, 5 days total).
The abstract deadline is April 30th (abstract submission is mandatory to be considered to give a talk at this meeting, but not mandatory to attend). We expect to be able to feature 20-25 talks, with priority given to graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and early career researchers. Abstracts can be submitted herewww.ontariocellbiology.com.

Boosting your energy and finding motivation is especially hard during these unusual times. There are many mood changing factors that can drain energy levels. In addition to social distancing and self-isolation, we lost our normal routine, and our usual fun activities ceased. We also deal with worries about our own health and the health of those we love, and the uncertainty of our future further augment anxiety. This is a situation we have no prior experience with, and our regular coping mechanisms are also curtailed. Therefore, staying productive will be a challenge

Check out this link for more details!

In case you missed it: updates from SGS and guiding documents for dealing with the current situation

1) SGS has prepared and shared a document on Research Continuity for Master’s and Doctoral Students in response to the COVID-19 disruption (attached).

 

In this document, SGS outlines potential mitigation strategies to address research disruptions and impeded academic progress by graduate students.

 

2) SGS documents including “Strategies for Graduate Mentoring and Supervision at a Distance” and Working from Home guide:

https://www.sgs.utoronto.ca/resources-supports/supervision-guidelines/

 

3) Summary of the message from the dean for students in research-stream programs (read full message here: https://www.sgs.utoronto.ca/covid19/#section_0)

 

SGS asks that a student and their supervisor/supervisory committee take a staged approach to addressing any potential research interruption.

  • First, assess and document the interruption (an online COVID-19 mentoring record from SGS can be found here: https://www.sgs.utoronto.ca/resources-supports/supervision-guidelines/). Take steps to transition to other academic activities where progress can be made.
  • Consider pivoting the research by revising the research questions, the methods of data collection, or analyses etc.
  • Finally, should it become necessary, request registration with a tuition fee exemption. A student who was making good progress with their dissertation, but whose data collection or access to necessary sources/materials has been significantly impeded, who has completed all feasible alternative academic activities, and who ends up requiring additional time beyond the program length will have tuition fees waived (non-tuition ancillary and incidental fees will still be charged). Students may also be able to pair this support with new or existing funding available through their department or Faculty. This might include, for example, a Doctoral Completion Award, RAships/TAships/GRAships, PI stipendiary support, emergency grants, and/or new COVID-19 research completion funding that some Faculties are putting in place.

FAQ

Yes!

REB

The Research Ethics Office at 250 Yonge is currently closed and all staff are working remotely; no hard copy submissions are being accepted at this time. All submissions should be sent electronically.

Trainees must work with their PIs on REB submissions and renewals.

Here is the general website for research ethics forms, policies and contacts: http://stmichaelshospitalresearch.ca/staff-services/research-ethics/research-ethics-board/

For COVID-19 updates from the REB visit: http://stmichaelshospitalresearch.ca/staff-services/research-ethics/research-ethics-board/reb-covid-19-information/

Health Sciences Library

Unity Health Toronto (St. Joseph’s, St. Michael’s, Providence) Library spaces and service points will be closed until further notice. Library services such as literature searches, research/information inquiries, and interlibrary loan requests (articles only) will continue to be available remotely for all Unity Health Toronto Staff from Monday to Friday, 8AM to 6PM. All online Library resources are still available 24/7. Due dates for borrowed materials will be suspended indefinitely. For more information please email us at: hslibrary@smh.ca.

Here is the link to the main page: https://guides.hsict.library.utoronto.ca/smhlibrary

Access journals and articles offsite: you will need to authenticate yourself as a St. Michael’s Hospital staff, physician, or student to access full-text articles. For assistance and more information on authentication, visit our Off-Site Access page.

Research Facilities

Although the KRC research space is currently closed, you can still access research facilities resources here: http://stmichaelshospitalresearch.ca/staff-services/research-facilities/

Dr. Caterina Di Ciano-Oliveira has volunteered to host bioimaging session online during this time. To see a list of upcoming session, visit http://www.rfbms.com/Home/UpcomingEvents.aspx.

The research facilities team is available through email: http://stmichaelshospitalresearch.ca/staff-services/research-facilities/contact-us/

Research facilities will have regular office hours – zoom details will be sent through the RTC newsletter:

Virtual Office Hours – Bioimaging – Caterina Di Ciano-Oliveira

Weekly starting Mon. Apr 13, 2020 01:00 PM

 

Virtual Office Hours – Histology – Xiaofeng Lu

Starting Tues. Apr 14, 2020 01:00 PM

 

Genomics/Molecular Biology VIRTUAL office hours – Pamela Plant

Starting Wed. Apr 8, 2020 10:00 AM

 

Virtual Office Hours – Microfabrication – Dario Bogojevic

Starting Thurs Apr 16, 2020 11:00 AM

IT

The IT department is still available via phone or email – if you have any questions please call extension 5751 or email helpdesk@smh.ca.

Guides from IT are available on the intranet.

At this time trainees who do not have permission from leadership are not allowed to enter the Li Ka Shing building. Permissions to work on site on projects that are not deemed essential are not likely to be granted. However, if you have very specific needs (e.g. you need to pick something up from the building, or copy files) talk to your supervisor. Only PIs can request special permission from Research Leadership for access.

First, you should remember that this situation affects everyone, and will result in delay in everyone’s productivity. So, you will not be falling behind. Granting agencies and hiring committees will be well aware of this. Further, all applications allow you to detail interruptions that you faced during your career, so you can provide an explanation about your situation.

Having said this, there are things you can do to boost your CV during this interruption. Here are a few tips.

  • There are many aspects of your work that you can do remotely. You can analyze and summarize your data and get started on writing a manuscript. If the study is not finished yet, you can work on more general sections (e.g. methods, introduction) and start generating figures using already existing data. Since these take a lot of work and time, it is very useful to get a head start at any stage. It will reduce the time you will need to write your manuscript once you will be able to finish the study.
  • If you are a graduate student, you should get started on your thesis (stay tuned for our thesis writing tips and workshop). This can be done at almost any stage, although you will need different strategies depending on how far you are in your project. But even if you have just started your studies, you can do literature reviews and start some parts of your introduction. Talk to your supervisor about strategies. Working on your thesis is the best way to stay productive and to ensure that there will be minimal delay in your graduation.
  • If you had a presentation accepted at an upcoming conference that was cancelled, you can still list your presentation in your CV and indicate that the meeting was cancelled. However, you should check in with the conference to see if they offer online activities. For example, if you had a poster accepted for Experimental Biology, the American Society for Molecular Biology is holding virtual poster sessions. Check out this link:

https://www.asbmb.org/meetings-events/2020-annual-meeting/virtual-poster-presentations

  • You can also use this time to write a review, or a protocol paper. These are not only great additions to your CV but are also helpful for organizing your thoughts and generating new ideas for your project. Discuss potential paper ideas with your supervisor.
  • You can also sign up to do an RTC seminar (and don’t forget to add it to your list of presentations in your CV). The RTC seminars will take place online during this time. If you interested in presenting, please contact us at rtc@smh.ca! Presentations are a great addition to your CV during this time.
  • Become a contributor to Staying Connected, and list this in your CV as demonstration of writing expertise.
  • Finally, you can also use this time to learn new skills or complete online courses.

While we are all eagerly awaiting the day when we will be able to get back to our regular work, the timeline right now is impossible to assess. The good news is that our combined efforts in physical distancing and putting social activities on hold seem to be working, as the number of hospitalizations appear to be lower than initial models suggested. However, it is not yet time to ease the strong mitigation strategies. Further, the clinical needs of the Hospital must be a priority when deciding on the opening of our buildings. This means that we have to prepare for more time working remotely. It is also likely that we will get back to our activities gradually: gatherings and travel will likely not be allowed for some time even if we will be able to get back to work.

By now all trainees should have a medium-term plan in place for working from home. This should be discussed with your supervisor. It will likely include lots of writing (manuscripts, thesis, review).

First, you need to discuss this with your supervisor. You need to consider not only opportunities, but how this work will affect your own thesis project and graduation timeline (some graduate students may be at the stage when they should focus on their thesis instead). Once there is an agreement with your supervisor about your potential role, you need to ask for permission from your departmental chair at your University. This is a compulsory step. If you need access to the research building, you also have to get permission from leadership (this is something your supervisor should ask for).

Ontario is asking for community volunteers. You can sign up here: https://www.sparkontario.ca/

The site also lists current volunteering opportunities.

 

PDFs can also volunteer to be redeployed to support Long-term Care homes for 2-4 weeks. For more info (including conditions such as the need for self-isolation after ending the deployment) check your SMH email. Discuss with your supervisor before applying for this.  Graduate students are not eligible for redeployment.

Both U of T and our Research Institute makes it a priority to have student stipends paid. The Institute’s statement on student stipend is the following: “For graduate students who are currently receiving a stipend from the hospital, supervisors are expected to continue to pay these stipends”.

If you have not done so, we encourage you to have a discussion with your supervisors and clarify the question of your stipend, timelines, and expectations. You should clarify the following: how can you continue to work, what should you be doing during this time, how can you minimize delays in the project and in your progress.

Trainee stipend is paid from various sources, and the source of your stipend might determine your impact.

U of T sources: The SGS website indicates that “Funded graduate students, including those on stipends, will continue to receive their funding packages as stated in their funding letters. TA contracts may need to be adjusted to reflect the fact that undergraduate courses are no longer in-person, but the overall number of hours allocated in the contracts will not be reduced.”

Funding from operating grant: some agencies and foundations are temporary reducing or holding payment of active grants, however these are expected to be only temporary measures. Unfortunately, almost all upcoming competitions from mayor agencies are affected. Some student funding competition have also changed deadlines. This generates lots of uncertainty. However, the general guiding principles for all agencies is that they are trying to make sure that there is no disruption in trainee stipends.

RTC scholarship: evaluation of the RTC scholarships had to be put temporarily on hold, and we have some uncertainty about our budget. We hope to have results of the competition within the next couple of weeks.

COVID research grants: Some groups have applied for special funds for COVID-related research that may provide funding. Grad students must remember that should they, together with their supervisors decide that they will participate in these new projects, they must seek permission from their department.

If you have not yet done so, we encourage you to have a discussion with your supervisors, Some PDFs may be able to continue working remotely, which would ensure that the delay in the research project is minimal. Since PDFs are employees, the Institute’s rules for all research employees apply, as follows: “Where an employee’s work is unable to continue or has been impacted by the research pause we will work through each situation on a case by case basis with the scientist and their staff on possible redeployment opportunities within research and the hospital sites as a first option. Other options depend on the staff member’s status (permanent, contract or casual) and in all cases we would work to identify access to special Federal Government income supplement programs.” Please also see above some general info on various research sources.

Grants are available to current students at U of T who have incurred unexpected expenses directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as additional living costs, child-care, and other extraordinary and reasonable needs.

SGS Emergency Grant: https://www.sgs.utoronto.ca/awards/sgs-emergency-grant/
SGS Emergency Loan: https://www.sgs.utoronto.ca/awards/sgs-emergency-loan/

Here are a couple of excellent online resources. We are in the process of organizing online sessions to address some of the common concerns and to help boost wellbeing. Details will follow soon.

Here are some resources for trainees:

The University of Toronto SGS has put together some additional resources to support trainees during this time.

 

You will need to scan a copy of each item below to perry.hall@utoronto.ca:

  • A letter from your University of Toronto faculty supervisor stating that you are a postdoctoral fellow on your hospital’s letterhead requesting library access and including your
    • Full name
    • Date of birth
    • End date of fellowship

Official government photo identification

The Federal government has suspended all interest accrual and payments on the Federal portion of your student loan until Sept. 30, 2020. If you normally make your payments by pre-authorized debit or by cheque, you don’t need to do anything to take advantage of the break; however, if you make automatic loan payments through your bank, you must contact your bank to stop the payments until after Sept. 30.

If the provincial part of your loan was issued in Ontario, Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Saskatchewan or British Columbia, you can sit tight as the deferral will also cover your provincial loans. However, if the provincial portion of your loan was issued in any of the remaining provinces or territories,  (that’s Quebec, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Alberta, Manitoba, Yukon, NWT and Nunavut), you’ll have to check with those loan providers directly. Note, this deferral only applies to students who have just graduated or are already paying their loans. So, if you’ve just graduated you don’t have to start paying until September and if you’re not graduating this year you won’t have to worry about making payments till after you do.

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