Frequently Asked Questions about Windmill Microlending

Want to learn how a Windmill micro loan can help you pay for the costs of accreditation, training, certification, or career development courses in Canada? Are you wondering about the documents required for a loan application or the additional services we offer, such as one-to-one coaching, mentorship, and financial planning tools? Find answers to these and more below or contact us directly for further information.

FAQs about our loans

Whether you’re a prospective client, a partner, or a supporter, find out more about our loan program here.

What can a Windmill loan be used for?

The Windmill loans may be used to fund your Career Success Plan, which could include:

  • Education and training programs of two years or less, including courses to help you advance your career
  • Fees for licensing and qualifying exams
  • Living allowance to support you during your training, licensing, or relocation
  • Credentials assessments (e.g. WES, ICAS, IQAS, or MIFI)
  • English or French language training
  • Relocation costs for employment
  • Travel expenses to take courses or exams not available in your area
  • Books, course materials, and work equipment
  • Professional association fees

*Note that we cannot provide loans for business start-up costs.

What is microlending?

Microlending is a form of financing that issues smaller loans to individuals who may not otherwise qualify for credit products offered by larger financial institutions. Windmill provides microloans to individuals who require licensing, training or relocation to achieve their career goals in Canada.  

We lend to clients who may not have much credit history in Canada or otherwise be deemed high risk by banks and therefore be faced with prohibitive interest rates. We offer newcomer-friendly repayment terms as well as other add-on services like coaching and a mentorship program to help clients succeed in their goals. Gain a better understanding of how an affordable career loan can help you. Explore Windmill’s Skilled Immigrant Career Success Guide.

Who is eligible for a Windmill loan?

To be eligible for a Windmill loan, you must be an immigrant and an internationally-trained individual living in Canada on a permanent status. Internationally-trained individuals must have completed post-secondary education outside of Canada and/or have a minimum of one year of post-secondary work experience before coming to Canada.

Whether you intend to work in the same field you trained in outside of Canada, or you wish to apply your transferable skills to a new career, you must demonstrate that you have a Career Success Plan that requires funding.  You must not have an undischarged bankruptcy or a consumer proposal that has been active for less than 6 months. Review the eligibility criteria here.

What immigration statuses are considered permanent?

To be eligible for a Windmill loan, you must be a Permanent Resident, Convention Refugee, Protected Person or Canadian Citizen.

Unfortunately, you are not eligible for a loan with us if you are an international student, live-in caregiver or refugee claimant.

Am I eligible for a loan if I am already working in my field?

Yes, you would qualify if you find yourself in an underemployed position (where your education and experience are not fully utilized), if you’re aiming for professional development to gain a competitive edge in the job market or secure a promotion, or if you’re considering a career switch to a field where your transferable skills are applicable.

How can a Windmill loan help me balance my studies with my work and family responsibilities?

Loans may be used to help pay for short-term living expenses (i.e., if you need to quit your job or reduce your hours at work while you are attending school or studying for exams). Applications for living allowance are considered on a case-by-case basis. In order to support the application, we will need a breakdown of the living expenses.

How much money can I borrow as loan?

You may borrow up to $15,000 to fund your Career Plan. However, we encourage you to borrow only what you need to ensure you can repay the loan with ease. Repaying the loan on time will help you build you credit history, and good credit is critical to your future success in Canada.

What is the interest rate?

From October 1, 2023, all new Windmill loans in Canada are set at a fixed interest rate of 6.7% for the entire loan duration.

* For Quebec residents who need funds for credential recognition only. Different loan terms apply.

Why does Windmill charge interest?

The interest we charge helps replenish the loan fund and covers the interest and bank charges paid by our organization. We have been able to keep payments of principal and interest within the loan fund, helping to ensure the sustainability of the loan fund. As a registered not-for-profit, Windmill does not make any money from the loans. Future clients will benefit from the interest paid by today’s clients.

Who funds the loans offered by Windmill Microlending?

Windmill is a national not-for-profit organization. Our loans are generously funded by private donors (60%) and the Canadian Government (40%). We thank them for their generosity in helping us change the lives of newcomers.

FAQs for new applicants

We strive to make our application process simple and clear. From the time that we receive your complete application, it takes 10-15 business days for you to receive the funds in your account if you are approved. These FAQs should help make your experience as smooth as possible.

What documents do I need to have ready for the application?

  • Immigration documents to confirm your immigration status
  • Prior Training/Education documents to verify your education history
  • Evidence of the educational program you plan to take e.g. admission/ registration/ enrollment letter
  • Banking information for the funds to be deposited
  • Government-Issued Photo ID to confirm your identity
  • Proof of Address
  • Photograph of yourself holding your government-issued photo ID to further verify your identity
  • Resume (recommended)

Click here to see examples and details of some of the documents you need.

*Learning Institutions outside of Canada are not eligible unless a Canadian professional body recognizes the program for licensing purposes.

Can I include costs that I’ve already paid for in my application?

We can approve funds to cover costs incurred within the past 6 months, so please be prepared to provide receipts if you are requesting funds for expenses already incurred.

How do I calculate my monthly income and expenses for the budget section of the application?

On the application, you will only be asked for your total monthly household expenses (including rent/mortgage payments), your monthly rent/mortgage expense, your total monthly household income, and your monthly employment income. If you’re unfamiliar with budgeting, please use our monthly budget template to help you.

When considering your expenses, please include your rent/mortgage, utilities, phone, food, household and personal care supplies, childcare, prescriptions, clothing, transportation, money sent back home to family or for debt repayment, home and life insurance, credit card payments if you have a balance owing, loan payments, investments, and any other miscellaneous costs.

When calculating your household income, please include all of the following that apply to you: your gross income (before deductions) from your full-time and/or part-time work as well as your spouse’s or any other member of your household, student finance loans or grants, business income, income support or social assistance from the government, any Child Tax Benefits, Employment Insurance or CERB, Worker’s Compensation Benefits, and any other sources of income in your household.

Learn more about budgeting and the cost of living in Canada. Read our Skilled Immigrant Career Success Guide.

Why do I need to provide my void cheque or Direct Deposit Form at the time of application?

We ask you to provide your void cheque or Direct Deposit Form as part of the application just to speed things up if your microloan is approved. We need your bank account details in order to send you your loan agreement to sign, so asking for it right away helps to remove one potential delay. Please note that this does not guarantee that your loan will be approved.

What are all the steps in the application process?

  • The application process starts with reviewing the eligibility criteria found here. If you do not meet the eligibility criteria, 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 submit your application here. If you have all of your supporting documents ready, it should only take you 30-45 minutes to complete the application. For a detailed list of the supporting documents that you’ll need, see here.
  • Upon receipt of your completed application, we will review it and reach out by phone or email if we have any questions or require any more information.  
  • After reviewing your application, a credit check will be completed within one business day.
  • Additional documents will be requested, and you will be required to complete our online Client Success Assessment, which we use to help determine the resources that will help you find work more quickly. If you have not heard from us a few days after submitting your application, please check your junk mail folder to see if the next steps email went there.
  • As part of the Windmill process, we may invite you to book your virtual coaching session. We recommend that you book your coaching session as soon as you receive the booking email, as spots can fill up fast.
  • The coaching session will enable us to support you on aspects such as financial literacy, guidance for regulated professions, resume and cover letter writing, specialized study groups, general employment support, self-paced courses, LinkedIn and networking assistance, and more. Your coaching session will last between 30 - 45 minutes.
  • Your Success Coach will then send your application to our Loan Review Committee for consideration. You will receive a decision on your loan within seven business days from the date of your coaching session.
  • If your loan is approved, you will receive an email from the Loan Management Team, who will ask you to sign your Loan Documents online using AdobeSign and then arrange the disbursement of funds. You should see the funds in your bank account a few business days afterwards.

Why do I have to complete the Client Success Assessment?

Windmill created its Client Success Assessment tool to help identify what kinds of assistance will help you find work as quickly as possible. It’s quick, easy and interesting to take. It will also help us better understand your skills, your re-training needs, and your job hunting tools and strategies.

The results of your assessment have no effect on your eligibility for a loan from Windmill, so please answer as honestly as possible. This tool has been a valuable source of information for many newcomers as it provides a snapshot of your current strengths and challenges. It also helps Windmill staff understand how to best support your educational and employment goals.

The results of your assessment are confidential, and the report is not shared with anyone outside of Windmill.

You need to complete this assessment before you meet with a Windmill Client Success Coach to discuss your application. Your Success Coach will discuss the report with you and help you create an action plan tailored to your needs.

What is a Coaching Session?

A Coaching Session is a one-on-one chat for 30-45 minutes between the coach and the client to support, guide and refer them to external services that can enable them to succeed in their Career Plan, and secure their desired end goal. The session could either be mandated by Windmill, or optional after the loan is approved. The Client Success Coach uses the session to understand some of the roadblocks that our clients are facing and work with them individually to tailor an Action Plan that would help them during their study plan process. This service is free of charge and offered as an add-on support to our clients.

Does applying for a Windmill loan affect my credit?

Windmill is registered with Equifax, a credit bureau, and as part of your application for a loan, we do pull your credit report in order to assess your financial suitability for a Windmill loan. By pulling your credit report, Windmill will show up on our credit history as a hard inquiry. A single ‘hit’ or hard inquiry has a minimal impact on your overall credit score.

Once your loan is approved, paying it back will help to build your credit in Canada.

How much will my payments be?

Every client’s situation is different, so our loans are not one-size-fits-all. You can calculate your payments with our Loan Calculator or read our loan terms and conditions to learn more about the factors that affect your loan repayment plan. If you’d like to discuss your particular situation and potential repayment schedule in order to decide if a Windmill loan is right for you, please contact our Client Support Team at

Is there an appeal process at Windmill for declined loans?

If your application goes through the full review process and gets declined after the coaching session by our Loan Review Team, you will get a decision letter with a link for an appeal. Please feel free to submit an appeal up to 30 days from the decision, if you have sufficient reasons to present to us for your loan to be approved.

FAQs for current clients

We are proud to be supporting you on your journey to career success.

How can I see and monitor my loan payment schedule?

If you would like to see the balance of your account or the history of your loan payments, log into the Client Portal using the email address and password you used when applying for your loan. You can also reset your password if you have forgotten it. If you have any further questions about your account, you can get in touch with our Loan Management Team at

What happens if I miss a payment?

If you miss a payment on your loan, you will be notified by our Loan Management team and be given the opportunity to make of an opportunity to make your payment before it gets reported to Equifax.

To make a deposit towards your Windmill loan we recommend that you add our company as a bill payee through your own banking institution. You can then transfer funds directly to your account as a payment. Please ensure you are making a deposit for the exact amount that had been missed.

To add Windmill as a payee through your bank, you must use your loan number as your account number. If you do not know your loan number, you may find it by logging in to the Client Portal. It will take 3-5 business days to apply the deposit to your account.

If you would like to make a payment in person through your branch, please contact the Loan Management Team at for instructions on how to do so.

How does a Windmill loan affect my credit?

Windmill loans are registered with Equifax, a credit bureau. If your payments are made consistently and on time, a Windmill loan can help to build your credit in Canada, potentially giving you access to better interest rates on credit products in the future. All missed payments are reported to Equifax, and may reduce your overall credit score. You may find it difficult to secure credit in the future (ie car loans, mortgages) if your credit score is low.

My Career Success Plan has changed or been delayed. How can I make changes to my repayment plan?

If your Career Success Plan has changed, please get in touch with your Client Success Coach and they will work with you to determine whether a restructure of your repayment schedule is warranted. If you’re not sure who your Coach is, please contact and our Loan Management Team will be happy to connect you to your Coach.

I am facing financial problems and cannot keep up with my payments. How can I make changes to my repayment plan?

We understand that you may face setbacks along your pathway to career success. If you are unable to make payments, please get in touch with the Loan Management Team at and they will work with you to determine whether a restructure of your repayment schedule is warranted.

How do I request my next disbursement?

The Loan Management Team will be happy to help you with your next disbursement. You just need to email them at to request it. Even if your next disbursement was scheduled for a certain month, it does not go to your account automatically, and you still need to request it from them.

How can I make lump sum payments towards my loan or pay off the balance?

You can make a lump sum payment by setting up Windmill Microlending as a payee through your bank online, using your 8 or 9-digit Windmill loan/account number without the dash, for example 202312345. Once the payee is set up, you will be able to make a payment to your loan. Windmill Microlending loans are open loans, and can be paid off early at any time without penalty. To verify your loan/account number, you can review your loan documents, or check your Client Portal. If you have any issues, or want to confirm your payoff amount, please contact the Loan Management Team at

Can I pay my loan through a credit card?

No, you cannot pay your loan directly through a credit card. Loans are set-up for regular payments to be withdrawn automatically from your bank account on the 15th of every month. If you need to make up for a missed payment, or want to make a lump sum payment towards your loan, please contact the Loan Management Team at for instructions on how to do so.

Is my loan tax deductible?

Windmill loans are personal loans, rather than student loans (or government loans). Therefore, the interest payments on this loan are not tax deductible and we do not issue T4s for this loan.

If I need more help regarding my loan, where do I go?

If you have more specific questions, please try using our client support site. You can also contact our Loan Management Team at and they will be happy to assist or direct you further.