Canada Disability Savings Program - Annual Statistical Review 2015

Official title: Canada Disability Savings Program - Annual Statistical Review 2015 - January 18, 2017

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Definition of terms and acronyms

AHA
The Assistance Holdback Amount (AHA) is the amount of grant and bond that has accumulated in a Registered Disability Savings Plan for 10 years immediately preceding an event such as a withdrawal, plan termination, a beneficiary ceasing to meet program eligibility or death of a beneficiary. It is the maximum amount of grant and bond that must be repaid to the government when one of these events occurs.
Beneficiary
The beneficiary of a Registered Disability Savings Plan is the individual who will receive money from the plan in the future.
Bond
The Canada Disability Savings Bond is money that the Government of Canada deposits into the Registered Disability Savings Plans of low- to modest-income Canadians with disabilities.
Carry-forward
The amount of grants and bonds to which a beneficiary would have been entitled had he or she opened the plan sooner. A beneficiary may access up to 10 years of previous grant and bond entitlements.
CDSP
The Canada Disability Savings Program (CDSP) is comprised of the Registered Disability Savings Plan, the Canada Disability Savings Grant and the Canada Disability Savings Bond.
CESP
The Canada Education Savings Program (CESP) provides the delivery mechanism and necessary systems supports for the effective administration of the grant and the bond.
Contribution
Money contributed to a Registered Disability Savings Plan by the beneficiary or someone on his/her behalf.
CRA
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is responsible for administering the Registered Disability Savings Plan through the Income Tax Act. It also administers the Disability Tax Credit, which is a prerequisite to eligibility for a Registered Disability Savings Plan.
DAP
A Disability Assistance Payment (DAP) is a one-time withdrawal made from the Registered Disability Savings Plan.
DTC
The disability tax credit (DTC) is a non-refundable tax credit that helps people with disabilities or the family members that support them to reduce the amount of income tax they may have to pay. To open a Registered Disability Savings Plan, a beneficiary must be eligible to receive the DTC.
Earnings
Interest or other income earned on the funds that are held in a Registered Disability Savings Plan.
ESDC
Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) is the federal department responsible for the administration of the Canada Disability Savings Act and the Canada Disability Savings Regulations.
Grant
The Canada Disability Savings Grant is the amount of money that the Government of Canada will deposit into a beneficiary’s Registered Disability Savings Plan to match private contributions.
Holder
The person or organization that opens and manages the Registered Disability Savings Plan, and makes or authorizes contributions to it.
Issuer
A trust company or financial institution authorized by the Canada Revenue Agency to offer Registered Disability Savings Plans.
LDAP
A Lifetime Disability Assistance Payment (LDAP) is a withdrawal from a Registered Disability Savings Plan that once started, must occur at least annually until funds are exhausted in the plan, the plan is closed, or the beneficiary dies.
Net family income
If a beneficiary is under 18, net family income is the after-tax income of his or parents or guardians. Once a beneficiary turns 18, net family income is his or her own income, plus the income of a spouse, if he or she is married.
RDSP
The Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) is a long-term savings plan that helps Canadians with disabilities and their families save for the future.
Rollover
Funds that under certain conditions may be transferred on a tax-free basis from a Registered Retirement Savings Plan or Registered Education Savings Plan, into a Registered Disability Savings Plan.
SDSP
A Registered Disability Savings Plan may be designated a Specified Disability Savings Plan (SDSP) in cases where a beneficiary has a shortened life expectancy, if a medical doctor certifies in writing that he or she is not expected to live beyond five years. In these cases, withdrawals may be made from the plan without requiring grants and bonds to be repaid to the government.

About the data

Data sources
The primary source of data used to produce this report is the CDSP Administrative Database, which compiles grant and bond data supplied by RDSP issuers.
Rounding
Due to rounding, numbers presented throughout this document may not add up precisely to the totals, and percentages may not add up precisely to 100%.
Suppression
Due to the small number of observations per territory, Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut have been grouped as the North.
RDSP beneficiaries residing outside of Canada are not included in charts and tables by province/territory due to the small number of observations.
“Not Available (n/a)” is indicated in cases when data is not available, or where there are too few observations to report.

Introduction

The Canada Disability Savings Program (CDSP), which is comprised of the Registered Disability Savings Plan, the Canada Disability Savings Grant and Canada Disability Savings Bond, enables people with disabilities to achieve long-term financial security by helping them and their families to save for the future.

Registered Disability Savings Plans

Registered Disability Savings Plans (RDSPs) were introduced in 2008 to help people with disabilities increase their long-term savings. Under an RDSP, a beneficiary of the plan may be eligible for the Canada Disability Savings Grant (the grant) and/or the Canada Disability Savings Bond (the bond). RDSPs are registered by the Government of Canada, and savings in these plans grow tax-free until the beneficiary makes withdrawals.

An RDSP is an arrangement between the RDSP issuer (financial institutions that offer the RDSP) and holder of the plan. The holder is the person who manages the plan, and makes or authorizes contributions to an RDSP. Personal contributions to the plan are not taxable, but the grants and bonds paid into it by the Government, and the earnings generated by the RDSP, are taxable when funds are withdrawn. The lifetime RDSP contribution limit is $200,000.

Upon request by the beneficiary of the plan, the RDSP issuer will make Disability Assistance Payments (DAPs) to the beneficiary. (DAPs are also referred to as withdrawals.) To encourage long-term savings, funds in an RDSP must remain in the plan for at least 10 years before they may be withdrawn. If a withdrawal is made, all or a portion of the grant and bond that accumulated in the plan in the 10 years preceding the withdrawal must be repaid to the Government. This is called the Assistance Holdback Amount (AHA). Withdrawals can be made at any age, but beneficiaries must start receiving regular Lifetime Disability Assistance Payments (LDAPs) by December 31 of the year in which they reach 60 years of age.

Eligibility requirements include Canadian residency (with a valid Social Insurance Number) and eligibility to claim the Disability Tax Credit. Upon meeting those conditions, a beneficiary (or someone acting on his/her behalf) can open an RDSP up until December 31 of the year in which the beneficiary reaches 59 years of age; grants and bonds can be paid up until December 31 of the year in which the beneficiary reaches 49 years of age.

Money paid to a beneficiary out of their RDSP will not affect eligibility for federal benefits, such as the Canada Child Tax Benefit, the Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax Credit, Old Age Security, and Employment Insurance.

The Canada Disability Savings Grant

The grant is the amount of money that the Government of Canada will deposit into a beneficiary's RDSP as a top-up to a private contribution by the holder, the beneficiary, or someone else contributing on behalf of the beneficiary. The amount of the grant is based on the amount contributed into the plan and the beneficiary's family income as defined by the Income Tax Act. The Government of Canada will contribute up to three times the amount of the private contribution. A grant may be paid into an RDSP up to December 31 of the year in which the beneficiary reaches 49 years of age. The maximum grant payable in a given year is $3,500. The maximum lifetime grant amount that may be paid on behalf of a beneficiary is $70,000.

The Canada Disability Savings Bond

The bond is money the Government of Canada deposits into the RDSP of qualified low- to moderate-income Canadians with disabilities. No private contributions are required to receive the bond. A bond may be paid into an RDSP until December 31 of the year in which the beneficiary reaches 49 years of age. The maximum bond payable in a given year is $1,000. The maximum lifetime bond amount that may be paid on behalf of a beneficiary is $20,000.

Carry-forward

The carry-forward provision allows beneficiaries to access unused grant entitlements from the previous 10 years, starting from 2008 (the year RDSPs became available). The maximum grant and bond amounts that may be paid in any given year, including the current year’s entitlement and any carry-forward amount, are $10,500 and $11,000 respectively.

Roles and responsibilities

Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC)

The Minister of Employment and Social Development is responsible for the Canada Disability Savings Act and the Canada Disability Savings Regulations, which govern the administration of the grant and bond.

Within ESDC, the Office for Disability Issues provides policy leadership on the program, interprets the Canada Disability Savings Act and the Regulations, and develops proposals for amendments. It undertakes outreach activities to promote and raise awareness of the program. It is also responsible for forecasting and reporting on program take-up and expenditures.

Also within ESDC, the Canada Education Savings Program provides the delivery mechanism and systems supports for the administration of the grant and the bond. It is also responsible for the management of the CDSP Administrative System, which was designed to confirm eligibility, register a contract, pay the grant and bond, track all financial and non-financial activities, process transactions, produce reports, and exchange electronic data with RDSP issuers.

Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)

The CRA is responsible for administering the Income Tax Act, which provides the legislative framework for RDSPs. The CRA is responsible for administering the RDSP, including reviewing and approving specimen plans, authorizing issuers to offer RDSPs and registering plans. The CRA is also responsible for administering the DTC, which is an eligibility requirement to open an RDSP.

Program highlights

Canadians are saving using RDSPs

Each year, more Canadians are using RDSPs to save for themselves, or for someone with a disability. As of December 31, 2015, beneficiaries accumulated over $2.5 billion in their RDSPs (Table 1). This is an increase of more than $567 million, or 29.1%, over the previous year. There was a $566 million increase between 2013 and 2014.

Through RDSPs, Canadians with disabilities have amassed over $2.5 billion to help achieve their long- term financial security.

Table 1: RDSP high-level summary
Description 2013 2014 2015 Change between 2014 and 2015
Total Percent
Number of beneficiaries with registered plans 80,136 99,091 123,020 23,929 24.1%
Total RDSP assets ($ million) $1,386 $1,952 $2,519 $567 29.1%
Average value per RDSP1 $17,642 $19,988 $21,444 $1,456 7.3%
Total contributions (annual) ($ million) $129.0 $164.5 $173.1 $8.6 5.2%
Average value of annual contributions2 (annual) $2,786 $2,920 $2,566 -$354 -12.1%

[1] The average value of RDSP plans is calculated using the number of plans reported with a Fair Market Value by the Issuers. Not all issuers report all plans. Therefore, some registered plans may have zero value.

[2] Only includes positive contributions, in other words no zeros. Average is calculated based on number of distinct beneficiaries receiving a Contribution.

Approximately 24,000 new RDSP accounts were registered in 2015, bringing the total number of registered plans to 123,020—the largest annual increase since the program was launched in 2008.

The average value of an RDSP account rose by $1,456 between 2014 and 2015, an increase of 7.3%. The increase between 2013 and 2014 was 13.3%.

During this period, Canadians with an RDSP, or someone on their behalf, saved $173 million of their own money in their RDSPs—an increase of 5.2% from 2014.

Canada Disability Savings Grant

The grant is the amount of money that the Government of Canada will deposit into a beneficiary’s RDSP depending on the amount contributed privately and the beneficiary’s net family income. The matching grant can be up to 300% of the contribution, and up to a maximum of $3,500 for a particular year (or $10,500 if it includes carry-forward entitlements).

In 2015, grants from the Government of Canada totalled $267 million, an increase of 14.7% compared to the previous year.

Table 2: Canada Disability Savings Grant summary
Description 2013 2014 2015 Change between 2014 and 2015
Total Percent
Total annual grant paid ($ million) $187.2 $233.0 $267.2 $34.2 14.7%
Average annual grant paid1 $4,272 $4,369 $4,215 -$154 -3.5%
Percentage of beneficiaries receiving a grant 54.7% 53.8% 51.5% -2.3% -4.2%

[1] Only includes positive Grants, in other words no zeros. Average is calculated based on number of distinct beneficiaries receiving a Grant.

In 2015, the government paid a total of $267 million in grants—an increase of more than $34 million, or 14.7% over the previous year (Table 2).

Canadian RDSP holders received an average grant of $4,215 in 2015, down slightly from the previous year. It is higher than the $3,500 maximum annual grant limit because RDSP holders are benefiting from the carry-forward provisions. The proportion of beneficiaries receiving a grant in 2015 decreased by 2.3% from the year before, and is now at 51.5%.

Canada Disability Savings Bond

The bond is money the Government of Canada deposits into the RDSP of qualified low- to moderate-income Canadians. The lifetime maximum bond amount payable into a beneficiary's RDSP is $20,000, and the maximum bond amount payable in a given year is $1,000 (or $11,000 if it includes carry-forward entitlements).

In 2015, qualified low- to moderate-income RDSP beneficiaries received $139.3 million in bonds. This represents an increase of 34.3% over the previous year, and is the largest annual increase since the first year of the program.

Table 3: Canada Disability Savings Bond summary
Description 2013 2014 2015 Change between 2014 and 2015
Total Percent
Total annual bond paid ($ million) $75.6 $103.7 $139.3 $35.6 34.3%
Average annual bond paid1 $1,617 $1,831 $1,986 $154 8.4%
Percentage of beneficiaries receiving a bond 58.3% 57.1% 57.0% -0.1% -0.2%

[1] Only includes positive Bonds, in other words no zeros. Average is calculated based on number of distinct beneficiaries receiving a Bond.

In 2015, qualified low- to moderate-income Canadians received $139 million in bonds, a 34.3% increase over the previous year (Table 3). The average annual amount of bond paid continued to grow, and now stands at $1,986, an 8.4% increase over 2014. It is important to note that when an RDSP is first opened and the beneficiary applies for the bond, they may be paid out bond entitlements for which they were eligible in previous years. Bonds were paid into 57% of RDSP accounts, virtually the same percentage as the previous year.

Disability Assistance Payments (DAPs) and Lifetime Disability Assistance Payments (LDAPs)

When a beneficiary wishes to withdraw from his or her RDSP, two types of payments can be made: a Disability Assistance Payment (DAP) or a Lifetime Disability Assistance Payment (LDAP).

A DAP is a one-time payment made from an RDSP to the beneficiary (or his/her estate if the beneficiary is deceased). An LDAP is a payment which, once started, is payable at least annually until the beneficiary dies, the plan’s funds are exhausted, or the plan is terminated. An LDAP must be initiated before December 31 of the year the beneficiary reaches 60 years of age.

In 2015, Disability Assistance Payments (DAPs) increased by $4.3 million to a total of $17.2 million (Table 4). Annual DAP withdrawals averaged $6,077, a decline of $995 (14.1%) from the previous year. Approximately 2.3% of RDSP holders received a DAP for 2015. Also in 2015, Lifetime Disability Assistance Payments (LDAPs) rose by half a million dollars to $1.3 million—an increase of 56.2% from the year before. The average value of LDAPs (received by 0.4% of RDSP holders) was $2,705, an increase of $391 or 16.9% from year to year.

Table 4: DAP and LDAP summary
Description 2013 2014 2015 Change between 2014 and 2015
Total Percent
Total annual DAP ($ million) $8.3 $12.9 $17.2 $4.3 33.7%
Average annual DAP1 $6,223 $7,073 $6,077 -$995 -14.1%
Percentage of RDSPs receiving a DAP 1.67% 1.84% 2.30% 0.46% 25.3%
Total annual LDAP ($ million) $0.4 $0.9 $1.3 $0.4 46.8%
Average annual LDAP1 $1,526 $2,314 $2,705 $391 16.9%
Percentage of RDSPs receiving a LDAP 0.32% 0.37% 0.40% 0.03% 7.6%

[1] Only includes positive DAPs/LDAPs, in other words no zeros. Average is calculated based on number of distinct beneficiaries receiving a DAP/LDAP.

Conclusion

The Canada Disability Savings Program (CDSP) saw significant growth in 2015, as it has in previous years. Every year, more Canadians establish RDSPs to save for themselves or ensure the financial security of someone they know. This growth is especially evident with bonds, which help low- and middle- income Canadians accumulate savings.

Registered Disability Savings Plans beneficiaries and holders

The holder of an RDSP is the person who is responsible for the management of the plan. The beneficiary of an RDSP is the person who will eventually benefit from the savings in the plan. An adult beneficiary may also be the holder of the plan, as long as he or she is legally able to enter into a contract. There can be more than one holder of an RDSP, but only one beneficiary per plan.

RDSP beneficiary growth

RDSP take-up has been steadily increasing since the implementation of the program. As of December 31, 2015, 123,020 Canadians with disabilities had an RDSP; this represents a 24.1% increase over the previous year (Table 5).

Table 5: RDSP beneficiary growth
RDSP beneficiary growth 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Total beneficiaries 24,780 41,060 53,007 65,457 80,136 99,091 123,020
Annual percentage growth n/a 65.7% 29.1% 23.5% 22.4% 23.7% 24.1%

RDSP beneficiary demographics

Table 6 below shows the changing sociological characteristics of RDSP beneficiaries. One interesting trend has been a relative increase in the number of minors who benefited from an RDSP, with the percentage of beneficiaries aged 18 and under rising from 20.8% of all beneficiaries in 2009 to 26.7% in 2015.

Males accounted for nearly 60% of beneficiaries, while females accounted for 40%. This gender gap is due to the fact that more males receive the Disability Tax Credit (DTC), a precondition for opening an RDSP (see Table 10 for details). However, females who do receive the DTC are proportionately more likely than men to hold an RDSP.

Approximately 89% of RDSP holders were English-speaking while about 11% were French-speaking. The urban/rural gap gradually narrowed slightly between 2009 and 2016. The proportion of beneficiaries from rural areas rose from 8.3% in 2009 to nearly 12% in 2015.

The proportion of beneficiaries aged 0 to 18 rose from 20.8% in 2009 to 26.7% in 2015.

In the same period, the proportion of beneficiaries from rural areas rose from 8.3% to nearly 12%.

Table 6: RDSP beneficiary demographics
Age 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
0 to 18 20.8% 21.8% 24.1% 25.0% 27.0% 26.3% 26.7%
19 to 34 31.6% 32.1% 31.9% 31.9% 31.2% 31.5% 31.2%
35 to 49 43.6% 38.7% 34.7% 32.1% 29.7% 29.7% 29.8%
50 + 3.9% 7.5% 9.3% 11.0% 12.0% 12.5% 12.3%
Gender
Male n/a1 58.8% 59.0% 59.2% 59.5% 59.5% 59.6%
Female n/a 41.2% 41.0% 40.8% 40.5% 40.5% 40.4%
Language
English n/a 88.6% 89.4% 89.3% 89.1% 89.1% 89.1%
French n/a 11.4% 10.6% 10.7% 10.9% 10.9% 10.9%
Urban/Rural2
Urban 91.7% 90.3% 89.8% 89.4% 88.9% 88.5% 88.1%
Rural 8.3% 9.7% 10.2% 10.6% 11.1% 11.5% 11.9%

[1] Where “n/a” appears, numbers were unavailable.

[2] The Urban/Rural variable was derived using the second character of the Forward Sortation Area (FSA) provided, the first segment of the postal code (for example J8Z). The second character in this segment is a number that takes on values 0 through 9, with 0 indicating rural areas and 1 to 9 indicating urban areas.

RDSP beneficiary provincial demographics

This subsection presents annual data on the provincial breakdown of RDSP holders. Figure 1 below, shows the net trend in number of beneficiaries by province. Most beneficiaries were in Ontario, where there was a total of 52,793 RDSPs as of December 31, 2015—a net increase of 10,639 from the year before.

In 2015, the Atlantic provinces saw the largest relative increase in the number of new RDSPs.

Figure 1: Cumulative RDSPs by province and territory
Figure 1: Cumulative RDSPs by province and territory: description follows
Text description

The chart represents the number of beneficiaries with an RDSP by province, comparing 2014 to 2015.

In Ontario, the number of beneficiaries with an RDSP in 2015 was 52,793 versus 42,154 in 2014.

In British Columbia, the number of beneficiaries with an RDSP in 2015 was 22,683 versus 18,806 in 2014.

In Quebec, the number of beneficiaries with an RDSP in 2015 was 16,553 versus 13,245 in 2014.

In Alberta, the number of beneficiaries with an RDSP in 2015 was 13,973 compared to 11,576 in 2014.

In Manitoba, the number of beneficiaries with an RDSP in 2015 was 5,730 compared to 4,771 in 2014.

In Saskatchewan, the number of beneficiaries with an RDSP in 2015 was 3,379 versus 2,757 in 2014.

In Nova Scotia, the number of beneficiaries with an RDSP in 2015 was 3,332 compared to 2,429 in 2014.

In New Brunswick, the number of beneficiaries with an RDSP was 2,030 in 2015 versus 1,516 in 2014.

In Newfoundland, the number of beneficiaries with an RDSP was 1,619 in 2015 compared to 1,146 in 2014.

In Prince Edward Island, the number of beneficiaries with an RDSP was 691 in 2015 and 509 in 2014.

In the territories (the North), the number of beneficiaries with an RDSP in 2015 was 214 compared to 166 in 2014.

Figure 2 presents the annual trend by province. Compared to 2014, the Atlantic provinces, targeted by a February 2015 mail campaign to promote RDSPs, showed the most positive results (see Outreach Efforts for more details on targeted mail-outs). In relative terms, Newfoundland and Labrador showed the greatest rise in the number of RDSP beneficiaries, from 1,146 to 1,619 in the last year, or an increase of 41.3%.

Figure 2: Percentage increase in RDSPs from 2014 to 2015
Figure 2: Percentage increase in RDSPs from 2014 to 2015 : description follows
Text description

The chart shows the percentage increase in beneficiaries with an RDSP from 2014 to 2015.

From 2014 to 2015, Ontario saw a 25.2% increase in the number of beneficiaries with a RDSP; British Columbia had an increase of 20.6%; Quebec had an increase of 25.0%; Alberta saw a 20.7% increase; Manitoba had an increase of 20.1%; Saskatchewan saw a 22.6% increase; Nova Scotia had an increase of 37.2%; New Brunswick had an increase of 33.9%; Newfoundland saw and increase of 41.3%, Prince Edward Island saw an increase of 35.8%; and the northern territories had an increase of 28.9%.

Table 7: RDSP beneficiary provincial/territorial demographics, 2015
Demographics Alberta British Columbia Manitoba New Brunswick Newfoundland and Labrador North Nova Scotia Ontario Prince Edward Island Quebec Saskatchewan
Total beneficiaries 13,973 22,683 5,730 2,030 1,619 214 3,332 52,793 691 16,553 3,379
Age
0 to 18 29.8% 27.4% 20.5% 28.4% 27.1% 23.4% 25.4% 27.7% 25.3% 22.3% 26.7%
19 to 34 32.2% 31.2% 32.2% 29.6% 30.9% 40.7% 31.5% 31.0% 31.4% 30.1% 32.3%
35 to 49 26.5% 28.7% 32.5% 33.9% 35.6% n/a 34.2% 29.4% 33.4% 32.7% 29.7%
50 and higher 11.5% 12.7% 14.8% 8.0% 6.4% 8.9% 11.9% 9.8% 15.0% 11.3%
Gender
Female 40.6% 41.6% 40.6% 42.4% 39.9% 41.1% 41.9% 40.1% 39.1% 38.8% 43.1%
Male 59.4% 58.4% 59.4% 57.6% 60.1% 58.9% 58.1% 59.9% 60.9% 61.2% 56.9%
Language
English n/a1 n/a n/a 89.9% n/a n/a n/a 99.5% n/a 21.9% n/a
French 10.1% 0.5% 78.1%
Urban/Rural2
Rural 8.9% 7.7% 15.6% n/a 30.9% 24.8% 25.8% 11.9% 48.0% 10.2% 29.5%
Urban 91.1% 92.3% 84.4% 69.1% 75.2% 74.2% 88.1% 52.0% 89.8% 70.5%

[1] Where “n/a” appears, numbers have been suppressed due to insufficient observations.

[2] The Urban/Rural variable was derived using the second character of the Forward Sortation Area (FSA) provided, the first segment of the postal code (for example J8Z). The second character in this segment is a number that takes on values 0 through 9, with 0 indicating rural areas and 1 to 9 indicating urban areas.

Figure 3 illustrates the RDSP take-up rates by DTC-eligible individuals, ages 0 to 49, by province and territory for the 2015 calendar year.

Figure 3: RDSP take-up rate for DTC-eligible individuals aged 0 to 49, by province/territory
Figure 3: RDSP take-up rate for DTC-eligible individuals aged 0 to 49, by province/territory: description follows
Text description

The map of Canada illustrates the take-up of the RDSP, by Province, as a percentage of all DTC eligible individuals in each province aged 0 to 49 in 2015.

In 2015, the percentage of DTC eligible individuals aged 0 to 49 in Ontario who are the beneficiary of an RDSP was 25.5%; in British Columbia 33% had an RDSP; in Quebec 18.7% were a beneficiary; 26.7% in Alberta; 23.0% in Manitoba; 25.3% in Saskatchewan; 17.5% in Nova Scotia; 14.7% in New Brunswick; 13.8% in Nova Scotia; 22.8% in Prince Edward Island; and in the northern territories, 19.1% of DTC eligible individuals age 0 to 49 had an RDSP.

Although the cumulative number of RDSPs by province and territory was the highest in Ontario (see Figure 1), Figure 3 shows that British Columbia had the highest RDSP take-up (33%) as a percentage of DTC- eligible individuals in the province.

Average age of new RDSP beneficiaries

In 2015, the average age of new RDSP beneficiaries at the time their plan was opened was slightly below 28.

Table 8: Average age of new beneficiaries by year
Year Average age1
2008 30
2009 31
2010 30
2011 27
2012 27
2013 25
2014 28
2015 28

[1] Average age has been rounded to the nearest full year.

Beneficiary grant and bond eligibility

The amount of grant and bond that may be paid into an RDSP depends on the beneficiary’s net family income as defined by the Income Tax Act. If a beneficiary is under 18, this means his or her parents’ income. For a beneficiary who is over 18, this means his or her income plus a spouse’s income if he or she is married. While no contributions are required for the bond, grant payments depend on the amount contributed to the RDSP. Income thresholds for the grant and bond are adjusted for inflation annually by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

Table 9 shows the adjusted net family income level of RDSP beneficiaries, as reported to CRA, and corresponding grant and bond entitlements. In 2015, no bond was payable to beneficiaries whose family income was $44,701 or greater (Levels 3 and 4), or for whom no income information was provided; partial bond was payable where family income was between $26,021 and $44,701 (Level 2), and 100% of bond was payable where family income was less than $26,021. Depending on the amount contributed to the RDSP, a maximum grant of $1,000 was payable to beneficiaries whose net family income was greater than $89,401 (Level 4), or for whom no income information was provided. A maximum grant of up to $3,500 was payable to beneficiaries whose net family income was $89,401 or less.

In 2015, the majority of beneficiaries (approximately 57%) had family incomes below $26,021 and roughly 10% had family incomes between $26,021 and $44,701. Therefore, 67% of beneficiaries were entitled to receive up to $1,000 of bond, along with a grant amount of up to $3,500, depending on the amount of their contributions.

Table 9: Beneficiary financial situation, 2015
Income levels Percent of beneficiaries Bond entitlement Maximum grant eligibility
Level 1 < $26,021 56.5% $1,000 $3,500
Level 2 $26,021 - $44,701 10.4% < $1,0002 $3,500
Level 3 $44,701 - $89,401 14.5% None $3,500
Level 4 > $89,401 12.1% None $1,000
Other1 6.5% None $1,000

[1] Other Includes: No Income Found, No Match, Null, and Agency.

[2] Following the formula: $1,000 - [ $1,000 x (A-B)/(C-B) ]; where A = Family Income ; B = $26,021 ; C = $44,701

Identity of RDSP holder

Figure 4 below shows the breakdown of RDSP holders. Legal parents accounted for approximately 42% of all holders, followed by the beneficiaries themselves, who represented roughly 38% of the holders. Legal guardians and institutions (a government department, agency or body legally authorized to act on the beneficiary’s behalf) accounted for only 20% of the holders.

Figure 4: Plan-holder identity
Figure 4: Plan-holder identity: description follows
Text description

The pie chart shows the percentage break-down of RDSP holders by type. In 2015, 41.6% of RDSP holders were the legal parent of the beneficiary; 37.8% were the beneficiary him/herself; 12.0% were a legal guardian; and 8.7% were an institution.

Disability tax credit – take-up of RDSPs

DTC RDSP take-up by age, gender, language, urban/rural

Table 10 below represents the take-up rate of beneficiaries based on the number of individuals who are eligible for the DTC, which is determined by the Canada Revenue Agency.

Table 10: RDSP take up of DTC-eligible Canadians – 2015
Age RDSP beneficiaries Individuals who are DTC-eligible Take-up rate
0 to 18 32,833 199,612 16.4%
19 to 34 38,323 127,339 30.1%
35 to 49 36,707 116,290 31.6%
Total 0 to 49 107,863 443,241 24.3%
Gender1
Female 42,361 148,755 28.5%
Male 65,502 242,976 27.0%
Language      
English 96,614 373,434 25.9%
French 11,249 69,807 16.1%
Urban/Rural2
Urban 94,733 366,837 25.8%
Rural 13,130 76,404 17.2%

[1] The gender variable in the DTC dataset displays missing data. Therefore, the number of DTC-eligible females and males do not add up to the total of DTC-eligible individuals ages 0 to 49.

[2] The Urban/Rural variable was derived using the second character of the Forward Sortation Area (FSA) provided, the first segment of the postal code (for example J8Z). The second character in this segment is a number that takes on values 0 through 9, with 0 indicating rural areas and 1–9 indicating urban areas.

The proportion of DTC-eligible individuals who are RDSP beneficiaries is unevenly distributed across age categories. The table shows similar proportions for individuals in the age category 19 to 34 (30.1%) and the age category 35 to 49 (31.6%). By contrast, the take-up rate for beneficiaries aged 0 to 18 was only about half that of other age groups, at 16.4%.

The take-up rate was relatively consistent for female (28.5%) and male (27.0%) RDSP beneficiaries. However, this result should be taken with some caution, given the frequency of missing values for the gender variable in the DTC data.

RDSP assets

This section provides information on the total value of assets held in RDSPs, as well as the average value of those RDSPs. The value of an RDSP is comprised of all contributions, bonds, grants, and earnings, less any fees and withdrawals. Issuers must report the fair market value of each RDSP to the CDSP each month. The following statistics are based on this data.

Total RDSP assets by year

By December 31, 2015, RDSPs contained over $2.5 billion in assets, an increase of over $560 million compared to 2014. This is consistent with growth in total RDSP assets since 2010 (Figure 5).

By December 31, 2015, RDSPs contained over $2.5 billion in assets, averaging $21,444 per plan.

Figure 5: Total value of RDSP assets by year ($ million)
Figure 5: Total value of RDSP assets by year ($ million): description follows
Text description

The graph shows the annual evolution of the total value of RDSP assets. The totals are in millions of dollars and the period is 2010 to 2015. In 2010, the total asset value of RDSPs was $21 million; in 2011 the total asset value of RDSPs increased to $523 million; in 2012, the total asset value of RDSPs increased to $947 million; in 2013, the total asset value of RDSPs increased to $1.386 billion; in 2014, the total asset value of active RDSPs was $1.952 billion; and in 2015, the total asset value of RDSP increased to $2.519 billion.

Average value of RDSP assets by year

In 2015, the average value of RDSPs increased by $1,456 to reach $21,444 (Figure 6).

Figure 6: Average value of RDSP assets by year
Figure 6: Average value of RDSP assets by year: description follows
Text description

The graph illustrates the average asset value for RDSPs, by year. The totals are in dollars and the period is from 2010 to 2015. In 2010, the average value of RDSP assets was $6,236; in 2011, that value increased to $10,282; in 2012 the value increased to $14,533; in 2013 the average asset value for RDSPs was $17,642; in 2014 the average asset value of RDSPs increased to 19,988; in 2015, the average asset value of RDSPs increased to $21,444.

Average value of RDSP assets by province and territory

The average value of RDSPs assets was higher in Western Canada than in the Eastern parts of the country (Figure 7). The three provinces with the highest averages were Alberta ($24,732), British Columbia ($22,872), and Saskatchewan ($22,621). The average value of RDSP assets was lower than the Canadian average in the four Atlantic provinces.

Figure 7: Average value of RDSP assets by province and territory, 2015
Figure 7: Average value of RDSP assets by province and territory, 2015: description follows
Text description

The graph illustrates the average asset value of RDSPs by province and territory in 2015. The totals are in dollars. In 2015, Alberta had an average RSDP asset value of $24,732; in British Columbia, the average RDSP asset value was $22,872; in Manitoba, the average RDSP asset value was $20,423; in New Brunswick, the average asset value in RDSPs was $17,616; in Newfoundland, the average RDSP asset value was $17,854; in the northern territories, the average RDSP asset value was $20,120; in Nova Scotia, the average value of assets in RDSPs was 17,664; in Ontario, the average asset value of RDSPs was $22,050; in Prince Edward Island, the average RDSP asset value was $17,284; in Quebec the average value of assets in RDSPs was $16,646; and in Saskatchewan, the average value of assets in RDSPs was $22,621. The national average was $21,867.

Total and average value of RDSP assets by age

Table 11 below presents information on total and average assets held in an RDSP, by age group. Note that RDSPs with a zero or negative contribution were not counted.

For minors aged 0 to 18, the average value of their RDSPs as of December 2015 was $14,318. These had a cumulative value of $439 million, which represents 17% of all assets held in RDSPs.

Beneficiaries in the 19 to 34 age group saved an average of $24,885 for a total of more than $921 million, or 37% of all assets held—the highest average and total assets for all age groups.

Beneficiaries aged 35 to 49 saved an average of $24,592 for a total of $837 million, or 33% of all assets held under the CDSP. Lastly, beneficiaries aged 50 and up saved an average of $20,416 for a total of $321 million, or 13% of all assets.

Table 11: Total and average value of RDSP assets by age
Age #  of beneficiaries Average RDSP value Total assets
($ million)
0 to 18 30,682 (27%) $14,318 $439 (17%)
19 to 34 37,020 (31%) $24,885 $921 (37%)
35 to 49 34,054 (30%) $24,592 $837 (33%)
50 + 15,731 (12%) $0,418 $321 (13%)
Total 117,487 $21,444 $2,519

Contributions to Registered Disability Savings Plans

The term “contribution” refers to the amount placed in an RDSP by the beneficiary or someone on his/her behalf. Government grants are determined based on the amount of this contribution and the beneficiary’s net family income. A maximum of $200,000 may be contributed over the beneficiary’s lifetime. There is no annual contribution limit.

Annual and average RDSP contributions

In 2015, $173 million was contributed to the RDSPs of Canadians with disabilities (Table 12). This represents a 5.2% increase over 2014. The cumulative total amount of contributions reached $810 million by the end of 2015. The average annual contribution amount reached its lowest level in 2015, at $2,566.

Table 12: Annual and average RDSP contributions
Description 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Total annual contributions
($ million)
$54.8 $83.2 $91.3 $114.1 $129.0 $164.5 $173.1
Total cumulative contributions
($ million)
$54.8 $138.0 $229.3 $343.4 $472.5 $637.0 $810.1
Average annual contribution
amount1
$3,222 $2,903 $2,736 $2,902 $2,786 $2,920 $2,566

[1] Only includes positive contributions, in other words no zeros. Average is calculated based on number of distinct beneficiaries receiving a Contribution.

Average RDSP contribution per beneficiary by province and territory

In 2015, average annual RDSP contributions varied widely from region to region (Figure 8). Ontario, the North, and Western Canada had the highest annual averages, with Alberta at $3,118 and British Columbia at $2,574 for 2015. The Atlantic provinces, Quebec, and Manitoba were below $2,000. Nova Scotia beneficiaries contributed an average of $1,838, while those in Newfoundland and Labrador contributed $1,799.

Figure 8: Average RDSP contribution per beneficiary by province and territory, 2015
Figure 8: Average RDSP contribution per beneficiary by province and territory, 2015: description follows
Text description

The graph illustrates the average RDSP contribution per beneficiary by province and territory in 2015. The totals are in dollars. In 2015, Alberta had an average RDSP contribution per beneficiary of $3,118; in British Columbia, the average RDSP contribution per beneficiary was $2,574; in Manitoba, the average RDSP contribution per beneficiary was $1,951; in New Brunswick, the average RDSP contribution per beneficiary was $1,995; in Newfoundland the average RDSP contribution per beneficiary was $1,799; in the northern territories, the average RDSP contribution was $2,470; in Nova Scotia, the average RDSP contribution was $1,838; in Ontario, the average RDSP contribution per beneficiary was $2,613; in Prince Edward Island, the average RDSP contribution per beneficiary was $1,882; in Quebec, the average RDSP contribution per beneficiary was $2,402; and in Saskatchewan, the average RDSP contribution per beneficiary was $2,559. The average contribution in 2015 for Canada as a whole was $2,566.

Percentage of beneficiaries who made contributions by province and territory

Table 13 shows that more than 60% of beneficiaries eligible for a grant (aged 0 to 49) contributed in 2015, or had a contribution made on their behalf. This rate declined from that of 2014 in every province except Quebec, where it remained close to 50% (still the lowest rate in Canada). The North had the highest rate, at 64.5%.

Table 13: Annual percentage of beneficiaries who made contributions by province and territory, age 0 to 49
Province 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Canada 71.7% 72.9% 68.3% 65.8% 64.2% 63.2% 60.2%
Alberta 79.0% 79.4% 70.1% 68.2% 68.4% 67.0% 64.0%
British Columbia 81.6% 81.0% 71.6% 67.9% 66.1% 63.7% 61.7%
Manitoba 78.4% 72.6% 68.5% 67.2% 65.4% 64.5% 61.3%
New Brunswick 79.5% 77.7% 73.0% 69.9% 65.5% 61.9% 59.6%
Newfoundland and Labrador 83.7% 87.6% 76.0% 71.2% 67.0% 62.9% 61.5%
North 79.2% 76.4% 70.0% 70.5% 69.4% 65.1% 64.5%
Nova Scotia 77.0% 81.0% 72.1% 68.2% 61.8% 61.0% 59.1%
Ontario 80.6% 78.2% 73.6% 69.3% 66.8% 66.1% 61.7%
Prince Edward Island 74.2% 83.5% 70.9% 63.4% 59.3% 56.9% 52.6%
Quebec 27.9% 35.9% 42.0% 45.9% 47.8% 49.8% 49.8%
Saskatchewan 82.7% 78.6% 70.8% 68.3% 65.2% 64.5% 61.2%

Annual and average RDSP contributions per beneficiary by age

Table 14 below breaks down contributions by age group. For beneficiaries aged 0 to 18, $36 million, or 21.3% of a total $173 million, was contributed in 2015. For those aged 19 to 34, $56 million (32.3%) was contributed, while for those aged 35 to 49, $58 million (33.8%) was contributed.

The number of beneficiaries for whom contributions were made to their RDSPs was similar for all three age groups. The only difference was in the level of the average contribution, which was significantly lower for those aged 18 and under than for other age groups.

The 50-plus age group stood out for the average size of contributions, which averaged $10,896. This accounts for more than $21 million, or 12.7% of the total, even though this age group accounts for just 3% of contributors (2,012 beneficiaries).

Table 14: RDSP contributions by age, 2015
Age Total contributions
($ million)
Percent Contributing beneficiaries Percent Average contribution1
0 to 18 $36.9 21.3% 19,745 29.3% $1,867
19 to 34 $55.9 32.3% 23,868 35.4% $2,340
35 to 49 $58.4 33.8% 21,820 32.4% $2,679
50 + $21.9 12.7% 2,012 3.0% $10,896
Total $173.1 100.0% 67,445 100.0% $2,566

[1] Only includes positive contributions, in other words no zeros. Average is calculated based on number of distinct beneficiaries receiving a Contribution.

Distribution of RDSP contribution amounts

Figure 9 below categorizes the 67,276 RDSP contributions in 2015 by level of contribution.

Most annual contributions (62.8%) were $1,500 or less. Contributions between $1,500 and $3,000 accounted for 14.4% of all beneficiaries, while 16.8% were between $3,000 and $5,000. Contributions between $5,000 and $10,000 accounted for 3.6% of beneficiaries (1,090 people). More than $10,000 was contributed for 1.6% of beneficiaries.

Figure 9: Distribution of RDSP contribution amounts, 2015
Figure 9: Distribution of RDSP contribution amounts, 2015: description follows
Text description

The pie chart shows the break-down of RDSP contribution amounts in 2015. The totals are in dollars.

In 2015, 62.8% of RDSP contribution amounts were between $0 and $1,500; 14.4% were between $1,500 and $3,000; 16.3% were between $3,000 and $5,000; 3.5% were between $5,000 and $10,000; 3.0% were above $10,000.

Rollovers

Assets can be transferred, or rolled over, into an RDSP from other registered savings programs. For instance, when a parent or grandparent dies, the assets from their Registered Retirement Saving Plan (RRSP) can be rolled into the RDSP of their child/grandchild on a tax-free basis. Similarly, monies (contributions and earnings only) remaining in a Registered Education Savings Program (RESP) can be transferred to an RDSP if the child is no longer in post-secondary studies or will not pursue post-secondary studies. RRSP and RRSP rollovers do not attract grant, and count toward the $200,000 lifetime contribution limit.

No rollovers into RDSPs were recorded in 2015. If there is enough data, reporting on rollovers will commence with the 2016 Annual Statistical Review.

Canada Disability Savings Grant

Annual and average Canada Disability Savings Grant payments

Between 2014 and 2015, total government grants under the CDSP continued to grow, from $233 million to $267 million. Since the inception of the CDSP in 2008, over $1.1 billion has been paid out through the Canada Disability Savings Grant.

The average grant amount in 2015 was $4,215. This figure has changed little since 2011, with the annual average ranging from $4,206 to $4,377 (Table 15).

Table 15: Annual and average RDSPs grants
Description 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Total annual grants
($ million)
$64.2 $89.3 $134.2 $163.1 $187.2 $233.0 $267.2
Total cumulative grants
($ million)
$64.2 $153.5 $287.7 $450.8 $638.0 $871.0 $1,138.2
Average annual grant
amount1
$3,889 $3,307 $4,206 $4,377 $4,272 $4,369 $4,215

[1] Only includes positive Grants, in other words no zeros. Average is calculated based on number of distinct beneficiaries receiving a Grant.

Average Canada Disability Savings Grant payments per beneficiary by province and territory

Figure 10 below shows average grant amounts paid into beneficiaries’ RDSP accounts in 2015 by province and territory. The national average grant payment for 2015 was $4,215. The total annual maximum grant a beneficiary can receive in respect of any particular year is $3,500; however, RDSP holders can also receive grant entitlements for the previous 10 years (going back no further than 2008) in the form of ‘carry forward’. The maximum grant that can be paid in any year, including carry-forward and the current year entitlement, is $10,500.

At $4,218, Ontario’s average is about the same as the national average. Quebec has the highest average grant at $4,538. New Brunswick and Nova Scotia have the lowest average grants at $3,867 and $3,879 respectively.

Figure 10: Average grant payment per beneficiary by province and territory, 2015
Figure 10: Average grant payment per beneficiary by province and territory, 2015: description follows
Text description

The graph illustrates the average grant payment per beneficiary by province and territory in 2015. The totals are in dollars. In 2015, Alberta had an average grant payment per beneficiary of $4,270; in British Columbia, the average grant payment per beneficiary was $4,127; in Manitoba, the average grant payment per beneficiary was $3,927; in New Brunswick, the average grant payment per beneficiary was $3,867; in Newfoundland, the average grant payment per beneficiary was $3,879; in the Northern Territories, the average grant payment per beneficiary was $4,025; in Nova Scotia, the average grant payment per beneficiary was $3,942; in Ontario, the average grant payment per beneficiary was $4,218; in Prince Edward Island, the average grant payment per beneficiary was $4,328; in Quebec the average grant payment per beneficiary was $4,538; and in Saskatchewan, the average grant payment per beneficiary was $4,397. The average grant payment per beneficiary in 2015 for Canada as a whole was $4,215.

Percentage of beneficiaries by province and territory receiving Canada Disability Savings grant

Table 16 below represents the percentage of beneficiaries by province and territory who received a grant. Note that there is a declining rate of RDSP beneficiaries who receive a grant each year—in 2015, the annual percentage of RDSP beneficiaries who received a grant declined from 53.8% to 51.5%. This is due to the fact that almost all RDSP issuers require that a contribution be made to open and establish the plan, resulting in a contribution rate of close to a 100% for new plans. As the proportion of new plans to existing plans decreases over time, the contribution rate will also decrease.

The North and Quebec are the only two regions that saw an increase in their contribution rates between 2014 and 2015. The North also had the highest percentage of beneficiaries receiving a grant, at 57.5%. Quebec had the lowest percentage of grant beneficiaries among RDSP holders, at 41.6%.

Table 16: Annual percentage of beneficiaries by province and territory who received a grant
Province 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Canada 66.6% 65.8% 60.2% 56.9% 54.7% 53.8% 51.5%
Alberta 73.9% 72.4% 62.8% 59.8% 58.7% 57.5% 55.2%
British Columbia 76.0% 74.2% 63.7% 59.0% 56.7% 54.2% 52.7%
Manitoba 75.5% 66.4% 59.9% 57.7% 54.8% 54.1% 51.0%
New Brunswick 70.1% 74.1% 68.9% 64.1% 59.3% 56.0% 53.3%
Newfoundland and Labrador 73.7% 83.6% 71.5% 66.0% 62.4% 58.0% 56.4%
North 72.0% 67.7% 60.0% 57.4% 60.2% 56.6% 57.5%
Nova Scotia 68.1% 75.2% 65.7% 61.2% 55.2% 53.3% 52.3%
Ontario 74.5% 70.1% 64.7% 60.1% 57.1% 56.5% 52.9%
Prince Edward Island 67.2% 80.1% 65.3% 58.7% 52.9% 49.9% 46.5%
Quebec 25.7% 31.2% 35.2% 37.8% 38.7% 40.7% 41.6%
Saskatchewan 78.9% 72.1% 65.3% 61.2% 56.9% 56.0% 53.1%

Canada Disability Savings Bond

Annual and average Canada Disability Savings Bond payments

The total amount of government bonds paid under the CDSP continued to grow, from $104 million in 2014 to $139 million in 2015 (Table 17). Since the beginning of the program, close to $500 million has been paid out through Canada Disability Savings Bonds. These bonds averaged $1,986 in 2015, an increase of $155 from 2014. As explained earlier, the average bond amount can exceed the $1,000 annual limit because of new plans receiving bond entitlements from previous years in the first year they are opened.

Table 17: Annual and average RDSP bonds
Description 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Total annual bonds
 ($ million)
$25.7 $30.0 $63.0 $62.4 $75.6 $103.7 $139.3
Total cumulative bonds
 ($ million)
$25.7 $55.7 $118.7 $181.1 $256.7 $360.4 $499.7
Average annual bond
amount1
$1,555 $1,137 $1,864 $1,532 $1,617 $1,831 $1,986

[1] Only includes positive Bonds, in other words no zeros. Average is calculated based on number of distinct beneficiaries receiving a Bond.

Average Canada Disability Savings Bond payments by province and territory

Figure 11 below lists average bond amounts by province and for the North for 2015. The national average is $1,986. Bond amounts are lower than average in Western Canada and higher than average in Atlantic Canada and Quebec.

Average bond amounts in Ontario are about the same as the national average. The North has the lowest average bonds at $1,706 and Nova Scotia has the highest average bonds at $2,505.

Figure 11: Average bond payment per beneficiary by province and territory, 2015
Figure 11: Average bond payment per beneficiary by province and territory, 2015: description follows
Text description

The graph illustrates the average bond payment per beneficiary by province and territory in 2015. The totals are in dollars. In 2015, Alberta had an average bond payment per beneficiary of $1,796; in British Columbia, the average bond payment per beneficiary was $1,833; in Manitoba, the average bond payment per beneficiary was $1,816; in New Brunswick, the average bond payment per beneficiary was $2,439; in Newfoundland, the average bond payment per beneficiary was $2,357; in the Northern Territories, the average bond payment per beneficiary was $1,706; in Nova Scotia, the average bond payment per beneficiary was $2,505; in Ontario, the average bond payment per beneficiary was $2,006; in Prince Edward Island, the average bond payment per beneficiary was $2,412; in Quebec the average bond payment per beneficiary was $2,108; and in Saskatchewan, the average bond payment per beneficiary was $1,964. The average bond payment per beneficiary in 2015 for Canada as a whole was $1,986.

Percentage of beneficiaries by province and territory receiving Canada Disability Savings Bonds

Table 18 below shows the percentage of RDSP beneficiaries who received a Canada Disability Savings Bond in 2015.

For the country as a whole, 57.0% of RDSP beneficiaries received a bond in 2015—a decrease of 0.1% from the previous year. The percentage of beneficiaries receiving a bond has been consistently decreasing year over year. In general, when a plan is first opened, CDSP looks back 10 years for bond eligibility, so the probably is very high the beneficiary will get bond. As the proportion of new plans to older plans decreases over time, the percentage of beneficiaries receiving a bond will also decrease.

In Quebec, the province with the highest percentage, 63.3% of RDSP holders received a bond. In Alberta, the province with the lowest percentage, 51.4% of RDSP holders received a bond.

Table 18: Annual percentage of beneficiaries by province and territory who received a bond
Province 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Canada 66.6% 64.2% 63.8% 62.2% 58.3% 57.1% 57.0%
Alberta 66.5% 61.9% 62.7% 60.0% 54.3% 52.5% 51.4%
British Columbia 65.6% 66.6% 65.5% 64.4% 60.9% 58.5% 57.6%
Manitoba 77.8% 71.3% 69.3% 64.1% 60.9% 59.6% 57.5%
New Brunswick 44.2% 51.4% 57.9% 55.6% 54.6% 56.1% 56.2%
Newfoundland and Labrador 55.9% 60.9% 65.8% 64.6% 59.9% 58.0% 59.1%
North 48.0% 61.3% 58.9% 56.5% 57.1% 57.2% 54.2%
Nova Scotia 47.7% 60.2% 62.9% 63.1% 59.5% 58.5% 60.5%
Ontario 58.4% 60.7% 60.9% 60.5% 56.6% 56.1% 56.0%
Prince Edward Island 52.2% 64.5% 70.8% 67.7% 60.6% 57.8% 59.5%
Quebec 84.6% 71.8% 69.7% 66.4% 63.2% 62.0% 63.3%
Saskatchewan 62.8% 61.6% 62.7% 60.1% 55.3% 54.3% 55.8%

Canada Disability Savings Grant and bond distribution

Cumulative grants, bonds and contributions

Three types of funds can be placed into an RDSP account: Canada Disability Savings Grants, Canada Disability Savings Bonds, and contributions made by beneficiaries or someone on their behalf. Figure 12 below shows the breakdown of these types of funds, but does not include cumulative returns.

As of December 31, 2015, approximately $810 million (or 34% of the cumulative total) had been placed in RDSPs through contributions. Another $1.115 billion (46% of the total) had been paid out in the form of grants. Bonds accounted for $487 million, or 20% of the total.

Figure 12 shows a gradual decline in private contributions as a portion of the cumulative total, shifting from 40% in 2010 to 35% in 2015.

Figure 12: Cumulative bonds, grants, and contributions ($ million)
Figure 12: Cumulative bonds, grants, and contributions ($ million): description follows
Text description

The pie chart shows the cumulative bonds, grants, and contributions per year along with the related break-down. The totals are in dollars.

  • In 2010, the cumulative bond amount was $56 million (in other words 16% of the cumulative total of bonds, grants and contributions); the cumulative grant amount was $153 million (in other words 44% of the cumulative total of bonds, grants and contributions); the cumulative contribution amount was $138 million (in other words 40% of the cumulative total of bonds, grants and contributions).
  • In 2011, the cumulative bond amount was $118 million (in other words 19% of the cumulative total of bonds, grants and contributions); the cumulative grant amount was $286 million (in other words 45% of the cumulative total of bonds, grants and contributions); the cumulative contribution amount was $229 million (in other words 36% of the cumulative total of bonds, grants and contributions).
  • In 2012, the cumulative bond amount was $179 million (in other words 19% of the cumulative total of bonds, grants and contributions); the cumulative grant amount was $446 million (in other words 46% of the cumulative total of bonds, grants and contributions); the cumulative contribution amount was $343 million (in other words 35% of the cumulative total of bonds, grants and contributions).
  • In 2013, the cumulative bond amount was $253 million (in other words 19% of the cumulative total of bonds, grants and contributions); the cumulative grant amount was $630 million (in other words 46% of the cumulative total of bonds, grants and contributions); the cumulative contribution amount was $472 million (in other words 35% of the cumulative total of bonds, grants and contributions).
  • In 2014, the cumulative bond amount was $354 million (in other words 19% of the cumulative total of bonds, grants and contributions); the cumulative grant amount was $857 million (in other words 46% of the cumulative total of bonds, grants and contributions); the cumulative contribution amount was $637 million (in other words 35% of the cumulative total of bonds, grants and contributions).
  • In 2015, the cumulative bond amount was $487 million (in other words 20% of the cumulative total of bonds, grants and contributions); the cumulative grant amount was $1,115 million (in other words 46% of the cumulative total of bonds, grants and contributions); the cumulative contribution amount was $810 million (in other words 34% of the cumulative total of bonds, grants and contributions).

Grant and bond distribution, 2008 to 2015

As illustrated by Figure 13, since the launch of the CDSP, 18.2% of currently registered beneficiaries received at least one bond but no grants; 19.7% received at least one grant, but no bonds; and 55.9% received at least one bond and a grant (not necessarily in the same year). As of December 31, 2015, 6.2% of currently registered beneficiaries have received neither a bond nor a grant.

Figure 13: Lifetime grant and bond distribution
Figure 13: Lifetime grant and bond distribution: description follows
Text description

The chart shows the break-down of lifetime bond and grant payments. In 2015, 18.2% of RDSP holders received only bond payments; 55.9% received both band and grant payments; 19.7% received only grant payments; 6.2% received neither bond payment nor grant payments.

Grant and bond provincial/territorial distribution, 2015

In 2015, 73.9% of RDSP beneficiaries received either a grant (17.6%) or a bond (23.2%), or both (33.1%). Conversely, 26.1% of RDSP beneficiaries received neither a grant nor a bond.

Table 19 presents the breakdown by province.

Table 19: Grant and bond distribution by province and territory, 2015
Province No bond or grant Grant only Bond only Grant and bond Grant or bond
Canada 26.1% 17.6% 23.2% 33.1% 73.9%
Alberta 28.3% 21.1% 17.4% 33.3% 71.7%
British Columbia 25.8% 17.3% 22.3% 34.6% 74.2%
Manitoba 27.6% 15.8% 22.2% 34.4% 72.4%
New Brunswick 23.5% 20.9% 24.2% 31.3% 76.5%
Newfoundland and Labrador 22.2% 19.3% 22.4% 36.1% 77.8%
North 24.9% 21.6% 20.2% 33.3% 75.1%
Nova Scotia 22.6% 17.5% 26.1% 33.8% 77.4%
Ontario 26.6% 18.1% 21.3% 34.0% 73.4%
Prince Edward Island 23.6% 17.9% 31.4% 27.1% 76.4%
Quebec 24.0% 13.3% 34.8% 27.9% 76.0%
Saskatchewan 25.1% 20.0% 22.6% 32.3% 74.9%

RDSP withdrawals: Disability Assistance Payments and Lifetime Disability Assistance Payments

There are a number of rules affecting how much and when a beneficiary may make a withdrawal from their RDSP.

When a beneficiary wishes to withdraw from his or her RDSP, two types of payments can be made: Disability Assistance Payments (DAPs) and Lifetime Disability Assistance Payments (LDAPs).

A DAP is a lump-sum payment made from an RDSP to the beneficiary or his/her estate. A DAP includes a specific proportion of each of the following accumulated amounts: contributions, grants, bonds and earnings (including rollovers—see Section 5.6).

An LDAP is a stream of payments which, once started, is payable at least annually until the beneficiary dies, the funds in the plan are exhausted or the plan is closed. LDAPs also include a specific proportion of accumulated contributions, grants, bonds and earnings, including rollovers. LDAPs can begin at any time, but must be initiated by December 31 of the year the beneficiary reaches 60 years of age.

If a withdrawal is made from the RDSP either in the form of a DAP or LDAP, a portion or all of the grant and bond paid into the plan in the ten years immediately leading up to the withdrawal must be repaid to the Government of Canada. The amount to be repaid depends on how much is withdrawn. Similarly, if a plan is closed, or the beneficiary dies, all of the grant and bond paid into the plan in the ten years leading up to the event must be repaid to the Government of Canada. This repayment amount is also known as the Assistance Holdback Amount (AHA), and is meant to encourage long-term savings.

If the plan contains more government grants and bonds than private contributions, the amount that may be withdrawn from an RDSP is restricted, depending on factors including the beneficiary’s age and the year in which DAPs are requested. There are no such restrictions when private contributions are greater than government grants and bonds in the plan.

The exception to the repayment rule for grants and bonds is in the case of a Specified Disability Savings Plan (SDSP). An RDSP can be designated an SDSP in cases where a medical doctor has made an attestation that the beneficiary is not likely to live more than five years. Subject to certain rules, up to $10,000 per year in taxable amounts (grant, bond and earnings) may be withdrawn without requiring the Assistance Holdback Amount to be repaid.

Annual and average DAPs and LDAPs

In 2015, more than $17 million was paid out through 2,830 DAPs, with an average value of $6,077. This represents an increase of approximately 34% in the net value of DAPs compared to 2014 ($12.9 million). Likewise, $1.3 million was paid out through 493 LDAPs, with an average value of $2,705, an increase of almost 56% in the net value of LDAPs in comparison to 2014 ($0.9 million) (Table 20).

The CDSP will have been in operation for ten years by December 2018, at which time RDSP withdrawals are expected to gradually increase as the Assistance Holdback Amount will begin to decline for many beneficiaries.

Table 20: Annual and average DAP and LDAP payments
DAP and LDAP 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Total DAP ($ million) $0.6 $5.5 $8.0 $8.3 $12.9 $17.2
Total LDAP ($ million) $0.0 $0.1 $0.2 $0.4 $0.9 $1.3
Total DAP and LDAP ($ million) $0.6 $5.6 $8.2 $8.7 $13.7 $18.5
Cumulative DAP and LDAP ($ million) $0.6 $6.2 $14.4 $23.1 $36.9 $55.4
Average DAP $3,751 $4,952 $6,073 $6,223 $7,073 $6,077
Average LDAP $488 $1,824 $1,711 $1,526 $2,314 $2,705
Percent of beneficiaries receiving a DAP 0.39% 2.11% 2.01% 1.67% 1.84% 2.30%
Percent of beneficiaries receiving a LDAP 0.02% 0.09% 0.20% 0.32% 0.37% 0.40%

Composition of DAP and LDAP payments

In 2015, $372,327 in bonds or grants was withdrawn from RDSPs by or on behalf of beneficiaries. This amount represents only 2% of available DAPs and LDAPs (Table 21). In 2015, only withdrawals from Specified Disability Savings Plans would be free of Assistance Holdback Amounts, allowing grant and bond to be withdrawn.

Table 21: Grant and bond in DAP and LDAP payments
DAP and LDAP 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Bond/Grant paid in DAP $3,500 $3,781 $80,584 $89,388 $98,996 $232,158
Bond/Grant % of DAP 0.58% 0.07% 1.01% 1.08% 0.77% 1.35%
Bond/Grant paid in LDAP $0 $0 $0 $45,428 $78,437 $140,170
Bond/Grant % of LDAP 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 11.67% 9.19% 10.51%
Total bond/Grant in DAP and LDAP $3,500 $3,781 $80,584 $134,816 $177,433 $372,327
Total bond/Grant % of DAP and LDAP 0.58% 0.07% 0.98% 1.55% 1.29% 2.01%

DAP and LDAP age distribution

Figure 14 below shows the breakdown by age group of beneficiaries who received DAPs and LDAPs in 2015. On average, the number of DAPs increased with age. In particular, there was a significant increase in DAPs at ages 21 to 25 compared to younger ages, with the largest number of DAPs in the age 51 to 55 ranges.

It is important to note that LDAP payments, once started, must be paid at least annually until the beneficiary’s death, funds in the plan are exhausted, or the plan is terminated. LDAP payments must also begin no later than December 31 of the calendar year in which the beneficiary turns 60 years of age. This explains why there is a significantly higher number of LDAPs for beneficiaries aged 60 and older.

Figure 14: DAP and LDAP age distribution, 2015
Figure 14: DAP and LDAP age distribution, 2015: description follows
Text description

The graph illustrates the breakdown by age group of beneficiaries who received DAPs and LDAPs in 2015. In the 0 to 5 group, 13 beneficiaries received DAPs and 0 beneficiary received LDAPs; in the 6 to 10 group, 63 beneficiaries received DAPs and 0 beneficiary received LDAPs; in the 11 to 15 group, 85 beneficiaries received DAPs and 0 beneficiary received LDAPs; in the 16 to 20 group, 131 beneficiaries received DAPs and 1 beneficiary received LDAPs; in the 21 to 25 group, 247 beneficiaries received DAPs and 2 beneficiaries received LDAPs; in the 26 to 30 group, 142 beneficiaries received DAPs and 1 beneficiary received LDAPs; in the 31 to 35 group, 176 beneficiaries received DAPs and 2 beneficiaries received LDAPs; in the 36 to 40 group, 193 beneficiaries received DAPs and 2 beneficiaries received LDAPs; in the 41 to 45 group, 260 beneficiaries received DAPs and 7 beneficiaries received LDAPs; in the 46 to 50 group, 374 beneficiaries received DAPs and 8 beneficiaries received LDAPs; in the 51 to 55 group, 582 beneficiaries received DAPs and 15 beneficiaries received LDAPs; in the 56 to 59 group, 321 beneficiaries received DAPs and 8 beneficiaries received LDAPs; in the 60 and above group, 133 beneficiaries received DAPs and 510 beneficiaries received LDAPs;

Repayments

Table 22 shows that approximately $14.6 million in bond and grant repayments were made in 2015. Since the start of the program in 2008, over $35 million in repayments have been made. A complete explanation of grant and bond repayment rules is in section RDSP Withdrawals: Disability Assistance Payments and Long-Term Disability Assistance Payments.

Table 22: Repayments ($ million)
Repayments 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Annual bond repayments $0.1 $0.9 $1.2 $1.9 $2.6 $5.4
Annual grant repayments $0.2 $1.9 $2.3 $3.8 $5.4 $9.2
Annual total repayments $0.3 $2.8 $3.6 $5.7 $8.0 $14.6
Cumulative bond repayments $0.1 $1.0 $2.3 $4.2 $6.8 $12.2
Cumulative grant repayments $0.2 $2.1 $4.4 $8.2 $13.6 $22.8
Cumulative total repayments $0.3 $3.1 $6.7 $12.4 $20.5 $35.0

Outreach efforts

One of the main eligibility criteria to open an RDSP is that the plan beneficiary must qualify for the Disability Tax Credit (DTC). However, as shown in Table 10 - RDSP Take-up of DTC-Eligible Canadians – 2015, only 24.3% of DTC-eligible Canadians had opened a plan.

Although program take-up has surpassed original projections, in 2015 there remained some 335,300 Canadians with severe and prolonged disabilities who could potentially benefit. The Government of Canada undertakes a number of outreach activities to increase awareness and understanding of the program. These include:

  • providing information about the RDSP, grant and bond in letters mailed by CRA to individuals who have newly qualified, or re-qualified for the DTC;
  • contracting with non-government organizations to provide information sessions, as well as one-on-one support to apply for the DTC and open an RDSP;
  • exhibiting the program at conferences and events;
  • engaging stakeholders (for example meeting with disability organizations and other organizations to help them promote the program among the communities they serve);
  • e-mailing an RDSP newsletter about twice a year to over 5,000 community stakeholder organizations, and
  • developing and distributing communications products, such as brochures, fact sheets and on-line tools and resources.

In addition to these activities, in recent years ESDC has worked with CRA to undertake targeted mail-outs to DTC-eligible individuals to encourage them to open an RDSP, and explain the benefits of doing so. These targeted mail-outs have been particularly successful in increasing program take-up.

Figure 15 presents the number of new RDSPs opened per month since program data were first collected in January 2009. There is a significant increase in the number of newly registered plans in the months immediately following the mail-outs.

In November 2015, a targeted mail-out was conducted to approximately 327,000 DTC-eligible Canadians between the ages of 18 and 49. Letter recipients who were 48 and 49 years of age received a different letter than their younger counterparts, in which they were urged to act quickly, as time was limited for them to access carry-forward entitlements for grant and bond. These individuals were also offered the opportunity to participate in one of several teleconferences that would provide them with more detailed information, as well as a question and answer session. In December 2015 alone, 7,091 new plans were registered, which represented an increase of 400% over the same period in the previous year, as well as a record number of new plans opened in any month since the program was established.

The program intends to continue with these mail-outs, and to work with ESDC and CRA innovation labs to optimize the messaging in the letters, applying behavioural economics theories and practices, and designing experiments to assess the connection between increased program take-up and the mail-out campaigns.

Figure 15: New registered plans by month
Figure 15: New registered plans by month: description follows
Text description

The graph illustrates the number of new RDSPs opened per month from January 2009 to December 2015.

  • In 2009
    • January 8; February 3,099; March 4,498; April 5,487; May 596; June 322; July 521; August 586; September 1,305; October 2,046; November 2,130; December 4,182.
  • In 2010
    • January 1,537; February 1,641; March 1,644; April 1,468; May 1,067; June 1,042; July 1,329; August 973; September 864; October 1,068; November 1,329; December 2,318.
  • In 2011
    • January 892; February 726; March 1,186; April 1,264; May 864; June 544; July 697; August 954; September 890; October 780; November 984; December 2,166.
  • In 2012
    • January 820; February 960; March 1,092; April 1,216; May 1,036; June 1,078; July 937; August 966; September 875; October 801; November 1,158; December 1,513.
  • In 2013
    • January 1,329; February 970; March 985; April 1,069; May 1,055; June 1,283; July 1,240; August 1,149; September 1,164; October 1,371; November 1,255; December 1,798.
  • In 2014
    • January 1,324; February 2,134; March 1,958; April 1,765; May 1,684; June 1,465; July 1,515; August 1,277; September 1,343; October 1,434; November 1,087; December 1,969.
  • In 2015
    • January 893; February 1,080; March 1,784; April 1,462; May 1,499; June 1,218; July 999; August 1,290; September 1,182; October 1,196; November 4,235; December 7,091.
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