Canada Disability Savings Program - Annual statistical review 2016

From: Employment and Social Development Canada

Official title: Canada Disability Savings Program - Annual Statistical Review 2016

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List of tables
List of figures

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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 an RDSP is the individual who receives money from the plan in the future. A beneficiary can have only one RDSP at any given time.
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 an administrative term used to describe the Registered Disability Savings Plan, the Canada Disability Savings Grant and Canada Disability Savings Bond as a Government of Canada program.
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 RDSPs through the Income Tax Act. It also administers the disability tax credit which is a prerequisite to establishing eligibility for an RDSP.
DAP
A Disability Assistance Payment (DAP) is a lump-sum 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 that is licensed to provide trust services in Canada, and 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.
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%ages 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.

Year-over-year variances

Figures for previous years presented in this year’s Annual Statistical Review may not correspond precisely with last year’s report. Financial institutions will sometimes correct or reverse previous transactions causing small year-over-year variances in reported statistic.

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 these conditions, a beneficiary (or someone acting on his/her behalf) can open an RDSP up until December 31st of the year in which the beneficiary reaches 59 years of age; grants and bonds can be paid up until December 31st 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 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 contribute up to three times the amount of the private contribution. A grant may be paid into an RDSP up to December 31st 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 into a beneficiary RDSP 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 31st 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 into a beneficiary’s RDSP is $20,000.

Carry-forward

The carry-forward provision allows beneficiaries to access unused grant and bond 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 Sport and Persons with Disabilities has been delegated responsibility 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.

Quick facts

As of December 31, 2016, approximately 29% of Canadians aged 0 to 49 who were eligible to claim the DTC had opened an RDSP.

By the end of December 2016*:

  • 150,000+ plans were registered;
  • the Government of Canada had paid $1.43 billion in Grants and $663.8 million in Bonds;
  • total personal contributions amounted to $1,02 billion;
  • total assets held in RDSPs exceeded $3.3 billion and on average, each plan had $22,587 in assets.

(*these statistics are cumulative, that is since December 2008)

During 2016, there was:

  • an increase of 27,706 in registered plans;
  • $327.1 million paid out in Grants and $182.8 million paid out in Bonds;
  • $205.4 million in personal contributions made to registered plans;
  • $21.9 million paid out to beneficiaries in Disability Assistance Payments (DAPs), an average of $6,945 per DAP;
  • $2 million paid out in Lifetime Disability Assistance Payments (LDAPs), an average of $2,864 per LDAP.

1. Program highlights

Canadians are saving using RDSPs

Each year, more Canadians are using RDSPs to save for themselves, or someone with a disability. As of December 31, 2016, beneficiaries accumulated almost $3.3 billion in their RDSPs (Table 1). This is an increase of more than $771 million, or 30.6%, over the previous year. There was a $567 million increase between 2014 and 2015.

Table 1: RDSP high level summary
Description 2014 2015 2016 Change between 2015 and 2016
Total %
Number of beneficiaries with registered plans 99,000 123,019 150,726 27,706 22.5%
Total RDSP assets (in millions of dollars) $1,952 $2,519 $3,290 $770 30.6%
Average value per RDSP1 $19,988 $21,444 $22,587 $1,143 5.3%
Total contributions (annual) ($ million) $164.5 $173.1 $205.4 $32.3 18.7%
Average value of contributions2 (annual) $2,936 $2,602 $2,447 -$156 -6.0%
  • [1] The average value of RDSPs is calculated using the number of plans reported with a Fair Market Value (FMV) by the issuers. Not all issuers report FMV on all plans. Therefore, some registered plans may have been reported as having a zero value.
  • [2] Only includes positive private contributions, that is no zeros. Average is calculated based on number of distinct RDSPs receiving a private contribution.

Approximately 27,700 new RDSPs were registered in 2016, bringing the total number of registered plans to 150,726—the largest annual increase since the program was launched in 2008.

The average value of an RDSP rose by $1,143 between 2015 and 2016, an increase of 5.3%. The increase between 2014 and 2015 was 7.3%.

During this period, Canadians with an RDSP, or someone on their behalf, saved $205 million of their own money in their plans—an increase of 18.7% from 2015.

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 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).

Table 2: Canada Disability Savings Grant summary
Description 2014 2015 2016 Change between 2015 and 2016
Total %
Total annual grant paid (in millions of dollars) $233.0 $267.2 $327.1 $59.9 22.4%
Average annual grant paid1 $4,380 $4,235 $4,189 -$45.6 -1.1%
Percentage of beneficiaries receiving a grant 53.7% 51.3% 51.8% 0.5% 1.0%
  • [1] Only includes positive Grants, that is no zeros. Average is calculated based on number of distinct beneficiaries receiving a Grant.

In 2016, the Government paid a total of $327 million in grants—an increase of about $60 million, or 22.4% over the previous year (Table 2).

Canadian RDSP beneficiaries received an average grant of $4,189 in 2015, down slightly from the previous year. It is higher than the $3,500 maximum annual grant limit because RDSP beneficiaries are benefiting from the carry-forward provision. The proportion of beneficiaries receiving a grant in 2016 increased by 1.0% from the year before, and is now at 51.8%.

Canada Disability Savings Bond

The bond is money the Government of Canada will deposit into the RDSP of qualified low- to modest-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).

Table 3: Canada Disability Savings Bond summary
Description 2014 2015 2016 Change between 2015 and 2016
Total %
Total annual bond paid (in millions of dollars) $103.7 $139.3 $182.8 $43.6 31.3%
Average annual bond paid1 $1,831 $1,986 $2,122 $136.9 6.9%
Percentage of beneficiaries receiving a bond 57.2% 57.0% 57.1% 0.1% 0.2%
  • [1] Only includes positive Bonds, that is no zeros. Average is calculated based on number of distinct beneficiaries receiving a Bond.

In 2016, qualified low- to modest-income Canadians received $183 million in bonds, a 31.3% increase over the previous year (Table 3). The average annual amount of bond paid continued to grow, and now stands at $2,122, a 6.9% increase over 2015. 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 (due to the carry-forward provision). Bonds were paid into 57% of RDSPs, 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 lump-sum 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 31st of the year the beneficiary reaches 60 years of age.

In 2016, Disability Assistance Payments (DAPs) increased by $4.7 million to a total of $21.9 million (Table 4). Annual DAPs averaged $6,945, an increase of $868 (14.3%) from the previous year. Approximately 2% of RDSP beneficiaries received a DAP for 2016. Also in 2016, LDAPs rose by $0.7 million to $2 million—an increase of 52% from the year before. The average value of LDAPs (received by 0.47% of RDSP holders) was $2,864, an increase of $159 or 6% from the previous year.
Table 4: DAP and LDAP summary
Description 2014 2015 2016 Change between 2015 and 2016
Total %
Total annual DAP (in millions of dollars) $12.9 $17.2 $21.9 $4.7 27.2%
Average annual DAP1 $7,073 $6,077 $6,945 $867.9 14.3%
Percentage of RDSPs receiving a DAP 1.84% 2.30% 2.09% -0.2% -9.2%
Total annual LDAP (in millions of dollars) $0.9 $1.3 $2.0 $0.7 51.8%
Average annual LDAP1 $2,314 $2,705 $2,864 $159 5.9%
Percentage of RDSPs receiving a LDAP 0.37% 0.40% 0.47% 0.07% 17.0%
  • [1] Only includes positive DAPs/LDAPs, that is no zeros. Average is calculated based on number of distinct beneficiaries receiving a DAP/LDAP.

Conclusion

The CDSP saw significant growth in 2016, 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 modest- income Canadians accumulate savings.

2. Registered Disability Savings Plan 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.

2.1 RDSP beneficiary growth

RDSP take-up has been steadily increasing since the implementation of the program. As of December 31, 2016, 150,726 Canadians with disabilities had an RDSP, which represents a 22.5% increase over the previous year (Table 5).

Table 5: RDSP beneficiary growth
2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Total beneficiaries 24,774 41,060 53,007 65,457 80,136 99,000 123,019 150,726
Annual percentage growth n/a 65.7% 29.1% 23.5% 22.4% 23.5% 24.3% 22.5%

2.2 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 25.9% in 2016.

Men accounted for nearly 60% of beneficiaries, while women accounted for 40%. Appropriate data and additional investigations are needed to provide a strong explanation for this gap.

Approximately 88% of RDSP beneficiaries were English-speaking while about 12% 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 12.3% in 2016.

Table 6: RDSP beneficiary demographics
2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Age
0 to 18 20.8% 21.8% 24.1% 25.0% 27.0% 26.3% 26.7% 25.9%
19 to 34 31.6% 32.1% 31.9% 31.9% 31.2% 31.5% 31.2% 31.8%
35 to 49 43.6% 38.7% 34.7% 32.1% 29.7% 29.7% 29.8% 29.6%
50 + 3.9% 7.5% 9.3% 11.0% 12.0% 12.5% 12.3% 12.7%
Sex
Males n/a1 58.8% 59.0% 59.2% 59.5% 59.5% 59.6% 59.6%
Females n/a 41.2% 41.0% 40.8% 40.5% 40.5% 40.4% 40.4%
Language
English n/a 88.6% 89.4% 89.3% 89.1% 89.1% 89.1% 88.0%
French n/a 11.4% 10.6% 10.7% 10.9% 10.9% 10.9% 12.0%
Urban/ rural region
Urban 91.7% 90.3% 89.8% 89.4% 88.9% 88.5% 88.1% 87.7%
Rural 8.3% 9.7% 10.2% 10.6% 11.1% 11.5% 11.9% 12.3%
  • [1] The numbers above represented by “n/a” were unavailable.
  • [2] The Urban/Rural variable was derived using the Forward Sortation Area (FSA) provided by Statistics Canada and corresponding to the first segment of the postal code (for example J8Z). The second character in the segment is a number that takes on values 0 through 9, with 0 indicating rural areas and 1 to 9 indicating urban areas.

2.3 RDSP beneficiary provincial demographics

This subsection presents annual data on the provincial breakdown of RDSP beneficiaries. Figure 1 below shows the net trend in number of beneficiaries by province. Most beneficiaries were in Ontario where there was a total of 63,960 RDSPs as of December 31, 2016—a net increase of 11,178 from the year before.

Figure 1: Cumulative RDSPs by province and territory
Graphs comparing the proportions of Cumulative RDSPs by province and territory. Text version below.
Description of figure 1

The chart represents the number of beneficiaries with an RDSP by province, comparing 2015 to 2016.

In Ontario, the number of beneficiaries with an RDSP in 2016 was 63, 960 versus 52,782 in 2015.

In British Columbia, the number of beneficiaries with an RDSP in 2016 was 26,800 versus 22,709 in 2015.

In Quebec, the number of beneficiaries with an RDSP in 2016 was 22,156 versus 16,539 in 2015.

In Alberta, the number of beneficiaries with an RDSP in 2016 was 16,936 compared to 13,976 in 2015.

In Manitoba the number of beneficiaries with an RDSP in 2016 was 6,892 compared to 5,716 in 2015.

In Saskatchewan, the number of beneficiaries with an RDSP in 2016 was 4,170 versus 3,376 in 2015.

In Nova Scotia the number of beneficiaries with an RDSP in 2016 was 4,121 compared to 3,341 in 2015.

In New Brunswick, the number of beneficiaries with an RDSP was 2,568 in 2016 versus 2,028 in 2015.

In Newfoundland the number of beneficiaries with an RDSP was 2,020 in 2016 compared to 1,620 in 2015.

In Prince Edward Island the number of beneficiaries with an RDSP was 827 in 2016 and 691 in 2015.

In the territories (the North) the number of beneficiaries with an RDSP in 2016 was 248 compared to 211 in 2015.

Figure 2 presents the annual trend by province. In relative terms, Quebec showed the greatest rise in the number of RDSP holders, from 16,539 to 22,159 in the last year, or an increase of 34%.

Figure 2: Percentage increase in RDSPs from 2015 to 2016
Graphs comparing the proportions of Percentage increase in RDSPs from 2015 to 2016. Text version below.
Description of figure 2

The chart shows the percentage increase in beneficiaries with an RDSP from 2015 to 2016.

From 2015 to 2016, Ontario saw a 21.2% increase in the number of beneficiaries with a RDSP; British Columbia had an increase of 18.0%; Quebec had an increase of 34.0%; Alberta saw a 21.2% increase; Manitoba had an increase of 20.6%; Saskatchewan saw a 23.5% increase; Nova Scotia had an increase of 23.3%; New Brunswick had an increase of 26.6%; Newfoundland saw and increase of 24.7%, Prince Edward Island saw an increase of 19.7%; and the northern territories had an increase of 17.5%.

Table 7 presents detailed statistics by province regarding the age, gender, place of residence, and official language of beneficiaries.

The proportion of beneficiaries by age, gender and urban/rural split was similar across all regions.

Table 7: RDSP beneficiary provincial/territorial demographics, 2016
Demographics Alberta British Columbia Manitoba New Brunswick Newfoundland and Labrador North Nova Scotia Ontario Prince Edward Island Quebec Saskatchewan
Total beneficiaries 16,936 26,800 6,892 2,568 2,020 248 4,121 63,960 827 22,156 4,170
Age
0 to 18 28.3% 26.6% 20.5% 25.7% 24.2% 22.8% 23.2% 26.9% 23.3% 23.0% 25.2%
19 to 34 33.1% 31.4% 32.4% 29.8% 31.1% 30.8% 32.5% 31.6% 32.9% 31.4% 33.4%
35 to 49 27.0% 28.6% 32.2% 35.0% 36.6% 37.1% 34.1% 29.0% 33.4% 31.7% 29.3%
50 and Higher 11.6% 13.4% 14.9% 9.4% 8.1% 9.4% 10.2% 12.6% 10.4% 13.9% 12.1%
Gender
Female 40.2% 41.6% 40.5% 42.9% 40.3% 42.7% 41.9% 40.0% 38.5% 38.9% 42.5%
Male 59.8% 58.4% 59.5% 57.1% 59.7% 57.3% 58.1% 60.0% 61.5% 61.1% 57.5%
Language
English n/a1 n/a n/a 89.1% n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 21.8% n/a
French 10.9% 78.2%
Urban/Rural2
Rural 9.3% 8.1% 16.4% 0.2% 31.8% 26.2% 26.0% 12.0% 46.8% 11.9% 29.9%
Urban 90.7% 91.9% 83.6% 99.8% 68.2% 73.8% 74.0% 88.0% 53.2% 88.1% 70.1%
  • [1] Where “n/a” appears, numbers have been suppressed due to insufficient observations.
  • [2] The Urban/Rural variable was derived using the Forward Sortation Area (FSA) provided by Statistics Canada and corresponding to the first segment of the postal code (for example J8Z). The second character in the 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 below illustrates the RDSP take-up rates by DTC-eligible individuals, ages 0 to 49, by province and territory for the 2016 calendar year.

Figure 3: RDSP take-up rate for DTC-eligible individuals aged 0 to 49, by province/territory
Graphs comparing the proportions of RDSP take-up rate for DTC-eligible individuals aged 0 to 49, by province/territory. Text version below.
Description of figure 3

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 2016.

In 2016, the percentage of DTC eligible individuals aged 0 to 49 in Ontario who are the beneficiary of an RDSP was 30.3% an increase of 4.8% from 2015; in British Columbia 37.4% had an RDSP an increase of 4.4%; in Quebec 24.6% were a beneficiary which is an increase of 5.9% from 2015; 30.6% in Alberta an increase of 3.9% from 2015; 27.0% in Manitoba an increase of 4.0%; 29.5% in Saskatchewan an increase of 4.2%; 21.0% in Nova Scotia an increase of 3. 5% from 2015; 17.7% in New Brunswick an increase of 3.0% from 2015; 16.8% in Newfoundland an increase of 3.0%; 26.9 % in Prince Edward Island an increase of 4.1%; and in the northern territories, 20.6% of DTC eligible individuals age 0 to 49 had an RDSP an increase of 1.5% from 2015.

Figure 3 shows that all of the provinces and territories experienced an increase in RDSP take-up from 2015 to 2016, with the highest increase observed in Quebec (about 6 percentage points) and the lowest in the North (1.5 percentage points).

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 (37.4%) as a percentage of DTC eligible individuals in the province. This is consistent with last year.

2.4 Average age of new RDSP beneficiaries

In 2016, the average age of new RDSP beneficiaries at the time their plan was opened was slightly below 28 years of age.

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
2016 28
  • [1] Average age has been rounded to the nearest full year.

2.5 Beneficiary grant and bond eligibility

The amount of grant and bond that may be paid into an RDSP depends on the beneficiary’s family income as defined by the Income Tax Act. While no contributions are required for the bond, grant payment depends 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 family income level of RDSP beneficiaries, as reported to CRA, and corresponding grant and bond entitlements.

In 2016, no bond was payable to beneficiaries whose family income was $45,282 or greater (Levels 3 and 4), or for whom no income information was provided; partial bond was payable where family income was between $26,364 and $45,282 (Level 2), and 100% of bond was payable where family income was less than $26,364. Depending on the amount contributed to the RDSP, a maximum grant of $1,000 was payable to beneficiaries whose family income was greater than $90,563 (Level 4), or for whom no income information was provided. A maximum grant of up to $3,500 was payable to beneficiaries whose family income was $90,563 or less.

In 2016, the majority of beneficiaries (approximately 57%) had family incomes below $26,364 and roughly 11% had family incomes between $26,364 and $45,282. Therefore 68% 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, 2016
Income levels Percent of beneficiaries Bond entitlement Maximum grant eligibility
Level 1 < $26,364 56.6% $1,000 $3,500
Level 2 $26,364 to $45,282 10.7% < $1,0002 $3,500
Level 3 $45,282 to $90,563 14.6% None $3,500
Level 4 > $90,563 11.9% None $1,000
Other1 6.3% 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 = $26,364 ; C = $45,282

2.6 Identity of RDSP holder

Figure 4 below shows the breakdown of RDSP holders who were legal parents, who accounted for approximately 41% 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 21% of the holders.

Figure 4: Plan holder identity
Graphs comparing the proportions of Plan holder identity. Text version below.
Description of figure 4

The pie chart shows the percentage break-down of RDSP holders by type.

In 2016, 41% of RDSP holders were the legal parent of the beneficiary; 38% were the beneficiary him/herself; 14 % were a legal guardian; and 7% were an institution.

3. Disability tax credit: take-up of RDSPs

3.1 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 CRA. CRA provides DTC information to ESDC annually. RDSP take-up rates in the table below are therefore calculated using the number of beneficiaries as of December 2016 as a percentage of DTC-eligible individuals over the same period.

Table 10: RDSP take up of DTC eligible Canadians – 2016
RDSP beneficiaries Individuals who are DTC eligible Take-up rate
2015 2016
Age
0 to 18 39,036 204,771 16.4% 19.1%
19 to 34 47,918 131,252 30.1% 36.5%
35 to 49 44,640 117,870 31.6% 37.9%
Total 0 to 49 131,594 453,893 24.3% 29.0%
Gender1
Female 51,485 152,032 28.5% 33.9%
Male 80,109 250,233 27.0% 32.0%
Language
English 116,296 382,254 25.9% 30.4%
French 15,298 71,638 16.1% 21.4%
Urban/Rural2
Urban 115,086 375,577 25.8% 30.6%
Rural 16,508 78,315 17.2% 21.1%
  • [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 to 9 indicating urban areas.

Overall, as shown in Table 10, the proportion of DTC-eligible individuals who are RDSP beneficiaries increased by about 5 percentage points from 24.3% in 2015 to 29.0% in 2016. This increase was also observed within each subgroup.

More specifically, however, 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 (36.5%) and the age category 35 to 49 (37.9%). By contrast, the take-up rate for beneficiaries aged 0 to 18 was only about half that of other age groups at 19.1%.

The take-up rate was relatively consistent for female (33.9%) and male (32.0%) RDSP beneficiaries. However, this result should be viewed with some caution given the frequency of missing values for the gender variable in the DTC data.

4. 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 Government each month. The following statistics are based on this data.

4.1 Total RDSP assets by year

By December 31, 2016, RDSPs contained over $3.3 billion in assets, which is an increase of over $809 million compared to 2015. This is consistent with growth in total RDSP assets since 2010 (Figure 5).

Figure 5: Total value of RDSP assets by year ($ millions)
Graphs comparing the proportions of Total value of RDSP assets by year ($ millions). Text version below.
Description of figure 5

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 2016. 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 2015, the total asset value of active RDSPs was $1.952 billion; in 2015, the total asset value of RDSP increased to $2.519 billion; and in 2016, the total asset value of active RDSPs was $3.329 billion.

4.2 Average value of RDSP assets by year

In 2016, the average value of RDSPs increased by $806 to reach $22,250 (Figure 6).

Figure 6: Average value of RDSP assets by year
Graphs comparing the proportions of Average value of RDSP assets by year. Text version below.
Description of figure 6

The graph illustrates the average asset value for RDSPs, by year. The totals are in dollars and the period is from 2010 to 2016. 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 2015 the average asset value of RDSPs increased to 19,988; in 2015, the average asset value of RDSPs increased to $21,444; and in 2016, the average value increased to $22,250.

4.3 Average value of RDSP assets by province and territory

The average value of RDSP 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 ($25,969), British Columbia ($24,300), and Saskatchewan ($23,644). The average value of RDSP assets was lower than the Canadian average ($22,250) in the four Atlantic provinces.

Figure 7: Average value of RDSP assets by province and territory, 2016
Graphs comparing the proportions of Average value of RDSP assets by province and territory, 2016. Text version below.
Description of figure 7

The graph illustrates the average asset value of RDSPs by province and territory in 2016. The totals are in dollars. In 2016, Alberta had an average RSDP asset value of $25,969; in British Columbia, the average RDSP asset value was $24,300; in Manitoba, the average RDSP asset value was $21,358; in New Brunswick, the average asset value in RDSPs was $18,952; in Newfoundland, the average RDSP asset value was $19,451; in the northern territories, the average RDSP asset value was $21,275; in Nova Scotia, the average value of assets in RDSPs was 19,301; in Ontario, the average asset value of RDSPs was $23,333; in Prince Edward Island, the average RDSP asset value was $19,116; in Quebec the average value of assets in RDSPs was $17,363; and in Saskatchewan, the average value of assets in RDSPs was $23,644.

4.4 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 value were not counted.

For minors aged 0 to 18, the average value of their RDSPs as of December 2016 was $14,949. These had a cumulative value of $564 million, which represents 17% of all assets held in RDSPs.

Beneficiaries in the 19 to 34 age group saved an average of $25,849 for a total of more than $1.2 billion, or 36% of all assets held—the highest average and total assets for all age groups.

Beneficiaries aged 35 to 49 saved an average of $25,839 for a total of $1.1 billion, or 34% of all assets held in RDSPs. Lastly, beneficiaries aged 50 and over saved an average of $22,586 for a total of $424 million, or 13% of all assets.

Table 11: Total and average value of RDSP assets by age
Age Beneficiaries Average RDSP value Total assests
Number of beneficiaries % Total assests in millions of dollars %
0 to 18 37,727 26 $14,949 $564 17
19 to 34 46,181 32 $25,849 $1,194 36
35 to 49 42,715 29 $25,839 $1,104 34
50 and over 18,827 13 $22,503 $424 13
Total 145,450 100 $22,586 $3,285 100

5. 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 family income. A maximum of $200,000 may be contributed over the beneficiary’s lifetime. There is no annual contribution limit.

5.1 Annual and average RDSP contributions

In 2016, $205 million was contributed to the RDSPs of Canadians with disabilities (Table 12). This represents an 18.7% increase over 2015. The cumulative total amount of contributions was more than $1 billion by the end of 2016. The average annual contribution amount was $2,447, a 6% decrease compared to 2015.

Table 12: Annual and average RDSP contributions
Description 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Total annual contributions (in millions of dollars) $54.8 $83.2 $91.3 $114.1 $129.0 $164.5 $173.1 $205.4
Total cumulative contributions (in millions of dollars) $54.8 $138.0 $229.3 $343.4 $472.5 $637.0 $810.1 $1,015.5
Average annual contribution amount1 $3,223 $2,905 $2,740 $2,917 $2,798 $2,936 $2,602 $2,447
  • [1] Only includes positive value contributions, that is no zeros. Average is calculated based on number of distinct beneficiaries receiving a contribution.

5.2 Average RDSP contribution per beneficiary by province and territory

In 2016, average annual RDSP contributions varied widely from region to region (Figure 8). Alberta, Ontario, and Saskatchewan had the highest annual averages with Alberta at $3,012, Ontario at $2,495 and Saskatchewan at $2,356 for 2016. The Atlantic provinces, the North, and Manitoba average contributions were below $2,000. Nova Scotia beneficiaries contributed an average of $1,847, while those in Newfoundland and Labrador contributed $1,816.

Figure 8: Average RDSP contribution per beneficiary by province and territory, 2016
Graphs comparing the proportions of Average RDSP contribution per beneficiary by province and territory, 2016. Text version below.
Description of figure 8

The graph illustrates the average RDSP contribution per beneficiary by province and territory in 2016. The totals are in dollars. In 2016, Alberta had an average RDSP contribution per beneficiary of $3,012; in British Columbia, the average RDSP contribution per beneficiary was $2,306; in Manitoba, the average RDSP contribution per beneficiary was $1,911; in New Brunswick, the average RDSP contribution per beneficiary was $2,209; in Newfoundland the average RDSP contribution per beneficiary was $1,816; in the northern territories, the average RDSP contribution was $1,970; in Nova Scotia, the average RDSP contribution was $1,847; in Ontario, the average RDSP contribution per beneficiary was $2,495; in Prince Edward Island, the average RDSP contribution per beneficiary was $1,905; in Quebec, the average RDSP contribution per beneficiary was $2,252; and in Saskatchewan, the average RDSP contribution per beneficiary was $2,356.

5.3 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 2016, or had a contribution made on their behalf. This rate increased from that of 2015 in Manitoba, Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta, while it declined in other provinces. Alberta had the highest rate (64.0%) while Quebec still remained the lowest (about 52%). However, it is important to note that Quebec had the highest and only increase in percentage since 2009 – from 27.9% in 2009 to 51.6% in 2016, while the percentage dropped for all other juridictions, with Newfoundland/Labrador experiencing the biggest drop – from 84.4% in 2009 to 57.2% in 2016.

Overall, relatively fewer Canadians a

Table 13: Annual percentage of beneficiaries who made contributions or for whom contributions were made on their behalf by province and territory, age 0 to 49
Province 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Canada 71.7% 72.9% 68.3% 65.8% 64.2% 63.2% 60.3% 60.5%
Alberta 78.9% 79.4% 70.2% 68.2% 68.3% 67.1% 64.0% 64.4%
British Columbia 81.6% 81.2% 71.7% 68.0% 66.2% 63.6% 61.7% 61.4%
Manitoba 78.6% 72.7% 68.7% 67.2% 65.5% 64.6% 61.3% 62.0%
New Brunswick 79.5% 77.5% 72.5% 69.5% 65.3% 61.8% 59.6% 54.0%
Newfoundland and Labrador 84.4% 87.3% 76.2% 71.0% 67.2% 62.9% 61.6% 57.2%
North 83.3% 77.2% 70.4% 71.1% 69.1% 65.6% 65.1% 59.0%
Nova Scotia 77.5% 80.8% 72.5% 68.3% 62.1% 61.1% 59.1% 55.2%
Ontario 80.6% 78.2% 73.6% 69.3% 66.9% 66.1% 61.8% 62.6%
Prince Edward Island 71.6% 83.8% 69.5% 63.8% 58.6% 57.1% 52.8% 52.4%
Quebec 27.9% 35.9% 42.0% 45.9% 47.8% 49.9% 49.9% 51.6%
Saskatchewan 82.6% 78.6% 71.0% 68.3% 65.2% 64.6% 61.3% 63.1%

re making contributions to RDSPs than they did when the program first became available.

5.4 Annual and average RDSP contributions per beneficiary by age

Table 14 below breaks down contributions by age group. For beneficiaries aged 0 to 18, $43.9 million, or 20.1% of a total $218.2 million was contributed in 2016. For those aged 19 to 34, $72.4 million (33.2%) was contributed, while for those aged 35 to 49, $75.7 million (34.7%) 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 $12,243. This accounts for more than $26 million, or 12.0% of the total, even though this age group accounts for just 2.6% of contributors (2,142 beneficiaries).

Table 14: RDSP contributions by age, 2016
Age Total contributions ($ million) % Contributing beneficiaries % Average contribution1
0 to18 $43.9 20.1% 23,387 28.4% $1,876
19 to 34 $72.4 33.2% 29,524 35.9% $2,453
35 to 49 $75.7 34.7% 27,157 33.0% $2,786
50 and over $26.2 12.0% 2,142 2.6% $12,243
Total $218.2 100.0% 82,210 100.0% $2,654
  • [1] Only includes positive contributions, that is no zeros. Average is calculated based on number of distinct beneficiaries receiving a Contribution.

5.5 Distribution of RDSP contribution amounts

Figure 9 below categorizes the 80,201 RDSP contributions in 2016 by level of contribution. Most annual contributions (64.6%) were $1,500 or less, accounting for nearly 51,781 beneficiaries. Contributions between $1,500 and $3,000 accounted for 14.1% of all beneficiaries, while 16.7% were between $3,000 and $5,000. Contributions between $5,000 and $10,000 accounted for 3.3% of beneficiaries (2,656 people). More than $10,000 was contributed for 1.4% of beneficiaries.

Figure 9: Distribution of RDSP contribution amounts, 2016
Graphs comparing the proportions of distribution of RDSP contribution amounts, 2016. Text version below.
Description of figure 9

The pie chart shows the break-down of RDSP contribution amounts in 2016. The totals are in dollars. In 2016, 65% of RDSP contribution amounts were between $0 and $1,500; 14% were between $1,500 and $3,000; 17% were between $3,000 and $5,000; 3% were between $5,000 and $10,000; 1% were above $10,000.

5.6 Rollovers

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

In 2016, only 12 rollovers into RDSPs were recorded for a total amount of about $200,000 and an average value of approximately $16,000. The amount of rollovers ranged from $100 to $90,000.

6. Canada Disability Savings Grant

6.1 Annual and average Canada Disability Savings Grant payments

Between 2015 and 2016, total government grants disbursed into RDSPs continued to grow from $267 million to $327.1 million. Since the inception of the CDSP in 2008, over $1.4 billion has been paid out through the Canada Disability Savings Grant.

The average grant amount paid in 2016 was $4,189; its lowest level since 2011 (Table 15).

Table 15: Annual and average RDSP grants
Description 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Total annual grants paid (in millions of dollars) $64.2 $89.3 $134.2 $163.1 $187.2 $233.0 $267.2 $327.1
Total cumulative grants paid (in millions of dollars) $64.2 $153.5 $287.7 $450.8 $638.0 $871.0 $1,138.2 $1,465.2
Average annual grant amount1 $3,890 $3,308 $4,209 $4,382 $4,280 $4,380 $4,235 $4,189
  • [1] Only includes positive grants, that is no zeros. Average is calculated based on number of distinct beneficiaries receiving a grant.

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

Figure 10 below shows average grant amounts paid into beneficiaries’ RDSPs in 2016 by province and territory. The national average grant payment for 2016 was $4,189. The total annual grant entitlement a beneficiary can receive in respect of any particular year is $3,500; however, RDSP beneficiaries can also receive grant from 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 is $10,500.

Alberta ($4,261), Prince Edward Island ($4,230), Quebec ($4,447), and Saskatchewan ($4,306) have average grant payments above the national average. Quebec had the highest average grant payments, at $4,477.New Brunswick and Newfoundland had the lowest average grants at $3,806 and $3,784 respectively.

Figure 10: Average grant payment per beneficiary by province and territory, 2016
Graphs comparing the proportions of Average grant payment per beneficiary by province and territory, 2016. Text version below.
Description of figure 10

The graph illustrates the average grant payment per beneficiary by province and territory in 2016. The totals are in dollars. In 2016, Alberta had an average grant payment per beneficiary of $4,261; in British Columbia, the average grant payment per beneficiary was $4,100; in Manitoba, the average grant payment per beneficiary was $3,901; in New Brunswick, the average grant payment per beneficiary was $3,806; in Newfoundland, the average grant payment per beneficiary was $3,784; in the Northern Territories, the average grant payment per beneficiary was $3,901; in Nova Scotia, the average grant payment per beneficiary was $4,001; in Ontario, the average grant payment per beneficiary was $4,187; in Prince Edward Island, the average grant payment per beneficiary was $4,230; in Quebec the average grant payment per beneficiary was $4,477; and in Saskatchewan, the average grant payment per beneficiary was $4,306.

6.3 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. 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 100% for new plans. As the proportion of new plans to existing plans decreases over time, the contribution rate will also decrease.

Saskatchewan and Quebec are the two provinces that saw the highest increase in their contribution rates between 2015 and 2016. Alberta had the highest percentage of beneficiaries receiving grants at 55.7%. Quebec had the lowest percentage of beneficiaries receiving grants, at 43.8%. Yet, Quebec had the only increase in percentage since 2009 – from 25.6% in 2009 to 41.3% in 2016, while the percentage dropped for all other juridictions, with Saskatchewan experiencing the biggest drop – from 78.6% in 2009 to 54.6% in 2016 (about a 24 percentage point drop).

Overall, relatively fewer Canadians are receiving grants than they did when the program first became available.

Table 16: Annual percentage of beneficiaries by province and territory who received a grant
Province 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Canada 66.6% 65.8% 60.2% 56.9% 54.6% 53.7% 51.3% 51.8%
Alberta 73.8% 72.4% 62.6% 59.6% 58.4% 57.3% 54.8% 55.7%
British Columbia 76.0% 74.1% 63.4% 58.7% 56.4% 54.0% 52.4% 52.1%
Manitoba 75.8% 66.3% 59.8% 57.5% 54.4% 53.8% 50.5% 51.9%
New Brunswick 70.0% 73.9% 67.6% 63.1% 58.8% 55.8% 53.0% 47.5%
Newfoundland and Labrador 74.4% 83.3% 71.3% 65.8% 61.8% 57.7% 56.0% 50.8%
North 76.0% 68.8% 60.4% 58.2% 59.3% 56.5% 57.8% 51.6%
Nova Scotia 68.6% 74.8% 65.9% 60.7% 54.7% 53.2% 52.0% 47.8%
Ontario 74.5% 69.9% 64.4% 59.9% 56.9% 56.2% 52.6% 53.5%
Prince Edward Island 64.7% 80.6% 64.3% 58.7% 52.1% 49.9% 46.6% 45.6%
Quebec 25.6% 31.2% 34.9% 37.6% 38.6% 40.5% 41.3% 43.8%
Saskatchewan 78.6% 72.1% 65.1% 61.0% 56.7% 55.7% 52.6% 54.6%

7. Canada Disability Savings Bond

7.1 Annual and average Canada Disability Savings Bond payments

The total amount of government bonds paid under the CDSP continued to grow, from $139 million in 2015 to $183 million in 2016 (Table 17). Since the beginning of the program, more than $680 million has been paid out through Canada Disability Savings Bonds. These bonds averaged $2,122 in 2016, which is an increase of $136 from 2015. 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 2016
Total annual bonds paid (in millions of dollars) $25.7 $30.0 $63.0 $62.4 $75.6 $103.7 $139.3 $182.8
Total cumulative bonds paid (in millions of dollars) $25.7 $55.7 $118.7 $181.1 $256.7 $360.4 $499.7 $682.5
Average annual bond amount1 $1,555 $1,137 $1,864 $1,532 $1,617 $1,831 $1,986 $2,122
  • [1] Only includes positive Bonds, that is no zeros. Average is calculated based on number of distinct beneficiaries receiving a Bond.

7.2 Average Canada Disability Savings Bond payments by province and territory

Figure 11 below lists average bond amounts by province and for the North for 2016. The national average is $2,122. 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 $1,790 and Quebec has the highest average bonds at $2,674.

Figure 11: Average bond payment per beneficiary by province and territory, 2016
Graphs comparing the proportions of Average bond payment per beneficiary by province and territory, 2016. Text version below.
Description of figure 11

The graph illustrates the average bond payment per beneficiary by province and territory in 2016. The totals are in dollars. In 2016, Alberta had an average bond payment per beneficiary of $2,058; in British Columbia, the average bond payment per beneficiary was $1,907; in Manitoba, the average bond payment per beneficiary was $2,032; in New Brunswick, the average bond payment per beneficiary was $2,103; in Newfoundland, the average bond payment per beneficiary was $2,177; in the Northern Territories, the average bond payment per beneficiary was $1,790; in Nova Scotia, the average bond payment per beneficiary was $2,106; in Ontario, the average bond payment per beneficiary was $2,096; in Prince Edward Island, the average bond payment per beneficiary was $1,900; in Quebec the average bond payment per beneficiary was $2,674; and in Saskatchewan, the average bond payment per beneficiary was $2,075.

7.3 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 2016.

For the country as a whole, 57.0% of RDSP beneficiaries received either a partial or full bond in 2016—the same proportion as the previous year. The percentage of beneficiaries receiving bond has been consistently decreasing year-over-year. When a plan is first opened, the program calculates bond entitlements from the previous ten years, so the probability is very high that the beneficiary will receive a bond payment. However, as the proportion of new plans to older plans decreases over time, the percentage of beneficiaries receiving a bond will also decrease.

Quebec was the province with the highest percentage of RDSP beneficiaries receiving a bond, at 64.9%. Alberta was the province with the lowest percentage, with 51.9% of RDSP beneficiaries receiving a bond.

Table 18: Annual percentage of beneficiaries by province and territory who received a bond
Province 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Canada 66.6% 64.2% 63.8% 62.2% 58.3% 57.1% 57.0% 57.0%
Alberta 66.5% 61.9% 62.7% 60.0% 54.3% 52.5% 51.4% 51.9%
British Columbia 65.6% 66.6% 65.5% 64.4% 60.9% 58.5% 57.6% 56.1%
Manitoba 77.8% 71.3% 69.3% 64.1% 60.9% 59.6% 57.5% 57.6%
New Brunswick 44.2% 51.4% 57.9% 55.6% 54.6% 56.1% 56.2% 54.6%
Newfoundland and Labrador 55.9% 60.9% 65.8% 64.6% 59.9% 58.0% 59.1% 55.0%
North 48.0% 61.3% 58.9% 56.5% 57.1% 57.2% 54.2% 55.2%
Nova Scotia 47.7% 60.2% 62.9% 63.1% 59.5% 58.5% 60.5% 57.3%
Ontario 58.4% 60.7% 60.9% 60.5% 56.6% 56.1% 56.0% 55.8%
Prince Edward Island 52.2% 64.5% 70.8% 67.7% 60.6% 57.8% 59.5% 56.2%
Quebec 84.6% 71.8% 69.7% 66.4% 63.2% 62.0% 63.3% 64.9%
Saskatchewan 62.8% 61.6% 62.7% 60.1% 55.3% 54.3% 55.8% 55.7%

8. Canada Disability Savings Grant and bond distribution

8.1 Cumulative grants, bonds and contributions

Three types of funds can be placed into an RDSP: Canada Disability Savings Grants, Canada Disability Savings Bonds, and private 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 earnings.

As of December 31, 2016, approximately $1.015 billion (or 32% of the cumulative total) in private contributions had been made to RDSPs since the program first became available. Another $1.465 billion (46% of the total) in grants, and $682 million in bonds (22% of the total) had been paid into these RDSPs by the Government of Canada.

Figure 12 shows a gradual decline in private contributions as a proportion of the cumulative total, shifting from 40% in 2010 to 32% in 2016.

Figure 12: Cumulative bonds, grants, and contributions ($ millions)
Graphs comparing the proportions of Cumulative bonds, grants, and contributions ($ millions). Text version below.
Description of figure 12

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 (that is 16% of the cumulative total of bonds, grants and contributions); the cumulative grant amount was $154 million (that is 44% of the cumulative total of bonds, grants and contributions); the cumulative contribution amount was $138 million (that is 40% of the cumulative total of bonds, grants and contributions).
  • In 2011, the cumulative bond amount was $119 million (that is 19% of the cumulative total of bonds, grants and contributions); the cumulative grant amount was $288 million (that is 45% of the cumulative total of bonds, grants and contributions); the cumulative contribution amount was $229 million (that is 36% of the cumulative total of bonds, grants and contributions).
  • In 2012, the cumulative bond amount was $181 million (that is 19% of the cumulative total of bonds, grants and contributions); the cumulative grant amount was $451 million (that is 46% of the cumulative total of bonds, grants and contributions); the cumulative contribution amount was $343 million (that is 35% of the cumulative total of bonds, grants and contributions).
  • In 2013, the cumulative bond amount was $257 million (that is 19% of the cumulative total of bonds, grants and contributions); the cumulative grant amount was $638 million (that is 47% of the cumulative total of bonds, grants and contributions); the cumulative contribution amount was $472 million (that is 34% of the cumulative total of bonds, grants and contributions).
  • In 2014, the cumulative bond amount was $360 million (that is 19% of the cumulative total of bonds, grants and contributions); the cumulative grant amount was $871 million (that is 47% of the cumulative total of bonds, grants and contributions); the cumulative contribution amount was $637 million (that is 34% of the cumulative total of bonds, grants and contributions).
  • In 2015, the cumulative bond amount was $500 million (that is 20% of the cumulative total of bonds, grants and contributions); the cumulative grant amount was $1,138 million (that is 47% of the cumulative total of bonds, grants and contributions); the cumulative contribution amount was $810 million (that is 33% of the cumulative total of bonds, grants and contributions).
  • In 2016, the cumulative bond amount was $682 million (that is 22% of the cumulative total of bonds, grants and contributions); the cumulative grant amount was $1,465 million (that is 46% of the cumulative total of bonds, grants and contributions); the cumulative contribution amount was $1,015million (that is 32% of the cumulative total of bonds, grants and contributions).

8.2 Grant and bond distribution, 2008 to 2016

As illustrated in Figure 13, since the launch of the CDSP, 18.4% of currently registered beneficiaries received at least one bond but no grants; 18.7% received at least one grant, but no bonds; and 57.3% received at least one bond and a grant (not necessarily in the same year). As of December 31, 2016, 5.5% of currently registered beneficiaries have received neither a bond nor a grant.

Figure 13: Lifetime grant and bond distribution
Graphs comparing the proportions of Lifetime grant and bond distribution. Text version below.
Description of figure 13

The chart shows the break-down of lifetime bond and grant payments. In 2016, 18.4% of RDSP holders received only bond payments; 57.3% received both band and grant payments; 18.7% received only grant payments; 5.5% received neither bond payment nor grant payments.

8.3 Grant and bond provincial/territorial distribution, 2016

In 2016, 73.4 % of RDSP beneficiaries received either a grant (17.3%) or a bond (22.9%), or both (33.3%). Conversely, 26.6% 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, 2016
Province No bond or grant Grant only Bond only Grant and bond Grant or bond
Canada 26.6% 17.3% 22.9% 33.3% 73.4%
Alberta 27.8% 21.1% 17.8% 33.3% 72.2%
British Columbia 27.2% 17.3% 21.9% 33.5% 72.8%
Manitoba 27.2% 15.8% 21.7% 35.2% 72.8%
New Brunswick 26.9% 19.1% 26.3% 27.6% 73.1%
Newfoundland and Labrador 26.2% 19.3% 23.8% 30.6% 73.8%
North 25.8% 19.4% 22.6% 32.3% 74.2%
Nova Scotia 27.2% 16.1% 26.1% 30.6% 72.8%
Ontario 27.2% 17.8% 20.6% 34.4% 72.8%
Prince Edward Island 27.0% 17.4% 28.9% 26.7% 73.0%
Quebec 23.0% 12.6% 33.7% 30.7% 77.0%
Saskatchewan 25.2% 19.7% 21.7% 33.3% 74.8%

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 terminated. 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 by a pre-determined formula that is based on a range of criteria, 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 Assistance Holdback Amount rules apply equally in both cases.

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.

9.1 Annual and average DAPs and LDAPs

In 2016, nearly $22 million was paid out through 3,150 DAPs with an average value of $6,945. This represents an increase of approximately 27% in the net value of DAPs compared to 2015 ($17.2 million). Likewise, $2.0 million was paid out through 707 LDAPs with an average value of $2,864, an increase of almost 54% in the net value of LDAPs in comparison to 2015 ($1.3 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
2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Total DAP ($ million) $0.6 $5.5 $8.0 $8.3 $12.9 $17.2 $21.9
Total LDAP ($ million) $0.0 $0.1 $0.2 $0.4 $0.9 $1.3 $2.0
Total DAP and LDAP ($ million) $0.6 $5.6 $8.2 $8.7 $13.7 $18.5 $23.9
Cumulative DAP and LDAP ($ million) $0.6 $6.2 $14.4 $23.1 $36.9 $55.4 $79.3
Average DAP $3,751 $4,952 $6,073 $6,223 $7,073 $6,077 $6,945
Average LDAP $488 $1,824 $1,711 $1,526 $2,314 $2,705 $2,864
Percent of beneficiaries receiving a DAP 0.39% 2.11% 2.01% 1.67% 1.84% 2.30% 2.09%
Percent of beneficiaries receiving a LDAP 0.02% 0.09% 0.20% 0.32% 0.37% 0.40% 0.47%

9.2 Composition of DAP and LDAP payments

In 2016, $646,488 in bonds and grants were withdrawn from RDSPs by or on behalf of beneficiaries. This amount represents only 2.7% of the value of all DAPs and LDAPs (Table 21). To date only withdrawals from Specified Disability Savings Plans would have been free of Assistance Holdback Amounts, allowing grant and bond to be withdrawn.

Table 21: Grant and bond in DAP and LDAP payments
2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Bond/Grant paid in DAP $3,500 $3,781 $80,584 $89,388 $98,996 $232,158 $439,116
Bond/grant % of DAP 0.58% 0.07% 1.01% 1.08% 0.77% 1.35% 2.01%
Bond/grant paid in LDAP $0 $0 $0 $45,428 $78,437 $140,170 $207,373
Bond/grant % of LDAP 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 11.67% 9.19% 10.51% 10.24%
Total bond/grant in DAP and LDAP $3,500 $3,781 $80,584 $134,816 $177,433 $372,327 $646,488
Total bond/grant % of DAP and LDAP 0.58% 0.07% 0.98% 1.55% 1.29% 2.01% 2.70%

9.3 DAP and LDAP age distribution

Figure 14 below shows the breakdown by age group of beneficiaries who received DAPs and LDAPs in 2016. 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 range.

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 31st 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, 2016
Graphs comparing the proportions of DAP and LDAP age distribution, 2016. Text version below.
Description of figure 14

The graph illustrates the breakdown by age group of beneficiaries who received DAPs and LDAPs in 2016. In the 0 to 5 group, 13 beneficiaries received DAPs and 0 beneficiary received LDAPs; in the 6 to 10 group, 90 beneficiaries received DAPs and 0 beneficiary received LDAPs; in the 11 to 15 group, 143 beneficiaries received DAPs and 1 beneficiary received LDAPs; in the 16 to 20 group, 157 beneficiaries received DAPs and 0 beneficiary received LDAPs; in the 21 to 25 group, 392 beneficiaries received DAPs and 4 beneficiaries received LDAPs; in the 26 to 30 group, 185 beneficiaries received DAPs and 4 beneficiary received LDAPs; in the 31 to 35 group, 199 beneficiaries received DAPs and 3 beneficiaries received LDAPs; in the 36 to 40 group, 242 beneficiaries received DAPs and 193 beneficiaries received LDAPs; in the 41 to 45 group, 271 beneficiaries received DAPs and 224 beneficiaries received LDAPs; in the 46 to 50 group, 429beneficiaries received DAPs and 12 beneficiaries received LDAPs; in the 51 to 55 group, 533 beneficiaries received DAPs and 280 beneficiaries received LDAPs; in the 56 to 59 group, 324 beneficiaries received DAPs and 10 beneficiaries received LDAPs; in the 60 and above group, 196 beneficiaries received DAPs and 646 beneficiaries received LDAPs.

9.4 Repayments

Table 22 shows that approximately $18.0 million in bond and grant repayments were made in 2016 . Since the start of the program in 2008, over $53 million in repayments have been made. A complete explanation of grant and bond repayment rules is in section 9. RDSP Withdrawals: Disability Assistance Payments and Long-Term Disability Assistance Payments.

Table 22: Repayments ($ million)
2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Annual bond repayments $0.1 $0.9 $1.2 $1.9 $2.6 $5.4 $6.5
Annual grant repayments $0.2 $1.9 $2.3 $3.8 $5.4 $9.1 $11.5
Annual total repayments $0.3 $2.8 $3.5 $5.7 $8.0 $14.5 $18.0
Cumulative bond repayments $0.1 $1.0 $2.2 $4.2 $6.8 $12.2 $18.7
Cumulative grant repayments $0.2 $2.1 $4.4 $8.2 $13.6 $22.6 $34.2
Cumulative total repayments $0.3 $3.1 $6.6 $12.3 $20.3 $34.8 $52.8
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