2015 CESP Annual Statistical Review

About this report

Each year, Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) produces the Annual Statistical Review (ASR) of the Canada Education Savings Program (CESP). The 2015 ASR provides statistics on Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs) and the education savings incentives for the period between January 1 and December 31, 2015, as well as annual and cumulative historical data.

The ASR is primarily concerned with statistical information relating to beneficiaries who have received a Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG) or Canada Learning Bond (CLB) payment.

Data sources: The CESP's Reporting Database, which compiles CESG and CLB data provided by RESP promoters, is the primary source of data used in the production of this report.

Dates: The date on which a transaction between an RESP subscriber and an RESP promoter (transaction date) took place was used for the calculation of both the CESG and the Education Assistance Payments (EAPs); whereas the CLB statistics are calculated based on the processing date, which is the date on which the incentive was paid by the Government of Canada to RESP accounts.

Rounding: Due to rounding decimal points, numbers presented throughout this report may not add up precisely and may not always exactly reflect the absolute figures.

Historical data: The ASR updates historical data (with the exception of RESP assets, which do not change). Thus, the 2015 edition of the ASR supersedes previous editions. The updating of previous years' numbers is required due to the nature of financial transactions. These transactions may have reversals, repayments, data errors or reporting by financial institutions that may have been delayed. As a result, data reported in previous years may change slightly. For example, subscribers may apply for and beneficiaries may receive incentives from prior years in which they were entitled, which would appear in the CESP's administrative database in the current year. Another example is that promoters may report transactions up to three years after they have taken place.

For some statistics, the number of years of historical data reported varies due to space limitations. Readers who require data from earlier years should contact the CESP at 1-888-276-3624 or send us message.

Terms and definitions: Additional information regarding terms and definitions used in this report can be found at the end of the report.

Introduction

ESDC, through the Canada Education Savings Program (CESP), administers two federal education savings incentives linked to RESPs: the CESG and the CLB.

The education savings incentives are delivered through financial institutions (promoters). Promoters must enter into an agreement with ESDC to offer the incentives to their clients.

CESG and CLB objectives

The objective of these education savings incentives is set out in the Canada Education Savings Act (CESA); namely: "…to encourage the financing of children's post-secondary education through savings, from early childhood, in registered education savings plans."

By increasing the value and earning potential of an RESP, these incentives encourage long-term saving for a child's education after high school, to help make post-secondary education (PSE) more affordable and potentially reduce student debt.

RESPs

Since their inception in 1972, the Government of Canada has regularly refined RESPs in an effort to better serve Canadian families. Education savings plans existed as a financial product as early as the 1960s, but it was in 1972 that the Government of Canada first allowed them to be registered as tax-advantaged savings vehicles.

An RESP is a contract between a subscriber and a promoter that has been accepted for registration by the Minister of National Revenue, through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). Typically, the subscriber is the child's parent, a grandparent, another family member or a friend of the family. The subscriber names one or more beneficiaries and may make personal contributions to the RESP. Personal contributions made to an RESP may qualify for a CESG if the beneficiary meets the eligibility requirements. The personal contributions remain the property of the subscriber. The maximum lifespan of an RESP is 35 years, or 40 years for beneficiaries entitled to a disability tax credit. As of 2007, there is no annual personal contribution limit and the lifetime personal contribution limit is $50,000 for each beneficiary.

There are three types of RESPs:

  • individual plans, in which the subscriber saves for a single beneficiary and does not need to have a blood relationship with the beneficiary;
  • family plans, in which multiple beneficiaries may be named but who must all be related by blood relationship or adoption to the subscriber; and
  • group plans, in which savings for all beneficiaries of the same age are pooled and collectively invested.

Funds in an RESP can be held in a variety of forms (e.g. savings deposits, guaranteed investment certificates, mutual funds, etc.) and grow tax-free until withdrawn. Once the beneficiary is enrolled in PSE, the personal contributions are returned tax-free to the subscriber and the beneficiary may access the accumulated earnings (i.e. interest) and incentive payments (e.g. CESG, CLB and provincial incentives) in the form of an EAP. EAPs are taxable income for the student (the RESP beneficiary). Given that most students are usually earning modest incomes while studying, the amount of tax paid on EAPs is generally minimal.

Since an RESP can stay open for up to 35 years, or 40 years for beneficiaries entitled to a disability tax credit, a beneficiary can still access the education savings incentives should they decide to attend PSE many years after high school.

The Canada Education Savings Grant

The CESG has been available since 1998 and is calculated based on contributions made to an RESP for an eligible beneficiary until the end of the calendar year in which the beneficiary turns 17 years of age. The CESG provides a basic grant of 20% on the first $2,500 in annual personal contributions to an RESP. An Additional CESG of 10% or 20% is available on the first $500 of annual contributions made by middle- and low-income families. While the basic CESG is retroactive, the Additional CESG is not.

The Canada Learning Bond

The CLB is an incentive for children born on or after January 1, 2004, who are from low-income families or are under the care of a public trustee. It provides an initial payment of $500 followed by payments of $100 for each year the child was, and remains eligible, up to age 15 (for a maximum of $2,000). While the CLB is paid directly into an RESP, eligible families do not need to make personal contributions to receive it. The CLB is retroactive: $100 payments are made for each year in which the child was eligible.

Provincial programs

ESDC, through the CESP, administers provincial education savings incentives on behalf of Saskatchewan and British Columbia.

The Saskatchewan Advantage Grant for Education Savings (SAGES) became available to eligible beneficiaries in September 2013 and the British Columbia Education and Training Savings (BCTES) grant in August 2015.

The Province of Quebec also offers an education savings incentive. The Québec Education Savings Incentive (QESI) is a refundable tax credit paid directly into an RESP for an eligible beneficiary. The QESI is not administered by ESDC.

Although these provincial programs may influence CESP data (e.g. number of children receiving the incentives), specific performance data for each provincial program are not reported in the 2015 ASR.

Information and promotional activities

The Canada Education Savings Act requires that the Minister take measures necessary to promote the CESG and the CLB.

Moreover, in support of the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour's mandate letter, ESDC, through the CESP, will work collaboratively with a range of stakeholders and partners, including provinces and territories, to further promote the benefits of RESPs to all Canadians.

The following is a list of activities undertaken to promote the CLB. The CESP is currently exploring opportunities to further engage stakeholders in the pursuit of promoting RESPs and its associated education savings incentives.

Mailings to CLB-eligible families

ESDC sends letters to families informing them of the education savings incentive for which they are eligible, with relevant information on how to proceed. ESDC will ensure that all CLB-eligible families are informed of this incentive, including eligibility requirements.

Education savings week

ESDC has been participating in Education Savings Week since 2014. This event, held annually in November, coincides with Financial Literacy Month. Throughout the week, a range of activities are undertaken by both not-for-profit and financial organizations to promote the benefits of saving for PSE through RESPs, as well as increasing awareness and understanding of the CLB and the CESG. A working group of community organizations, financial institutions and others leads the planning of these activities, with support from ESDC.

The CLB Champions' Network

The CESP has collaborated with community-based organizations and RESP promoters that form the CLB Champions' Network. The purpose of the CLB Champions' Network is to raise awareness, understanding and take-up of the CLB among low-income households.

To support this network, the CESP has:

  • developed and made available a toolkit that participating organizations can use to support their efforts;
  • supported and encouraged participation in Education Savings Week; and
  • promoted participation in the network and provided secretariat services.

RESP promoters and not-for-profit community-based organizations and others who wish to become involved in the CLB Champions' Network can contact the CESP by email at nc-cesp-pcee-outreach-sensibilisation-gd@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca.

Table 1: Summary of the Canada Education Savings Program's Annual Statistical Review 2015
Description 2013 2014 2015 Change between 2014 and 2015
Total %
Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs)
Total value of RESP assets ($ billion) $40.5 $44.4 $47.0 $2.6 5.9%
Annual personal contributions to RESPs ($ billion) $3.94 $4.10 $4.27 $0.17 4.2%
Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG)
Annual Canada Education Savings Grant payments
($ million)
$792 $819 $851 $32 3.9%
Total Canada Education Savings Grant paid since inception in 1998 ($ billion) $8.03 $8.85 $9.70 $0.85 9.6%
Total number of beneficiaries aged 0 to 17 years who have ever received a Canada Education Savings Grant (million) 3.27 3.37 3.48 0.11 3.2%
Total number of beneficiaries of all ages who have ever received a Canada Education Savings Grant (million) 4.86 5.14 5.43 0.30 5.8%
Average age of new beneficiaries in receipt of the Canada Education Savings Grant 3.51 3.46 3.56 0.10 2.8%
Canada Education Savings Grant participation rate 47.3% 48.7% 50.1% 1.4% n/a
Canada Learning Bond (CLB)
Annual Canada Learning Bond payments ($ million) $101 $106 $117 $10 9.5%
Total Canada Learning Bond payments since inception in 2005 ($ million) $499 $605 $722 $117 19.3%
Total number of children who have ever received a Canada Learning Bond 613,253 720,922 830,735 109,813 15.2%
Total number of children who have ever been eligible for a Canada Learning Bond (million) 2.06 2.29 2.51 0.22 9.6%
Average annual personal contribution per beneficiary in receipt of the Canada Learning Bond ($) $1,032 $1,055 $1,068 $12 1.2%
Total personal contributions made for beneficiaries in receipt of the Canada Learning Bond since 2005 ($ billion) $2.41 $3.16 $4.01 $0.85 26.9%
Canada Learning Bond participation rate 29.8% 31.5% 33.1% 1.6% n/a
Access to Post-Secondary Education (PSE)
Annual withdrawals from RESPs for PSE ($ billion) $2.77 $3.07 $3.27 $0.20 6.4%
Annual number of students receiving RESP withdrawals to help cover the costs of PSE 360,903 382,050 395,027 12,977 3.4%
Average annual RESP withdrawals per student to help cover the costs of PSE ($) $7,671 $8,046 $8,283 $237 3.0%

1. Highlights

Canadians are saving more than ever in RESPs

Each year, more Canadians use RESPs to save for PSE. By December 31, 2015, Canadian families had amassed $47 billion in RESP savings to help pay for their children's future PSE. The growth in RESP assets was noteworthy when compared with 2014: total RESP assets rose by $2.6 billion, an increase of 5.9%.

The increase in RESP assets can be explained by amounts contributed to RESPs, payments in the form of CESG, CLB, provincial incentives and the interest earned on personal contributions and payments of government incentives.

Annual personal contributions grew to $4.27 billion in 2015, which constitutes a 4.2% increase over 2014.

Key Point: By December 31, 2015, Canadian families had amassed $47 billion in RESP savings to help pay for their children's future PSE.

Beneficiary age

When the CESG was launched in 1998, the average age of new beneficiaries was approximately 8 years of age. Over the last 17 years, the average age has decreased to 3.56 years of age in 2015, an indication that the CESG is achieving its objective of encouraging Canadian families to save early.

Canada Education Savings Grant

The number of Canadian families benefiting from the basic 20% of CESG offered by the Government of Canada to help "kick start" early savings for their children's PSE continues to increase as more families continue to contribute to RESPs.

Since its inception in 1998, the total number of beneficiaries who received a CESG has reached 5.43 million.

Of those beneficiaries, over 50% of Canadian children (3.48 million) under 18 years of age had received the CESG in 2015.

Key Point: The CESG take-up rate exceeded 50% of Canadian children aged 0-17 for the first time in 2015.

Additional Canada Education Savings Grant

In addition to the basic CESG, an extra 10% or 20% of Additional CESG is available to middle- and low-income families on the first $500 contributed to their RESPs annually. The proportion of beneficiaries receiving the basic and Additional CESG has grown more than fivefold (from 7% to 36%) over the last 10 years, demonstrating a significant increase in middle- and low-income families saving for their children's PSE using RESPs.

Key Point: The proportion of beneficiaries from middle- and low-income families receiving both the basic and Additional CESG has grown more than fivefold (from 7% to 36%) since the introduction of the Additional CESG in 2005.

The Canada Learning Bond

More low-income Canadian families are benefiting from the CLB, which does not require personal contributions to an RESP.

Since 2005, the Government of Canada has paid $722 million to low-income families' RESPs to encourage early savings for their children's PSE. In 2015, the Government of Canada paid $117 million in CLB, a 9.5% increase over 2014.

Key Point: In 2015 alone, $968 million was provided by the Government of Canada into RESPs in the form of CESG and CLB.

Although they are not required to, families who receive the CLB are making sizeable personal contributions to RESPs. Total personal contributions for this group reached over $4 billion in 2015, representing an increase of $850 million in RESPs since 2014.

In addition, 33.1% of all eligible children in Canada received the CLB, up from 31.5% in 2014. While the number of eligible children grew by 9.6%, the total number of children who received the CLB increased by 15.2% to reach 109,813 new beneficiaries.

Key Point: Of the children who received a CLB, nearly 80% also received a personal contribution to an RESP, even though it is not required. The average personal contribution for beneficiaries in receipt of the CLB was over $1,000.

Students are using savings to access Post-Secondary Education

RESP savings amassed by Canadians can provide a substantial source of funding for PSE that complements loans, grants, scholarships and bursaries and can help ensure that Canadians have the financial support they need for their PSE. It is notable that withdrawals of funds from RESPs were comparable to that of the Canada Student Loan disbursements in 2015, indicating that RESP savings are increasingly important in improving access to PSE and reducing student debt.

There is significant growth in the number of Canadians using RESPs to help fund PSE. In 2015, a total of $3.27 billion was withdrawn from RESPs to help 395,027 students cover the costs of PSE, with an average of $8,283 for each student.

Compared to 2014, there was a 6.4% increase in the total amount withdrawn and a 3.4% increase in the number of students where RESP funds were used to help support PSE attendance.

Conclusion

Funding provided by the Government of Canada has encouraged Canadians to plan early by saving in RESPs over the long term for their children's future PSE.

By December 31, 2015:

  • Canadian families held $47 billion in RESP assets.
  • More than 50% of eligible Canadian children under 18 years of age had received a CESG.
  • Basic and Additional CESG payments to RESP beneficiaries from middle- to low-income families increased more than eightfold to $285 million since introduction of the Additional CESG in 2005.
  • The proportion of beneficiaries from middle- and low-income families saving in RESPs had grown more than fivefold (from 7% to 36%) since 2005.
  • The number of new beneficiaries from low-income families who received the CLB for the first time reached 109,813.
  • $3.27 billion was withdrawn from RESPs to help more than 395,000 students cover the costs of PSE.

This evidence suggests that savings by Canadian families in RESPs will continue to grow and that more students will be able to count on these savings to help cover the costs of PSE in the future.

2. Registered Education Savings Plans

The value of RESPs grows through personal contributions made by subscribers, amounts of CESG and CLB provided by the Government of Canada, provincial incentives and growth in the value of assets.

This section provides information on the total amount held in RESP assets since 1998.

2.1 Total RESP assets by year

The chart below represents the total market value of assets in RESPs in Canada as of December 31 of each year. This value represents the amount potentially available to fund PSE.

By the end of 2015, total RESP assets reached $47 billion, representing a growth of $2.6 billion (5.9%) over 2014. Between 1998 and 2015, the value of assets has grown by $2.5 billion per year on average.

Figure 1: RESP assets by year ($ billion)
Figure 1: RESP assets by year ($ billion)
Description of figure: RESP assets by year ($ billion)

Graph of RESP assets by year ($ billion). Years range from 1998 to 2015. The total value of RESP assets was $4 billion in 1998. Since then, RESP assets have grown gradually to $5.6 billion in 1999; $7.2 billion in 2000; $8.2 billion in 2001; $10 billion in 2002; $12 .6 billion in 2003; $15.2 billion in 2004; $18 billion in 2005; $21.3 billion in 2006; and $23.4 billion in 2007. In 2008, the value dropped to $22.6 billion but continued rising again to $25.9 billion in 2009, $27.6 billion in 2010, $31.6 billion in 2011, $35.6 billion in 2012, $40.5 billion in 2013, $44.4 billion in 2014; and $47 billion in 2015.

2.2 Proportion of RESP assets by promoter type

RESP promoters administer all amounts paid into an RESP and ensure that the withdrawals from RESPs are made according to the terms of the plans, the requirements of the ESDC promoter agreement and the laws that govern RESPs and the education savings incentives. The education savings incentives are delivered through approximately 90 RESP promoters.

In 2015, Investment Services continued to make up the largest market share of RESP assets, with 45.9% being managed by this promoter type. Banking Services held the second largest share with 26.1%, followed by Group Plan Promoters, which managed 24.1% of the total assets. Promoters in the Insurance and Other category managed the remaining 3.9% of RESP assets.

Figure 2: Proportion of RESP asset values by promoter type
Figure 2: Proportion of RESP asset values by promoter type
Description of figure: Proportion of RESP asset values by promoter type

Pie chart of Proportion of RESP asset values by promoter type. In 2015, Investment Services had 45.9% of market share; Banking Services had 26.1% of market share; Group Plan Promoters had 24.1% of market share; and Insurance and Other had 3.9% of market share.

Note: See Canada Education Savings Program terms and definitions for more details on how each provider type is defined.

2.3 Proportion of Canada Education Savings Grant payments by RESP promoter type

In 2015, Investment Services received 39.8% of all CESG payments, followed by Banking Services (31.3%) and Group Plan Promoters (24.3%). Insurance and Other received 4.6% of CESG payments.

Figure 3: Canada Education Savings Grant payments in 2015 by promoter type
Figure 3: Canada Education Savings Grant payments in 2015 by promoter type
Description of figure: Canada Education Savings Grant payments in 2015 by promoter type

Pie chart of Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG) payments in 2015 by promoter type. Of total CESG payments, Investment Services received 39.8%; Banking Services received 31.3%; Group Plan Promoters received 24.3%; and Insurance and Other received 4.6%.

Note: See Canada Education Savings Program terms and definitions for more details on how each provider type is defined.

2.4 Proportion of Canada Learning Bond payments by promoter type

In 2015, Banking Services received 48% of CLB payments that were made to RESPs. Group Plan Promoters received 24.7%, Investment Services received 19.2% and Insurance and Other received 8.1%.

Figure 4: Canada Learning Bond payments in 2015 by promoter type
Figure 4: Canada Learning Bond payments in 2015 by promoter type
Description of figure: Canada Learning Bond payments in 2015 by promoter type

Pie chart of Canada Learning Bond (CLB) payments in 2015 by promoter type. Of the total CLB payments, Banking Services received 48.0%; Group Plan Promoters received 24.7%; Investment Services received 19.2%; and Insurance and Other received 8.1%.

Note: See Canada Education Savings Program terms and definitions for more details on how each provider type is defined.

3. Personal contributions to Registered Education Savings Plans

A personal contribution is the amount deposited into an RESP. Earnings on personal contributions can grow tax-free until the money is withdrawn.

3.1 Annual personal contributions to RESPs

In 2015, $4.27 billion was contributed to RESPs, a 4% increase over 2014 personal contributions.

Figure 5: Annual personal contributions to RESPs ($ billions)
Figure 5: Annual personal contributions to RESPs ($ billions)
Description of figure: Annual personal contributions to RESPs ($ billions)

Graph of Annual personal contributions to RESPs. Monetary amounts are in billions of dollars. Years range from 2001 to 2015. Amount of annual contributions was $1.87 billion in 2001; $1.99 billion in 2002; $2.08 billion in 2003; $2.28 billion in 2004; $2.47 billion in 2005; $2.68 billion in 2006; $3.00 billion in 2007; $3.11 billion in 2008; $3.18 billion in 2009; $3.44 billion in 2010; $3.59 billion in 2011; $3.76 billion in 2012; $3.94 billion in 2013; $4.10 billion in 2014; and $4.27 billion in 2015. Year-over-year change in contributions was 9% in 2001; 6% in 2002; 5% in 2003; 10% in 2004; 8% in 2005; 9% in 2006; 12% in 2007; 4% in 2008; 2% in 2009; 8% in 2010; 4% in 2011; 5% in each of 2012 and 2013; and 4% in each of 2014 and 2015.

3.2 Average annual personal contributions to RESPs per beneficiary

An RESP beneficiary is usually a child (age 0 to 17) but can be any person (including those over the age of 18) named by the subscriber to whom or on whose behalf an EAP may be paid.

The average annual personal contribution made per beneficiary to an RESP continues to climb steadily. In 2015, the average personal contribution was $1,504, up from $1,493 in 2014.

Figure 6: Average annual personal contributions to RESPs per beneficiary ($)
Figure 6: Average annual personal contributions to RESPs per beneficiary ($)
Description of figure: Figure 6: Average annual personal contributions to RESPs per beneficiary ($)

Graph of Average annual contributions to RESPs per beneficiary. The amounts are in dollars. Years range from 2001 to 2015. In 2001, the average contribution was $1,308. It dropped to $1,279 in 2002. The average contribution was $1,287 in 2003, $1,325 in 2004, $1,349 in 2005 and $1,359 in 2006. In 2007, it surpassed the $1,400 mark with $1,427 contributed on average. In 2008, it increased to $1,440, then decreased to $1,424 in 2009 and went up again to $1,462 in 2010. The average annual contribution was $1,457 in 2011, $1,464 in 2012, $1,478 in 2013, $1,493 in 2014, and $1,504 in 2015.

3.3 Average annual personal contributions to RESPs per beneficiary by province and territory

In 2015, the average annual personal contribution per beneficiary experienced growth in most provinces and territories. Nunavut experienced the highest growth (10.6%) in average personal contribution compared to all other jurisdictions. British Columbia, Ontario, Yukon and the Northwest Territories had higher average personal contributions in 2015 relative to the national average of $1,504.

Table 2: Average annual RESP personal contributions to RESPs per beneficiary by province and territory
Province and territory 2011
($)
2012
($)
2013
($)
2014
($)
2015
($)
Nunavut 1,802 1,844 1,943 1,803 1,995
British Columbia 1,637 1,655 1,670 1,691 1,708
Ontario 1,596 1,604 1,626 1,644 1,661
Yukon 1,539 1,576 1,560 1,593 1,629
Northwest Territories 1,461 1,525 1,522 1,500 1,533
Alberta 1,428 1,437 1,440 1,459 1,443
Saskatchewan 1,326 1,343 1,375 1,408 1,420
Nova Scotia 1,223 1,228 1,247 1,275 1,285
Prince Edward Island 1,218 1,197 1,198 1,251 1,273
Manitoba 1,231 1,213 1,212 1,214 1,227
Newfoundland and Labrador 1,114 1,137 1,155 1,191 1,220
Quebec 1,179 1,181 1,191 1,202 1,217
New Brunswick 1,077 1,097 1,132 1,142 1,174
Canada 1,458 1,464 1,478 1,490 1,504

3.4 Personal contribution amount per beneficiary

In 2015, 77% of the existing 3.48 million beneficiaries received a CESG.

In 2015, almost half (46.3%) of beneficiaries in receipt of the CESG also received a personal contribution in an RESP of between $1 and $1,000.

Beneficiaries that received more than $2,500 in personal contributions in RESPs made up 13.9%, a small increase from 2014.

Key Point: Canadian families continue to save for their children's PSE using RESPs. In 2015, 77% of the existing 3.48 million beneficiaries received a CESG from the Government of Canada.

Figure 7: Distribution of beneficiaries by personal contribution category (2015)
Figure 7: Distribution of beneficiaries by personal contribution category (2015)
Description of figure: Distribution of beneficiaries by personal contribution category (2015)

Pie chart showing the Distribution of beneficiaries by personal contribution category. In 2015, 23.3% of the children received up to $500, while another 23.0% received between $501 and $1,000; 17.8% of the children received between $1,001 and $1,500; 7.1% received between $1,501 and $2,000; 14.9% received between $2,001 and $2,500; and 13.9% of the children received more than $2,500 in contributions to their RESPs.

4. Canada Education Savings Grant

More children are receiving the CESG to support families in saving early for PSE. This year, the national CESG participation rate reached a noteworthy milestone: over 50% of the eligible population aged 0 to 17 received a CESG by the end of 2015.

4.1 Canada Education Savings Grant summary statistics by province and territory

The table below presents provincial, territorial and national statistics on beneficiaries, CESG-eligible children, participation rates and cumulative payments. The participation rate is calculated by dividing the number of children 0 to 17 years of age who have ever received the CESG by the total number of children in Canada in this age group. As of December 31, 2015, the CESG participation rate in Canada surpassed 50%. The CESG participation rates in Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta were higher than the national participation rate, as has been the case since 1999. Similar to the national rate, Alberta's participation rate exceeded 50% for the first time in 2015.

Table 3: Canada Education Savings Grant statistics by province and territory as of December 31, 2015
Province and territory Cumulative number of beneficiaries in receipt of the CESG
(age 0-17)
(1)
Number of eligible children
(age 0-17)
(2)
CESG participation rate = (1) ÷ (2) (%)
(3)
Cumulative CESG payment ($ million)
(4)
Ontario 1,448,642 2,674,326 54.2 4,598.8
British Columbia 451,774 838,301 53.9 1,410.5
Alberta 462,834 913,390 50.7 1,152.4
Quebec 726,874 1,525,464 47.6 1,529.9
New Brunswick 59,175 133,576 44.3 141.2
Newfoundland and Labrador 40,147 91,979 43.6 106.7
Nova Scotia 67,970 162,892 41.7 180.7
Yukon 3,081 7,624 40.4 8.6
Prince Edward Island 11,411 28,385 40.2 28.2
Saskatchewan 97,036 257,750 37.6 263.5
Manitoba 106,783 290,999 36.7 249.9
Northwest Territories 3,265 10,911 29.9 8.8
Nunavut 720 13,341 5.4 1.8
Canada 3,480,037 6,948,938 50.1 9,702.0

4.2 Annual Canada Education Savings Grant payments by province and territory

In 2015, beneficiaries in Ontario received 45.9% of the total CESG payments of $851 million. Beneficiaries in receipt of the CESG living in Quebec received 18.0%, while those in British Columbia received 14.2% of these payments. Another 12.4% of the annual CESG payments went to beneficiaries living in Alberta. Those living in the remaining provinces and territories received close to 9.6% of total CESG payments made.

Table 4: Annual payments by province and territory ($ million)
Province and territory 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 CESG payment
proportion in 2015 (%)
Ontario 325.7 342.4 358.1 371.5 379.6 390.4 45.9
Quebec 109.2 117.6 126.8 135.8 144.2 153.3 18.0
British Columbia 98.5 103.1 107.9 113.2 116.8 120.5 14.2
Alberta 79.1 83.9 89.5 95.2 99.8 105.3 12.4
Saskatchewan 17.4 18.2 19.4 20.7 22.0 23.1 2.7
Manitoba 16.8 17.9 18.9 19.8 20.6 21.6 2.5
Nova Scotia 12.1 12.4 12.7 13.2 13.5 13.7 1.6
New Brunswick 9.7 9.8 10.1 10.5 10.6 10.9 1.3
Newfoundland and Labrador 7.3 7.5 7.7 7.9 8.1 8.3 1.0
Prince Edward Island 1.9 2.0 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 0.3
Yukon 0.6 0.6 0.7 0.7 0.7 0.8 0.1
Northwest Territories 0.6 0.6 0.6 0.7 0.7 0.7 0.1
Nunavut 0.1 0.1 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.02
Canada 680 717 755 792 819 851 100

4.3 Annual Canada Education Savings Grant payments

Each year, CESG payments are proportionate to the personal contributions made to RESPs.

In 2015, Canadians families continued contributing to RESPs as evidenced by a 3.9% increase in CESG payments from $819 million in 2014 to $851 million.

Of special note, RESPs held by middle- and low-income families received $285 million in basic and Additional CESG payments in 2015, representing more than an eightfold growth in 10 years since they totalled $34 million in 2005.

Figure 8: Annual Canada Education Savings Grant payments ($ million)
Figure 8: Annual Canada Education Savings Grant payments ($ million)
Description of figure: Annual Canada Education Savings Grant payments ($ million)

Graph of Annual Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG) payments. Monetary amounts are in millions of dollars. Years range from 1998 to 2015. CESG payments have two components: Basic CESG payments and Additional CESG payments. Basic CESG payments range from 1998 to 2015, while Additional CESG payments – implemented in 2005 – range from 2005 to 2015. The basic CESG payment was $151 million in 1998; $291 million in 1999; $318 million in 2000; $348 million in 2001; $370 million in 2002; $389 million in 2003; $426 million in 2004; $435 million in 2005; $447 million in 2006; $474 million in 2007; $467 million in 2008; $466 million in 2009; $496 million in 2010; $500 million in 2011; $512 million in 2012; $534 million in 2013; $550 million in 2014; and $567 in 2015. The Additional CESG payment was $7 million in 2005; $14 million in 2006; $22 million in 2007; $29 million in 2008; $35 million in 2009; $39 million in 2010; $46 million in 2011; $52 million in 2012; $55 million in 2013; $58 million in 2014; and $61 million in 2015. Basic CESG paid to beneficiaries also receiving the Additional CESG was $27 million in 2005; $53 million in 2006; $83 million in 2007; $108 million in 2008; $127 million in 2009; $145 million in 2010; $170 million in 2011; $191 million in 2012; $203 million in 2013; $212 million in 2014; and $224 million in 2015. Total CESG payment was $151 million in 1998; $291 million in 1999, $318 million in 2000; $348 million in 2001; $370 million in 2002; $389 million in 2003; $426 million in 2004; $470 million in 2005; $514 million in 2006; $579 million in 2007; $604 million in 2008; $627 million in 2009; $680 million in 2010; $717 million in 2011; $755 million in 2012; $792 million in 2013; $819 million in 2014; and $851 million in 2015.

4.4 Annual number of beneficiaries in receipt of the basic and Additional Canada Education Savings Grant

In 2015, 2.69 million beneficiaries received the CESG, an increase from 2.61 million in 2014.

Of these beneficiaries, 960,000 children (36%) received both the basic and Additional CESG, while 1.73 million children received only the basic CESG. The proportion of beneficiaries receiving both the basic and Additional CESG grew more than fivefold over the 10-year period of 2005–2015.

The growth is consistent with the increase in basic and Additional CESG payments described in 4.3 and provides evidence that an increasing number of middle and low-income families are saving for PSE early, thereby contributing to the overall growth of the CESG.

Key Point: Since 2005, the proportion of beneficiaries from middle-and low-income families receiving both the basic and Additional CESG has been growing at a faster rate than beneficiaries receiving the basic CESG only.

Figure 9: Annual number of beneficiaries in receipt of the Basic and Additional CESG (million)
Figure 9: Annual number of beneficiaries in receipt of the Basic and Additional CESG (million)
Description of figure: Annual number of beneficiaries in receipt of the basic and Additional CESG (million)

Graph of Annual number of beneficiaries in receipt of the basic and Additional CESG (million). Years range from 1998 to 2015. The number of beneficiaries receiving basic CESG only was 700,000 in 1998; 1.05 million in 1999; 1.24 million in 2000; 1.38 million in 2001; 1.49 million in 2002; 1.55 million in 2003; and 1.65 million in 2004. In 2005, the number of beneficiaries receiving Additional CESG was 120,000 while the number of beneficiaries receiving basic CESG only was 1.63 million; in 2006, the number of beneficiaries receiving Additional CESG was 230,000 while the number of beneficiaries receiving basic CESG only was 1.65 million; in 2007, the number of beneficiaries receiving Additional CESG was 350,000 while the number of beneficiaries receiving basic CESG only was 1.66 million; in 2008, the number of beneficiaries receiving Additional CESG was 460,000 while the number of beneficiaries receiving basic CESG only was 1.61 million; in 2009, the number of beneficiaries receiving Additional CESG was 550,000 while the number of beneficiaries receiving basic CESG only was 1.59 million; in 2010, the number of beneficiaries receiving Additional CESG was 620,000 while the number of beneficiaries receiving basic CESG only was 1.62 million; in 2011, the number of beneficiaries receiving Additional CESG was 740,000 while the number of beneficiaries receiving basic CESG only was 1.61 million; in 2012, the number of beneficiaries receiving Additional CESG was 830,000 while the number of beneficiaries receiving basic CESG only was 1.62 million; in 2013, the number of beneficiaries receiving Additional CESG was 880,000 while the number of beneficiaries receiving basic CESG only was 1.66 million; in 2014, the number of beneficiaries receiving Additional CESG was 910,000 while the number of beneficiaries receiving basic CESG only was 1.70 million; and in 2015, the number of beneficiaries receiving Additional CESG was 960,000 while the number of beneficiaries receiving basic CESG only was 1.73 million. The total number of beneficiaries was 700,000 in 1998; 1.05 million in 1999; 1.24 million in 2000; 1.38 million in 2001; 1.49 million in 2002; 1.55 million in 2003; 1.65 million in 2004; 1.75 million in 2005; 1.88 million in 2006; 2.01 million in 2007; 2.07 million in 2008; 2.13 million in 2009; 2.24 million in 2010; 2.35 million in 2011; 2.45 million in 2012; 2.54 million in 2013; 2.61 million in 2014; and 2.69 in 2015. The proportion of beneficiaries receiving both was 7% in 2005; 12% in 2006; 17% in 2007; 22% in 2008; 26% in 2009; 28% in 2010; 31% in 2011; 34% in 2012; 35% for each of 2013 and 2014; and 36% in 2015.

4.5 Average age and number of beneficiaries who received the Canada Education Savings Grant for the first time

Children between the ages of 0 and 17 are eligible to receive the CESG. The CESG is most beneficial if savings are made early, as this allows the maximum amount of time for the funds to appreciate.

The average age of beneficiaries who received the CESG for the first time was almost 8 years of age in 1998 when the CESG was introduced. It has remained below 4 years of age since 2008. In 2015, the average age reached 3.56.

In 1998, the number of Canadian families who opened an RESP to access the new CESG was high. Since then, the annual number of new beneficiaries steadily decreased until 2005, when the Additional CESG and the CLB were introduced. The addition of these incentives likely attracted new RESP beneficiaries in the years that followed. Since 2010, the average annual number of new beneficiaries has remained near 287,000. In 2015, almost 296,000 children received the CESG for the first time.

Figure 10: Average age and number of beneficiaries who received the CESG for the first time by year
Figure 10: Average age and number of beneficiaries who received the CESG for the first time by year
Description of figure: Average age and number of beneficiaries who received the CESG for the first time by year

Graph of Average age and number of beneficiaries who received the CESG for the first time by year. The annual number of new beneficiaries is in thousands. Years range from 1998 to 2015. In 1998, there were 698,000 new CESG beneficiaries; in 1999, there were 434,000 new CESG beneficiaries; in 2000, there were 317,000 new CESG beneficiaries; in 2001, there were 279,000 new CESG beneficiaries; in 2002, there were 257,000 new CESG beneficiaries; in 2003, there were 206,000 new CESG beneficiaries; in 2004, there were 218,000 new CESG beneficiaries; in 2005, there were 234,000 new CESG beneficiaries; in 2006, there were 271,000 new CESG beneficiaries; in 2007, there were 276,000 new CESG beneficiaries; in 2008, there were 265,000 new CESG beneficiaries; in 2009, there were 255,000 new CESG beneficiaries; in 2010, there were 275,000 new CESG beneficiaries; in 2011, there were 293,000 new CESG beneficiaries; in 2012, there were 289,000 new CESG beneficiaries; in 2013, there were 287,000 new CESG beneficiaries; in 2014, there were 281,000 new CESG beneficiaries; and in 2015, there were 296, 000. The average age of these new beneficiaries was 7.98 in 1998, 6.91 in 1999, 6.17 in 2000, 5.74 in 2001, 5.40 in 2002, 5.38 in 2003, 5.22 in 2004, 4.83 in 2005, 4.34 in 2006, 4.21 in 2007, 3.92 in 2008, 3.64 in 2009, 3.59 in 2010, 3.58 in 2011, 3.54 in 2012, 3.51 in 2013, 3.46 in 2014, and 3.56 in 2015.

4.6 Total number of beneficiaries who have ever received a Canada Education Savings Grant

As of 2015, 5.43 million beneficiaries of all ages had received a CESG since the CESP began in 1998. Among these beneficiaries, 3.48 million were between the ages of 0 and 17 years, while 1.95 million were over the age of 17 and eligible for an EAP or have withdrawn an EAP to cover PSE-related expenses. Currently, only one-third of the beneficiaries of all ages were eligible for an EAP. In the future, an increasing number of beneficiaries will become eligible for EAPs and more accumulated savings will be available to pay for PSE.

Figure 11: Cumulative number of beneficiaries in receipt of the CESG by age group and by year (million)
Figure 11: Cumulative number of beneficiaries in receipt of the CESG by age group and by year (million)
Description of figure: Cumulative number of beneficiaries in receipt of the CESG by age group and by year (million)

Graph of Cumulative number of beneficiaries (million) in receipt of the CESG by age group and year. Years range from 1998 to 2015. The number of beneficiaries is given for two age categories: between 0 and 17 years of age, and over 17 years of age. All beneficiaries in these counts have received the CESG at least once in their lifetime. The following is the count of beneficiaries over 17 years of age as of each year: in 1998, there were no beneficiaries; as of 1999, there were 10,000 beneficiaries; as of 2000, there were 40,000 beneficiaries; as of 2001, there were 80,000 beneficiaries; as of 2002, there were 150,000 beneficiaries; as of 2003, there were 230,000 beneficiaries; as of 2004, there were 320,000 beneficiaries; as of 2005, there were 420,000 beneficiaries; as of 2006, there were 530,000 beneficiaries; as of 2007, there were 650,000 beneficiaries; as of 2008, there were 780,000 beneficiaries; as of 2009, there were 930,000 beneficiaries; as of 2010, there were 1.08 million beneficiaries; as of 2011, there were 1.24 million beneficiaries; as of 2012, there were 1.40 million beneficiaries; as of 2013, there were 1.58 million beneficiaries; as of 2014, there were 1.76 million beneficiaries; and as of 2015, there 1.95 million beneficiaries. The following is the count of beneficiaries between 0 and 17 years of age as of each year: in 1998, there were 700,000 beneficiaries; as of 1999, there were 1.12 million beneficiaries; as of 2000, there were 1.41 million beneficiaries; as of 2001, there were 1.65 million beneficiaries; as of 2002, there were 1.84 million beneficiaries; as of 2003, there were 1.97 million beneficiaries; as of 2004, there were 2.09 million beneficiaries; as of 2005, there were 2.23 million beneficiaries; as of 2006, there were 2.39 million beneficiaries; as of 2007, there were 2.54 million beneficiaries; as of 2008, there were 2.67 million beneficiaries; as of 2009, there were 2.79 million beneficiaries; as of 2010, there were 2.91 million beneficiaries; as of 2011, there were 3.04 million beneficiaries; as of 2012, there were 3.16 million beneficiaries; as of 2013, there were 3.27 million beneficiaries; as of 2014, there were 3.37 million beneficiaries; and as of 2015, there were 3.48 million beneficiaries.

4.7 Total number of beneficiaries by province and territory

In 2015, the cumulative number of beneficiaries in Canada grew by 5.8%. Similar to 2014, Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia and Alberta continued to account for 88% of all beneficiaries in Canada.

Table 5: Cumulative number of beneficiaries by province and territory (thousands)
Province and territory 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Ontario 1,764 1,889 2,007 2,119 2,228 2,340
Quebec 713 778 843 909 975 1,043
British Columbia 544 580 616 654 690 727
Alberta 479 516 555 596 634 682
Manitoba 121 130 140 150 160 169
Saskatchewan 118 125 133 141 150 159
Nova Scotia 91 96 102 106 111 116
New Brunswick 79 82 86 90 93 97
Newfoundland and Labrador 55 57 60 62 65 67
Prince Edward Island 15 16 17 18 19 20
Northwest Territories 3.6 3.9 4.2 4.4 4.7 5.0
Yukon 3.6 3.9 4.1 4.4 4.7 4.9
Nunavut 0.7 0.8 0.8 0.9 0.9 1.0
Canada 3,987 4,280 4,569 4,856 5,137 5,433

4.8 Canada Education Savings Grant participation rates

The graph below shows that between 2000 and 2015 the cumulative number of beneficiaries between the ages of 0 and 17 receiving the CESG has steadily increased, while the size of the eligible population for this cohort has remained relatively stable. This shows that despite slow growth in the number of children in the population, more eligible children are benefiting from the incentive.

Figure 12: Total number of children and beneficiaries aged 0 to 17 by year
Figure 12: Total number of children and beneficiaries aged 0 to 17 by year
Description of figure: Total number of children and beneficiaries aged 0 to 17 by year

Total number of children and beneficiaries aged 0-17 by year. Both the cumulative number of beneficiaries of ages 0 to 17 and population of children aged 0 to 17 are in millions. Participation rate is in percentages. Years range from 2000 to 2015. As of 2000, there were 1.41 million CESG beneficiaries in the population of 7.14 million children aged 0 to 17; as of 2001, there were 1.65 million CESG beneficiaries in the population of 7.12 million children aged 0 to 17; as of 2002, there were 1.84 million CESG beneficiaries in the population of 7.10 million children aged 0 to 17; as of 2003, there were 1.97 million CESG beneficiaries in the population of 7.05 million children aged 0 to 17; as of 2004, there were 2.09 million CESG beneficiaries in the population of 7.02 million children aged 0 to 17; as of 2005, there were 2.23 million CESG beneficiaries in the population of 7.01 million children aged 0 to 17; as of 2006, there were 2.39 million CESG beneficiaries in the population of 7.00 million children aged 0 to 17; as of 2007, there were 2.54 million CESG beneficiaries in the population of 6.98 million children aged 0 to 17; as of 2008, there were 2.67 million CESG beneficiaries in the population of 6.96 million children aged 0 to 17; as of 2009, there were 2.79 million CESG beneficiaries in the population of 6.95 million children aged 0 to 17; as of 2010, there were 2.91 million CESG beneficiaries in the population of 6.94 million children aged 0 to 17; as of 2011, there were 3.04 million CESG beneficiaries in the population of 6.94 million children aged 0 to 17; as of 2012, there were 3.16 million CESG beneficiaries in the population of 6.93 million children aged 0 to 17; as of 2013, there were 3.27 million CESG beneficiaries in the population of 6.92 million children aged 0 to 17; as of 2014, there were 3.37 million CESG beneficiaries in the population of 6.93 million children aged 0 to 17; and as of 2015, there were 3.48 million CESG beneficiaries in the population of children aged 0-17. The cumulative CESG participation rate was 19.8% as of 2000, 23.1% as of 2001, 25.9% as of 2002, 27.9% as of 2003, 29.8% as of 2004, 31.8% as of 2005, 34.1% as of 2006, 36.4% as of 2007, 38.4% as of 2008, 40.1% as of 2009, 41.9% as of 2010, 43.8% as of 2011, 45.7% as of 2012, 47.3% as of 2013, 48.7% as of 2014, and 50.1% as of 2015.

4.9 Canada Education Savings Grant participation rates by province and territory and by year

In 2015, the national CESG participation rate surpassed 50% for the first time since inception. Ontario had the highest participation rate of 54.2%, followed by British Columbia with 53.9% and Alberta with 50.7%.

Key Point: All provinces and territories experienced a moderate rise in CESG participation rates. Notably, three provinces now exceed 50% in CESG participation.

Table 6: Canada Education Savings Grant participation rates by province and territory and by year
Province and territory 2009
(%)
2010
(%)
2011
(%)
2012
(%)
2013
(%)
2014
(%)
2015
(%)
Ontario 44.5 46.5 48.5 50.3 51.8 53.1 54.2
British Columbia 44.1 45.7 47.6 49.3 51.3 52.7 53.9
Alberta 41.0 42.8 44.7 46.2 47.7 48.8 50.7
Quebec 33.9 36.0 38.5 41.0 43.3 45.5 47.6
New Brunswick 38.7 40.0 40.9 41.9 42.7 43.6 44.3
Newfoundland and Labrador 39.7 40.8 41.6 42.1 42.9 43.4 43.6
Nova Scotia 34.7 36.1 37.6 39.1 40.2 41.1 41.7
Yukon 33.8 34.8 36.5 37.4 38.8 39.8 40.4
Prince Edward Island 34.8 35.9 36.7 37.7 38.6 39.4 40.2
Saskatchewan 32.5 33.3 34.3 35.1 36.0 36.7 37.6
Manitoba 29.1 30.3 31.7 33.2 34.5 35.7 36.7
Northwest Territories 22.5 23.7 25.0 26.2 27.1 28.7 29.9
Nunavut 4.3 4.5 4.7 4.9 5.0 5.2 5.4
Canada 40.1 41.9 43.8 45.7 47.3 48.7 50.1

Note: The participation rate is calculated as the cumulative number of beneficiaries (age 0-17) who have ever received a CESG as of the end of each year divided by the total number of children (age 0-17) in the Canadian population, as reflected in the Annual Demographic Estimates by Statistics Canada.

5. Canada Learning Bond

Like the CESG, participation in the CLB is increasing. Even though no personal contribution is required for the CLB, a majority of beneficiaries in receipt of the CLB also received at least one personal contribution to an RESP.

5.1 Canada Learning Bond summary statistics by province and territory

The provincial and territorial cumulative statistics related to the CLB demonstrate that 830,735 of the 2.5 million eligible children (33.1%) have received this incentive. Cumulative CLB payments amounted to $722 million as of 2015.

Table 7: Canada Learning Bond statistics by province and territory as of December 31, 2015
Province and territory Cumulative number of children who have ever received a CLB
(1)
Cumulative number of children eligible for the CLB
(2)
CLB participation rate = (1) ÷ (2)(%)
(3)
Cumulative CLB payment ($ million)
(4)
British Columbia 111,117 290,136 38.3 95.20
Quebec 208,384 563,173 37.0 180.16
Ontario 315,390 926,849 34.0 284.43
Alberta 103,846 314,298 33.0 82.94
Prince Edward Island 2,414 9,959 24.2 2.11
New Brunswick 11,716 49,501 23.7 10.59
Manitoba 30,355 129,205 23.5 25.68
Yukon Territory 547 2,340 23.4 0.42
Nova Scotia 13,937 61,597 22.6 12.30
Newfoundland and Labrador 6,998 32,178 21.7 6.08
Saskatchewan 22,993 107,300 21.4 18.84
Northwest Territory 419 4,096 10.2 0.36
Nunavut 116 7,217 1.6 0.10
Canada 830,735 2,508,359 33.1 722

5.2 Annual Canada Learning Bond payments and number of beneficiaries

In 2015, annual CLB payments increased by approximately 10% relative to 2014. A total of 480,000 children received the CLB in the same year. That was an increase of 11.5% over 2014. The annual number of beneficiaries who receive the CLB includes 109,813 children who received the CLB for the first time and over 370,000 children who continued to receive the CLB.

Figure 13: Annual Canada Learning Bond payments ($ million) and beneficiaries (thousand)
Figure 13: Annual Canada Learning Bond payments ($ million) and beneficiaries (thousand)
Description of figure: Annual Canada Learning Bond payments ($ million) and beneficiaries (thousand)

Graph of Annual Canada Learning Bond (CLB) payments ($ million) and number of beneficiaries (thousands). Years range from 2005 to 2015. In 2005, a total of 800 children received $400,000 in CLB; in 2006, a total of 26,700 children received $16.6 million in CLB; in 2007, a total of 66,100 children received $33.4 million in CLB; in 2008, a total of 109,600 children received $47.2 million in CLB; in 2009, a total of 156,300 children received $56.1 million in CLB; in 2010, a total of 204,900 children received $64.9 million in CLB; in 2011, a total of 267,300 children received $80.2 million in CLB; in 2012, a total of 336,300 children received $99.3 million in CLB; in 2013, a total of 383,600 children received $100.7 million in CLB; in 2014, a total of 430,800 children received $106.4 million in CLB; and in 2015, a total of 480,300 received $116.5 million in CLB.

5.3 Annual number of new beneficiaries in receipt of the Canada Learning Bond

In 2015, 109,813 new beneficiaries from low-income families began receiving the CLB.

Table 8: Number of new beneficiaries in receipt of the Canada Learning Bond by year
2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Number of new beneficiaries 73,171 80,443 97,820 112,833 106,205 107,669 109,813

Note: The number of new beneficiaries represents those who received the CLB for the first time ever in a given year, as opposed to the total number of beneficiaries who have ever received a CLB, as reported in the Highlights and in the CLB statistics by province and territory.

5.4 Personal contributions made for beneficiaries in receipt of the Canada Learning Bond

From 2005 to December 31, 2015, 830,735 children received the CLB. Of these, 97.7% of beneficiaries (811,551 children) received at least one personal contribution to an RESP, for a total of $4.01 billion in cumulative savings over the 10-year period of 2005 to 2015.

Table 9: Personal contributions made for beneficiaries in receipt of the Canada Learning Bond
As of Number of beneficiaries in receipt of the Canada Learning Bond with RESP personal contributions since 2005 Total number of beneficiaries in receipt of the Canada Learning Bond since 2005 Personal contribution rate
(%)
Total personal contributions
($ billion)
December 2015 811,551 830,735 97.7% 4.01

5.5 Annual personal contribution rate and average personal contributions for beneficiaries in receipt of the Canada Learning Bond

In 2015, 78% of beneficiaries who received a CLB payment also received a personal contribution to an RESP even though no personal contribution is required for the incentive. The average personal contribution for beneficiaries in receipt of the CLB was $1,068 in 2015. This represents an increase of 1.2% over 2014.

Table 10: Annual personal contribution rate and average personal contributions by year
Year 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Annual personal contribution rate 83.3% 81.8% 80.9% 80.0% 78.6% 78.2%
Average personal contributions $1,016 $1,008 $1,021 $1,032 $1,055 $1,068

5.6 Canada Learning Bond participation rate by province and territory and by year

The CLB participation rate is the ratio between the total number of children who have ever received a CLB and the total number of children eligible to receive this incentive, expressed as a percentage.

The cumulative CLB participation rate as of 2015 was 33.1%. Similar to the CESG, all jurisdictions (except for Nunavut) experienced a rise in CLB participation rates compared to 2014. In 2015, British Columbia, Quebec and Ontario surpassed the national participation rate at 38.3%, 37% and 34% respectively.

Table 11: Canada Learning Bond participation rate by province and territory and by year
Province and territory 2010
(%)
2011
(%)
2012
(%)
2013
(%)
2014
(%)
2015
(%)
British Columbia 26.0 29.0 31.9 34.4 36.6 38.3
Quebec 25.1 27.6 30.9 33.0 34.9 37.0
Ontario 22.7 26.1 29.4 31.2 32.8 34.0
Alberta 21.3 23.7 26.3 28.6 30.5 33.0
Prince Edward Island 14.4 16.5 19.4 21.4 23.0 24.2
New Brunswick 19.5 19.8 21.4 22.1 22.9 23.7
Manitoba 14.5 16.9 19.2 20.8 22.1 23.5
Yukon Territory 14.8 17.0 18.7 21.8 22.7 23.4
Nova Scotia 14.5 16.8 19.3 20.6 21.8 22.6
Newfoundland and Labrador 16.2 17.4 19.2 19.9 21.0 21.7
Saskatchewan 15.1 16.7 18.3 19.3 20.4 21.4
Northwest Territory 6.5 7.5 8.3 8.8 9.6 10.2
Nunavut 1.5 1.5 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.6
Canada 22.2 24.9 27.9 29.8 31.5 33.1

5.7 Dynamics of Canada Learning Bond participation

The CLB participation rate grew from 31.5% in 2014 to 33.1% in 2015, an increase of 1.6 percentage points. The dynamics that contribute to the growth in the CLB include: the number of new beneficiaries; the continuing eligibility of existing beneficiaries; and the number of eligible children. Thus, it is important to note that while the cumulative number of eligible children (2.3 million in 2014) grew by 9.6% to 2.5 million children, the cumulative number of children who received the CLB increased by 15.2% to reach 109,813 new beneficiaries (from 720,922 in 2014 to 830,735 in 2015).

Figure 14: Canada Learning Bond participation rates by year
Figure 14: Canada Learning Bond participation rates by year
Description of figure: Canada Learning Bond participation rates by year

Graph of Canada Learning Bond (CLB) participation rates by year. Both the cumulative number of beneficiaries and eligible children are in millions. Participation rate is in percentages. Years range from 2006 to 2015. As of 2006, there were 30,000 CLB beneficiaries out of 460,000 eligible children; as of 2007, there were 80,000 CLB beneficiaries out of 650,000 eligible children; as of 2008, there were 140,000 CLB beneficiaries out of 860,000 eligible children; as of 2009, there were 220,000 CLB beneficiaries out of 1.09 million eligible children; as of 2010, there were 300,000 CLB beneficiaries out of 1.33 million eligible children; as of 2011, there were 390,000 CLB beneficiaries out of 1.58 million eligible children; as of 2012, there were 510,000 CLB beneficiaries out of 1.82 million eligible children; as of 2013, there were 610,000 CLB beneficiaries out of 2.06 million eligible children; as of 2014, there were 720,000 CLB beneficiaries out of 2.29 million eligible children; and as of 2015, there were 830,000 CLB beneficiaries out of 2.51 million eligible children. The cumulative CLB participation rate was 6.0% as of 2006, 11.8% as of 2007, 16.6% as of 2008, 19.8% as of 2009, 22.2% as of 2010, 24.9% as of 2011, 27.9% as of 2012, 29.8% as of 2013, 31.5% as of 2014, and 33.1% as of 2015.

6. Supporting access to Post-Secondary Education

The Government of Canada supports Canadian families and individuals who want to pursue PSE after graduating from high school by encouraging them to save in RESPs. These incentives provide a sizeable source of funding for PSE that complements loans, grants, scholarships and bursaries. Although the financial incentives provided to Canadians are significant, they will not, nor are they intended to, completely fund a student's PSE.

6.1 RESP withdrawals

In 2015, $3.27 billion was withdrawn from RESPs to help 395,027 students cover the costs of PSE. The average withdrawal was $8,283, which represents an increase of 3% over 2014.

Table 12: RESP withdrawals
Year 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
(1) Total value ($ billion) $1.95 $2.15 $2.44 $2.77 $3.07 $3.27
(2) Number of students 293,004 310,467 335,894 360,903 382,050 395,027
(3) Average = (1) ÷ (2) $6,661 $6,926 $7,255 $7,671 $8,046 $8,283

6.2 Educational Assistance Payments and Post-Secondary Education withdrawals by year

EAPs are amounts paid from an RESP to an eligible beneficiary to assist with education-related expenses at the post-secondary level. EAPs include the CESG, the CLB, provincial incentives, where applicable, and the interest earned on the personal contributions and incentives held in the RESP. Payments are made according to the specific terms of the RESP. A PSE contribution withdrawal (PSE withdrawal) is a withdrawal of personal contributions made by the RESP subscribers when a beneficiary is enrolled in PSE.

In 2015, $1.3 billion was paid as EAPs, while $1.9 billion was withdrawn in the form of PSE contribution withdrawals.

Figure 15: Educational Assistance Payments and Post-Secondary Education contribution withdrawals by year
Figure 15: Educational Assistance Payments and Post-Secondary Education contribution withdrawals by year
Description of figure: Educational Assistance Payments and Post-Secondary Education contribution withdrawals by year

Graph of Educational Assistance Payments ($ million) and Post-Secondary Education withdrawals ($ million) by Year. Years range from 2000 to 2015. In 2000, $46 million was withdrawn from RESP ($8 million in EAPs and $38 million in PSE withdrawals); in 2001, $93 million was withdrawn from RESP ($40 million in EAPs and $53 million in PSE withdrawals); in 2002, $237 million was withdrawn from RESP ($91 million in EAPs and $145 million in PSE withdrawals); in 2003, $445 million was withdrawn from RESP ($159 million in EAPs and $285 million in PSE withdrawals); in 2004, $640 million was withdrawn from RESP ($238 million in EAPs and $402 million in PSE withdrawals); in 2005, $842 million was withdrawn in RESP ($326 million in EAPs and $516 million in PSE withdrawals; in 2006, $1,095 million was withdrawn from RESP ($443 million in EAPs and $652 million in PSE withdrawals); in 2007, $1,341 million was withdrawn from RESP ($563 million in EAPs and $777 million in PSE withdrawals); in 2008, $1,441 million was withdrawn from RESP ($553 million in EAPs and $887 million in PSE withdrawals); in 2009, $1,573 million was withdrawn from RESP ($562 million in EAPs and $1,011 million in PSE withdrawals); in 2010, $1,952 million was withdrawn from RESP ($704 million in EAPs and $1,248 million in PSE withdrawals); in 2011, $2,150 million was withdrawn from RESP ($758 million in EAPs and $1,392 million in PSE withdrawals); in 2012, $2,437 million was withdrawn from RESP ($853 million in EAPs and $1,584 million in PSE withdrawals); in 2013, $2,768 million was withdrawn from RESP ($1,031 million in EAPs and $1,737 million in PSE withdrawals); in 2014, $3,074 million was withdrawn from RESP ($1,238 million in EAPs and $1,836 million in PSE withdrawals); and in 2015, $3,372 million was withdrawn from RESP ($1,329 million in EAPs and $1,943 in PSE withdrawals).

7. Canada Education Savings Program terms and definitions

Additional Canada Education Savings Grant (Additional CESG)
A payment over and above the basic CESG offered by the Government of Canada to further encourage middle- and low-income families to save for their child's post-secondary education. This grant amount is paid by ESDC directly into an RESP.
Basic Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG)
A grant offered by the Government of Canada to encourage parents, family and friends to save for a child's post-secondary education. A CESG is paid by ESDC directly into an RESP.
Canada Education Savings Program (CESP)
A directorate within ESDC that administers the CESG and the CLB to encourage early savings in RESPs for children's post-secondary education.
Canada Learning Bond (CLB)
A grant offered by the Government of Canada to help low-income families start saving for their children's post-secondary education. The CLB is paid by ESDC directly into an RESP once the parent or guardian has been found to be eligible.
Educational Assistance Payments (EAPs)
EAPs are amounts paid from an RESP to an eligible beneficiary to assist with education-related expenses at the post-secondary level. As such, EAPs include the CESG, the CLB, provincial incentives, where applicable, and the interest earned on the personal contributions and incentives held in the RESP.
Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC)
ESDC is a department of the Government of Canada whose mission is to build a stronger and more competitive Canada, to support Canadians in making choices that help them live productive and rewarding lives, and to improve Canadians' quality of life.
Post-Secondary Education (PSE)
Refers to qualifying educational programs in designated institutions (e.g. CEGEPs, colleges, universities) in Canada or abroad.
Post-Secondary Education withdrawal
A withdrawal of personal contributions made by the subscriber from an RESP when a beneficiary is enrolled in post-secondary education.
Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP)
An education savings account that can help Canadians save for post-secondary education. RESPs are registered by the Government of Canada to allow savings for education to grow tax-free until the person named in the RESP enrolls in post-secondary education.
RESP beneficiary
A child or any person named by the subscriber of an RESP to receive money for education after high school in the form of Educational Assistance Payments. Payments are made according to the specific terms of the RESP.
RESP promoter
A person or organization offering to the public education savings plans as defined in subsection 146.1(1) of the Income Tax Act and the property of which is held in trust by a Trustee.

There are approximately 90 financial institutions (promoters) that deliver education saving incentives administered by ESDC, which are categorized into four distinct types:

  1. Banking Services: This industry group consists of companies that work in the banking, consumer lending and corporate financial services industry. The companies are deposit-taking institutions that are involved in commercial banking, retail and mortgage banking, and private banking activities.
  2. Investment Services: This industry group consists of companies that conduct investment banking, brokerage services, investment management and fund operation, wealth management, private equity, security and commodity exchanges and diversified investment services, which combine investment banking/ security brokerage services with investment management and fund operating operations.
  3. Group plan promoters: Group plan promoters offer group plan RESPs, which are a collection of individual contracts administered for a group of beneficiaries born in the same year.
  4. Insurance and other: Includes those companies that operate in the property and casualty insurance, life and health insurance and re-insurance industries. This promoter type also includes establishments that cannot be grouped under any other types of the classification system.
RESP withdrawals
Funds withdrawn from RESP accounts include:

  1. Educational Assistance Payments (EAPs): Payments from an RESP to help an eligible beneficiary cover expenses associated with post-secondary education. An EAP consists of educational incentive amounts paid into an RESP, as well as the interest earned on personal contributions and incentive amounts. Personal contributions are not included in EAPs.
  2. Post-Secondary Education contribution withdrawals: A withdrawal of personal contributions made by the subscriber to an RESP when a beneficiary is enrolled in post-secondary education.
Subscriber
Usually a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, sibling or friend who opens an RESP and makes personal contributions to the RESP.
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