It pays to plan for a child’s education

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Canada Education Savings Program - Choosing the right Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) [PDF - 1.0 MB]

This publication is available for download at canada.ca/publicentre-ESDC.

It is also available upon request in multiple formats (large print, Braille, MP3, audio CD, e-text CD, DAISY, or Accessible PDF), by contacting 1-800-O-Canada (1-800-622-6232). By teletypewriter (TTY), call 1-800-926-9105.

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, 2018

Help a child succeed by planning for their education after high school.

Open a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) and the Government of Canada can help you save for a child’s post-secondary education.

Registered Education Savings Plan

An RESP is a savings account registered by the Government of Canada. Anyone can open an RESP to save for a child’s education after high school.

With an RESP, the child could receive:

  • the Canada Learning Bond
  • the Canada Education Savings Grant and
  • provincial education savings incentives

Canada Learning Bond

The Canada Learning Bond is money that the Government of Canada adds to an RESP for eligible children from low-income families born in 2004 or later.

The Canada Learning Bond provides an initial payment of $500 into an RESP, as well as additional payments of $100 for each year of eligibility, up to age 15, up to a maximum of $2,000.

No personal contributions are required to receive the Canada Learning Bond for a child.

Canada Education Savings Grant

The Canada Education Savings Grant provides 20% on the first $2,500 in annual personal contributions to an RESP, for a maximum of $500 per year. Children from middle- and low-income families may be eligible for an additional 10% or 20%, respectively, on the first $500 in annual personal contributions. The lifetime maximum (including additional amounts) is $7,200.

Later, the child can use the education savings incentives to pay for full time or part time studies in:

  • an apprenticeship program
  • CEGEP
  • college
  • trade school or
  • university

How to open an RESP and request the Canada Learning Bond for an eligible child

  • You and the child need a Social Insurance Number (SIN) to open an RESP. For more information, go to Canada.ca/social-insurance-number or call 1-800-622 6232.
  • Make an appointment with a participating RESP promoter. For a complete list of organizations that offer RESPs, go to: canada.ca/list-resp-promoters.
  • Bring the SINs for you and your child to an RESP promoter and say: "I want to open a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) and request the Canada Learning Bond and the Canada Education Savings Grant for my child."

Choose the RESP that is right for you

You can open an RESP at a participating organization, such as a bank, credit union, or group plan dealer. These organizations are called "RESP promoters."

An RESP promoter can help you choose the type of RESP that is right for you.

There are two types of RESPs:

  • Family plans – for saving for more than one child in the same family.
  • Individual plans (which include group plans) – for saving for a single child.
    • Group plans – a collection of individual RESPs administered for a group of beneficiaries born in the same year.

Take the time to learn the terms and conditions of the plan you choose.

Choosing an RESP promoter

Choose an RESP promoter that best suits your needs.

Ask the promoter:

  • Do you offer the Canada Learning Bond and the Canada Education Savings Grant?
  • Is there a provincial education savings incentive available?
  • What types of RESPs do you offer (family or individual, including group)?
  • Do I have to pay fees for:
    • opening an RESP?
    • withdrawing money from an RESP?
    • managing my RESP?
    • services and commissions?
  • What will happen if I can no longer make regular payments into the RESP?
    Remember:

    For the child to receive the Canada Learning Bond you do not need to contribute any money into the RESP.

  • What will happen if the child does not continue education after high school?
  • If I have to close my RESP account early, will I:
    • have to pay fees or penalties?
    • get back the money that I contributed to the plan?
    • be able to transfer to another type of RESP?

For more information

Visit the pages on:

Government of Canada

Call 1-800-O-Canada (1-800-622-6232)
TTY 1-800-926-9105

Visit a Service Canada Centre near you.

By mail:

Canada Education Savings Program
Employment and Social Development Canada
140 Promenade du Portage, Phase IV
Mailstop: Bag 4
Gatineau QC K1A 0J9

Canada Revenue Agency – for questions about income tax and benefits
Individual income tax enquiries: 1-800-959-8281

Financial Consumer Agency of Canada – for information to help you better manage your money
1-866-461-3222

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