Notice #677 – One-name beneficiaries

Information bulletin

June 16, 2016
One-name beneficiaries


The purpose of this information bulletin is to inform Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) providers that as of May 2, 2016, RESP providers can submit beneficiary information with one name.


Some beneficiaries do not have a given name, only a surname, whether it is single or composite. This has caused difficulties when a promoter tries to open an RESP to obtain education savings incentives. In the past, a request for a manual intervention was needed to allow the registration of the education savings plan for a beneficiary with only one name as the ‘given name’ was a required field in the record type 200-03 (positions 78-97). To do this, the Canada Education Savings Program (CESP) requested that the surname of the beneficiary be repeated in the given name field, which did not accurately reflect the individual’s personal information.

New process for one-name beneficiaries

In order to streamline the Social Insurance Registry (SIR) validation process, the CESP system now allows the ‘given name’ field to be left blank so that the beneficiary’s information can be verified automatically. As such, to establish an RESP for a beneficiary with no ‘given name’, RESP providers can now leave the ‘given name’ field (positions 78-97) blank and complete all other fields in the record type 200-03 as they appear at SIR. As of May 2, 2016, RESP providers no longer need to request a manual intervention from the CESP.

If the RESP provider’s systems will not allow a blank (null) field for the given name in a beneficiary record, RESP providers should enter a period ( . ), hyphen ( - ) or underscore ( _ ) character for the given name. This will achieve the same result as leaving the field blank.

Please note that an updated Interface Transaction Standards document will be provided in July 2016 via a notice.

Contact us

If you have any questions regarding this information bulletin, please contact us by e-mail at or call at 1-888-276-3624. Our hours of operation are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern Time.

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