InfoCapsule: Contribution

Disclaimer: RESP promoters

The information contained on this page is technical in nature and is intended for Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) and Canada Education Savings Program promoters. For general information, visit the RESP section.

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10. Contributions

A contribution is an amount deposited into a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) by a subscriber, in respect of a beneficiary, that may be eligible to attract the Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG) and the Saskatchewan Advantage Grant for Education Savings (SAGES).


  • belong to the subscriber
  • are non-tax deductible
  • are not part of an educational assistance payment (EAP)
  • have a lifetime limit of $50,000 per beneficiary

An assisted contribution means a contribution amount for which a CESG payment has been received.


An over-contribution occurs when all contributions made by all subscribers to all RESPs for a single beneficiary exceed the lifetime limit of $50,000. Each subscriber for that beneficiary is liable to pay a 1% per-month penalty tax for their share of the over-contribution that is not withdrawn by the end of the month.

Contribution withdrawals

Contributions can be withdrawn without tax implications and are done at the plan level (not at the beneficiary level). If contributions are withdrawn when no beneficiary in the RESP is eligible for an EAP, it may trigger the repayment of the CESG and the SAGES as these incentives are paid based on contributions.

Also, if unassisted contributions are withdrawn before a pending grant is paid in the RESP, the CESG must be repaid to ESDC when it is received as the contribution no longer meets the requirement for the CESG payment.

Repayment of the CESG due to an assisted contribution withdrawal

The promoter must use the following formula to determine the amount of the CESG to repay:

A / B X C


  • A is the balance in the CESG account of the RESP immediately before the withdrawal
  • B is the balance of the total assisted contributions in the RESP immediately before the withdrawal
  • C is the amount of assisted contribution withdrawn

Anti-churning rule

If assisted contributions are withdrawn before a beneficiary is eligible for an EAP, all beneficiaries under the RESP are no longer eligible for the Additional CESG for the remainder of the year and the next 2 calendar years. However, they will remain eligible for the Basic CESG. This anti-churning rule applies across all plans for each tainted beneficiary.

Repayment of the SAGES due to a contribution withdrawal

The promoter must repay the lesser of the following two amounts:

  • 10% of the withdrawal amount
  • the SAGES account balance before the withdrawal

Repayment of the CESG and the SAGES are not required when:

  • the contributions are withdrawn to eliminate over-contributions and the excess amount is $4,000 or less at the time of the withdrawal
  • a beneficiary of the RESP is eligible for an EAP
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