Saving for your kids’ education

Minister Patty Hajdu, meeting with parents and children at the Laurentian Child and Family Centre.

November 21, 2018

By The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour

As a parent, I know that saving for your kids’ education can feel overwhelming. Money was tight as a single parent, but opening a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) for my boys was one of the best decisions I made.

This week marks the fifth annual Education Savings Week and provides an opportunity to continue the conversation on saving early for a child’s post-secondary education. More specifically, it’s a week dedicated to encouraging the use of an RESPs to help make post-secondary education more accessible and provide the next generation with a world of opportunities. 

Degrees or diplomas can be expensive, but RESPs are specifically designed to help. The money saved in an RESP can be used to cover the cost of tuition, housing, transportation and other related expenses like textbooks and tools. The Government of Canada has top-up programs that help grow those savings, namely, the Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG) and the Canada Learning Bond (CLB).

The CESG matches savings, up to a maximum lifetime amount of  $7,200, while the CLB is available for eligible children, born in 2004 or later, from low-income families and provides up to $2,000, with no personal contributions required. 

Right now, only a third of Canadians are taking up the CLB. That means that 1.9 million Canadian children who are currently eligible have yet to receive the CLB. That’s a lot of kids who could benefit from money in their RESP without their parents even having to contribute. The Government of Canada is focused on getting it to them.

What’s more, you don’t have to be a parent to open or contribute to an RESP for a child: a grandparent, foster parent, neighbour or friend can open an RESP to kick off savings. 

To request the Canada Learning Bond,  make an appointment with an organization that offers RESPs. To find one near you, go to canada.ca/list-resp-promoters. Bring Social Insurance Numbers (SIN) for you and the child.

Research shows that children with any amount of education savings are more likely to attend and complete post-secondary education, and our government is committed to making that happen for even more Canadians. I continue to work in collaboration with provinces and territories, community-based organizations, Indigenous Peoples and stakeholders to promote the benefits of early savings in RESPs, and ease access to the Canada Learning Bond for children from modest and low-income families. We are taking every opportunity to inform people about RESPs and the CLB because kids deserve a fair chance at success. 

I encourage you to learn more about the available education savings incentives and help us spread the word. 

It’s never too early or too late to start saving for a child’s future.

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