Registered Disability Savings Plan – Qualifying Plan Holders

Notice to the reader 

This measure has received Royal Assent.

The budget proposes to extend to the end of 2023 the temporary measure that allows a qualifying family member to be the plan holder of an individual’s Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) where the individual’s ability to enter into a contract is in doubt and no legal representative is in place.


1. Who can open an RDSP for a person who has reached the age of majority and lacks contractual capacity?

An RDSP for a person who has reached the age of majority and who lacks contractual capacity can be opened by any of the following:

  • A guardian, tutor, curator or other individual who is legally authorized to act for the beneficiary; or
  • A public department, agency or institution that is legally authorized to act for the beneficiary.

The person or organization who opens the RDSP is called the plan holder. The plan holder manages the plan and makes or authorizes contributions on behalf of the beneficiary.

2. What measures are currently in place for plan holders in respect of an individual who has attained the age of majority and lacks contractual competence?

Budget 2012 introduced a temporary measure providing that where, in the opinion of a financial institution that offers RDSPs (RDSP issuer), an adult individual's ability to enter into a contract is in doubt, the spouse, common-law partner, or parent of the individual (Qualifying Family Member) would be eligible to become the plan holder of the individual’s RDSP. These changes were originally legislated to apply until the end of 2016. Budget 2015 extended the measure to the end of 2018.

3. What does Budget 2018 propose with respect to this temporary measure?

Budget 2018 proposes to extend the temporary measure by five years, to apply until the end of 2023.

4. Why are these changes temporary?

The temporary federal measure is intended to enable more individuals to open RDSPs while provinces and territories develop longer term solutions to RDSP legal representation issues.

Some provinces have instituted streamlined processes that allow for the appointment of a trusted person to manage resources on behalf of an adult who lacks contractual capacity, or have indicated that their system already provides sufficient flexibility to address this concern. Others still require more time to develop such a process.

5. If I become a plan holder under these rules, what will happen after 2023?

You will be able to remain a plan holder until one of the following events:

  • if the RDSP issuer no longer has doubt regarding the beneficiary's contractual capacity, the beneficiary may choose to replace you as the plan holder;
  • if a beneficiary subsequently is determined to be contractually competent by a public agency or tribunal, the beneficiary may choose to replace you as the plan holder; and,
  • if a legal representative is later named in respect of the beneficiary, the legal representative will replace you as the plan holder.
6. Where can I get more information on the proposed changes?

The CRA provides the latest information on the proposed changes on Taxpayers should check online regularly for updated forms, policies, guidelines, questions and answers, and guidance.

In the meantime, please consult the Department of Finance Canada’s Budget 2018 documents for details.

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