Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG)

Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) provides an incentive for parents, family and friends to save for a child's post-secondary education by paying a grant based on the amount contributed to an RESP for the child. The Canada education savings grant (CESG) money will be deposited directly into the child's RESP.

Who qualifies for the basic CESG

No matter what your family income is, ESDC pays an amount of Canada Education Savings Grant (basic CESG) of 20% of annual contributions you make to all eligible RESPs for a qualifying beneficiary to a maximum CESG of $500 in respect of each beneficiary ($1,000 in CESG if there is unused grant room from a previous year), and a lifetime limit of $7,200.

Who qualifies for the additional CESG

ESDC will also pay an additional amount of Canada Education Savings Grant (additional CESG) for each qualifying beneficiary. The additional amount is based on the adjusted income and can change over time as the adjusted income changes.

The following chart gives you a brief overview of how the CESG is calculated depending on the adjusted income:

Canada education savings grant summary chart
Adjusted income for 2021 $49,020 or less more than $49,020
but less than $98,040
More than $98,040
CESG on the first $500 of annual RESP contribution 20% = $100 10% = $50 Beneficiary is not eligible
Basic CESG on the first $2,500 of annual RESP contribution 20% = $500 20% = $500 20% = $500
Maximum yearly CESG depending on income and contributions $600 $550 $500
Lifetime maximum CESG for which you may qualify $7,200 $7,200 $7,200

Every child under age 18 who is a Canadian resident will accumulate $400 (for 1998 to 2006) and $500 (from 2007 and subsequent years) of CESG contribution room. Unused CESG contribution room is carried forward and used when RESP contributions are made in future years provided that the specific contribution requirements for beneficiaries who attain 16 or 17 years of age are met.

Beneficiaries qualify for a grant on the contributions made on their behalf up to the end of the calendar year in which they turn 17 years of age.

Contribution requirements for beneficiaries who are 16 or 17 years old

However, since the CESG has been designed to encourage long-term savings for post-secondary education, there are specific contribution requirements for beneficiaries who attain 16 or 17 years of age. RESPs for beneficiaries 16 and 17 years of age can only receive CESG if at least one of the following two conditions is met:

  • a minimum of $2,000 was contributed to (and not withdrawn from) the RESP of the child before the end of the calendar year they turned 15
  • a minimum annual contribution of $100 was made to (and not withdrawn from) the RESP in at least four of the years before the end of the calendar year the child turned 15

This means that you must start to save in RESPs for your child before the end of the calendar year in which the beneficiary attains 15 years of age in order to be eligible for the CESG.

The CESG and accumulated earnings will be part of the educational assistance payments paid out of the RESP to the beneficiary.

If the beneficiary does not pursue post-secondary education, the CESG is returned to the government.

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