Ensuring a bright future for your child? Try the RESP

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For most immigrants, the main reason for coming to Canada is to be able to provide a brighter future for their children. Better education, opportunities, and quality of life are among the things that we all wish for them. Many federal and provincial programs support this goal through subsidies and other forms of financial assistance. A good example of this is the RESP or the Registered Education Savings Plan.

When you open an RESP for your child, the Government of Canada helps you save through special incentives called the Canada Education Savings Grant, and the Canada Learning Bond.

What is the RESP?

An RESP is a special savings account that can help you save for your child’s education after high school. When you open an RESP for your child, the Government of Canada helps you save through special incentives called the Canada Education Savings Grant, and the Canada Learning Bond. Moreover, savings can grow tax-free, until the person named in the RESP enrolls in studies after high school.

In essence, anybody can open an RESP for another person (child or adult), even for themselves, as there is no age limit to open one. However, the plan for adults will only earn tax-free interest on the education savings but the Canada Education Savings Grant and the Canada Learning Bond will only be paid to beneficiaries aged 17 and below. To open an RESP, you will need a Social Insurance Number (SIN). To know how to apply for a SIN for yourself and for your child, read Essential documents for newcomers on this site.

Kinds of RESPs

Family Plan

  • The main requirement for this is for the children named in the plan be related to you either by blood or adoption
  • Ideal if you have more than one child as you can name more than one to receive the savings
  • Earnings can be shared among the children, and the Canada Education Savings Grant may be used by any beneficiary named in the RESP, to a maximum of $7,200
  • The Additional Canada Education Savings Grant and the Canada Learning Bond can only be paid if the beneficiaries in the plan are siblings

Individual (non-family) Plan

  • For this plan, there is only one beneficiary, and he/she does not have to be related to you.
  • You can open one for yourself or another adult, however, the Canada Education Savings Grant and the Canada Learning Bond will not be added as benefits.

Group plan

  • You can name only one child to receive the benefits of the plan; he/she does not have to be related to you
  • In a group plan, your savings are combined with those of other people. How much a child gets depends on how much money is in the group account and the total number of students of the same age who are in school that year

How to apply for an RESP

  1. Apply for a SIN
  2. Choose an RESP provider that suits your needs. These may be banks, credit unions, certified financial planners or group plan dealers. It would be helpful to ask the questions listed on the CanLearn.ca page so that you can compare answers and arrive at the best option.
  3. Decide if you want to open an individual, family or group plan.

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Community Resources

To learn more about the RESP, read the Frequently Asked Questions on the RESP, or go to the Canada Revenue website to learn about RESPs in Canada.

You can also download the Choosing the Right RESP brochure, available in various languages.

You can also get information about the RESP on the Service Canada site.

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Quiz

Want to ensure a bright future for your child? Try the RESP

For the following questions, please select the correct answer. Please note that some questions have more than one answer.

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