Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

September 24, 2010 10:00 ET

Minister Finley Encourages Education Savings by Canadian Families

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 24, 2010) - The Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, today announced the launch of the Smart Saver project. This three-year partnership between the Government of Canada and the Omega Foundation aims to increase awareness of and participation in Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs) among 14 000 low- and middle-income families living in the Great Toronto Area.

The Government of Canada is committed to helping Canadian families save for their children's education after high school by offering special education savings incentives, including the Canada Learning Bond and the Canada Education Savings Grant, through RESPs.

"Our government believes that access to post-secondary education is essential to securing future opportunities for young Canadians," said Minister Finley. "This investment will help encourage low- and middle-income families to save early for their children's future education."

The Smart Saver project will help develop and implement a Family Education Program by providing families with financial information in plain language, making it easier to understand and invest in an RESP.

The Smart Saver project will benefit these families by increasing their knowledge about how to start saving for their children's post-secondary education, which is an important step to increase access and reduce barriers to education for low- and middle-income families. Additionally, 115 Toronto-based community organizations will benefit from this project by receiving the tools and training they need to support members of their community.

Building on this investment, the Harper Government launched the Canada Student Grants Program in 2009, helping students and families manage the cost of post-secondary education. More than 245,000 college and undergraduate students are expected to benefit from the new grants each year, an increase of over 100,000 students from previous grant programs.

This news release is available in alternative formats on request. 

Backgrounder

The Canada Education Savings Program (CESP) is operated by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC). The CESP is an important component of the Government of Canada's commitment to continue to support Canadians and secure long-term economic growth, which includes a range of programs that support Canadian families in saving to pursue educational opportunities after high school. 

The Government of Canada is working with its provincial and territorial partners, business and labour representatives, educators, community-based organizations and other stakeholders to make education after high school more accessible and affordable, so that Canadians can pursue learning opportunities. 

Recognizing the challenges that low- and middle-income families may face in saving for an education after high school, the Government of Canada established the Canada Education Savings Grant and the Canada Learning Bond. Both initiatives are administered by HRSDC.

The Canada Learning Bond

The Canada Learning Bond (CLB) is a grant available to children who were born after December 31, 2003, and whose families receive the National Child Benefit Supplement (NCBS).

The initial grant is a $500 payment made into a child's Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP). Additional grants of $100 are paid during each year that a child remains eligible for the NCBS, up to the age of 15, for a maximum of $2,000.

The Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG)

The Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG) provides an incentive for families to save for a child's education after high school by providing a grant directly into a child's RESP. The CESG is calculated as a percentage of contributions paid into an RESP.

The Government of Canada through the CESG could provide up to $600 annually for a child's RESP. The maximum lifetime grant that the Government of Canada can give to a child is $7,200.

Education Savings Community Outreach

The Education Savings Community Outreach (ESCO) contribution funding program was launched in 2005 as an important component of the Canada Education Savings Program outreach strategy, in order to inform Canadians of the existence of the Canada Learning Bond and other education savings incentives.

The initiative supports local, regional, national and umbrella non-profit organizations, post-secondary institutions, professional organizations, and provincial/territorial and municipal governments in the development and delivery of projects which that aim at reaching those at risk of not receiving the CESG and CLB benefits to which they are entitled. It also raises awareness of the advantages of saving early for children's post-secondary education through an RESP.

The Omega Foundation's Smart Saver project

The Canada Savings Education Program's (CESP) Education Savings Community Outreach (ESCO) funding of $703,900 to the Smart Saver project will help develop and implement a Family Education Program by providing families with financial information in plain language making it easier to understand and invest in an RESP.

This three-year project aims to develop, implement and evaluate a social marketing strategy to increase awareness of and participation in RESPs among low- and middle- income families living in the Great Toronto Area (GTA).

The Omega Foundation will develop and implement a Family Education Program Delivery Model that local delivery agents can use to increase low income families' knowledge about how to start saving for children's post-secondary education using RESPs, as well as how to access the Canada Learning Bond. The model will be designed for a parent/caregiver audience and used in family workshops and discussions. A multilingual online presence to promote interest and facilitate step-by-step action to start and build education savings will also be created.

The Omega Foundation will also build a network of local delivery agents including the YMCA of Greater Toronto, OMNI Media, the Toronto District School Board and the Working Women Community Centre to raise awareness of RESP savings and how to support clients' enrolment.

For more information about the Canada Education Savings Grant and the Canada Learning Bond, visit www.canlearn.ca or call toll free 1 800 O-Canada (1 800 622-6232), TTY: 1 800 926-9105

Contact Information

  • Office of Minister Finley
    Michelle Bakos
    Press Secretary
    819-994-2482
    or
    Human Resources and Skills Development Canada
    Media Relations Office
    819-994-5559