Fresh start in Canada can mean education savings crunch

 In Finance

As new Canadians, Maria and Carlos work hard to make ends meet. With bills to pay and a five-year-old daughter to raise, going back to school to upgrade their skills and get better jobs is challenging. Carlos already works 60 hours a week.

Still, because they know the value of an education, Maria and Carlos are trying desperately to save money to send their daughter to college, trade school or university when she’s older. So how can they do that? They start by opening a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) and getting up to $2,000, over time, from the federal government’s Canada Learning Bond (CLB). They don’t even need to spend a dime of their own money to get it.

If they receive the National Child Benefit Supplement (also known as the family allowance), all they have to do to get the Canada Learning Bond (CLB) is to:

1. Get a Social Insurance Number for their child (a 1 800 O-Canada agent can explain how to apply);

2. Go to their financial institution to open an RESP; and

3. Provide a birth certificate showing their child was born on, or after, Jan. 1, 2004.

Their financial institution then applies for the CLB on behalf of their child. The CLB is a $500 grant that the federal government automatically deposits in the RESP. If Maria and Carlos qualify, the government will deposit another $100 a year until the child reaches 15, up to a maximum of $2,000.

The earlier Maria and Carlos start saving for a post-secondary education for their daughter, the more affordable that education becomes. The CLB is a great way for them to get the ball rolling.

The CLB is administered by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada.

More information is available online at, by calling toll-free 1-800-O-Canada (1-800-622-6232) or visiting your nearest Service Canada Centre.

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