Canada Learning Bond: Registered Education Savings Plan Fact Sheet

  • The Canada Learning Bond is money from the Government of Canada to help low-income families start saving early for their children’s post-secondary education through special savings accounts known as Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs)
  • The Canada Learning Bond is available to families receiving the National Child Benefit Supplement and whose children were born after December 31, 2003.
  • The initial grant of $500 is paid directly into a child’s RESP. Additional payments of $100 will be made annually up to the age of 15, as long as the family continues to be eligible for the National Child Benefit Supplement.
  • The Canada Learning Bond could add up to $2,000 to an RESP. Twenty-five dollars are added to the initial $500 payment to help cover the cost of opening an RESP.
  • Families can apply for the Canada Learning Bond through their RESP provider: banks, credit unions, group plan dealers or through certified financial planners.
  • The Canada Learning Bond is returned to the Government of Canada if a child does not pursue a post-secondary education. Earnings on the Canada Learning Bond and any contributions made into the RESP may be used by brothers or sisters, if they pursue an education after high school.
  • As of 2008, approximately 850,000 children qualified for the Canada Learning Bond. An additional 120,000 newborns are expected to qualify each year.
  • The number of children receiving the Canada Learning Bond has nearly doubled between 2007 and 2008, passing from 75,700 to 140,000.
  • The Canada Learning Bond is administered by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada through the Canada Education Savings Program, an important component of the Government’s commitment to make post-secondary education accessible to Canadian families.

Canada Learning Bond: Registered Education Savings Plan Frequently Asked Questions

1. Who can get the Canada Learning Bond?

Your child can get the Canada Learning Bond if:

2. How much money could my child get from the bond?

  • Through a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) you could get $500 now to help you start saving early for your child’s education after high school. Your child may also get an extra $100 each year up to age 15, as long as you continue to receive the National Child Benefit Supplement.
  • That’s up to $2,000 in Canada Learning Bonds (plus interest) for your child’s education.
  • An extra $25 will be paid to help cover the cost of opening an RESP.

3. How do I apply for the bond?

It’s a simple 2-step process.

  • Get a Social Insurance Number (SIN) for your child. There’s no fee. However, certain documents, such as a birth certificate or permanent resident card, are required.
  • Open a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) account with an RESP Provider that offers the Canada Learning Bond. Your RESP provider will apply for the bond on your behalf.

4. What happens to the RESP if my child does not continue education after high school?

Since an RESP can stay open for up to 36 years, the money can be used if your child decides to attend school later.

If your child doesn’t continue his or her education and you must close the plan:

  • The amount you saved goes back to you. Ask your RESP provider for details.
  • The Canada Learning Bond must be returned to the Government of Canada.

5. Do I have to put in any money of my own to receive the bond?

No, you don’t have to put any of your own money into the RESP. Ask your RESP provider to apply for the bond, which the Government of Canada will deposit directly into your child’s RESP account.

However, if you choose to contribute to your child’s RESP account, your child will qualify for the Canada Education Savings Grant.

6. How soon can the person named in the plan start using the money?

Students can start receiving money from the RESP as soon as they are enrolled in a qualified post-secondary educational program.

7. What is a qualified educational program?

Qualified educational programs include apprenticeships and programs offered by a trade school, CEGEP (College of General and Vocational Education based in Quebec), college or university.

Usually, a qualified educational program is a course of study that lasts at least three weeks in a row, with at least 10 hours of instruction or work each week. A program at an educational institution outside of Canada must last at least 13 weeks.

8. Can RESP funds be used for students going to school part-time?

Yes. RESP funds can be used for either full-time or part-time study in 12 hours per month spent on courses.

9. Where can I find out more about the Canada Learning Bond?