More than Money: Mining the human and financial potential of Canada’s education savings programs for low-income families
A Maytree Report by May Wong and Sheila Murray
Quotes in this paper draw on in-depth interviews with low-income parents of diverse ethnic backgrounds, including those hired to conduct outreach, as well as a settlement worker and a school principal involved in the outreach. In Toronto, the Working Women Community Centre is running agency outreach sessions around the city, to introduce service providers to RESPs. SmartSaver and YMCA staff can also provide onsite training for service professionals to engage your clients in RESP education.
If you want to hold an RESP information session at your agency, or access more information for the families you serve email SmartSaver at firstname.lastname@example.org or call them at 416-966-2286.
The Q&A in the webinar recording includes many questions that are focused on newcomer/immigrant audiences/clients. The SmartSaver website has information in multiple languages: http://www.smartsaver.org/.
Recommendations of note:
- Service providers, including hospitals, daycares, schools, benefits administrators, and settlement workers, should inform themselves about basic RESP facts, including where to find unbiased product information, in order to better act as an information resource for families.
- Service providers should inform themselves about the Canada Learning Bond and encourage lowincome families to secure it for their eligible children.
- Service providers should encourage their clients to get a social insurance number for their children and open an RESP in order to, at a minimum, receive the Canada Learning Bond which can total $2,000 without parental contributions.
- The federal government should examine models of automatic enrollment to determine feasibility with respect to the Canada Learning Bond.
- Provincial and municipal government agencies that administer income support or other financial benefit programs for low-income families, such as childcare subsidies and housing support, should identify opportunities to encourage eligible families to secure the Canada Learning Bond.