1. Government grants
The federal government adds to your RESP savings each year through the Canada Education Savings Grant. Lower-income families may also qualify for the Canada Learning Bond. If you live in Quebec, Alberta or Saskatchewan, you may also be eligible for a provincial grant.
2. RESP savings grow tax free
You don't pay tax on any investment earnings as long as they stay in the RESP. That means your savings can grow faster.
3. EAPs are taxable in the hands of the student
When your child enrols in post-secondary education, they can start taking payments, called educational assistance payments (EAPs), from their RESP. EAPs are made up of the investment earnings and government grant money in the RESP. Tax on EAPs is payable in the hands of your child — not you. Since students tend to have little or no income, they likely won't have to pay much tax on the payments. Contributions can be withdrawn by you or by the student tax-free.
4. A variety of investment options
You can choose investments that best suit your investment objectives, risk tolerance, and time horizon. Different providers offer different investment options. Examples: stocks, bonds, mutual funds, GICs.
5. Friends and family can contribute
Anyone can set up an individual RESP for your child – not just you. Your child's RESP can grow more quickly with contributions from friends and family. Consider encouraging monetary gifts on special occasions to contribute to your child’s RESP.
6. RESP accounts can stay open for 36 years
If your child chooses to defer their education plans after high school, they can still use the RESP money when they are ready to go back to school. But check the rules of your RESP to make sure there are no restrictions on waiting to continue their education. Under specified plan rules, RESP accounts for beneficiaries eligible for the disability tax credit can stay open for up to 40 years.
Content in this section is provided in partnership with Investor Education Fund, a non-profit organization founded and supported by the Ontario Securities Commission that provides unbiased and independent financial tools to help Canadians make better money decisions. To find out more, go to: GetSmarterAboutMoney.ca