Healing Gaia

Canada Learning Bonds Help Pay for Postsecondary Education

The Canada Learning Bond is available to families receiving the National Child Benefit Supplement with children born on or after January 1, 2004.

By Doreen Nicoll
Published February 23, 2015

It's well-known that high school graduates who complete an apprenticeship, college or university program have a better chance of achieving a higher standard of living than their peers who lack postsecondary education.

The total cost of an apprenticeship, college diploma or university degree can be overwhelming especially if your child lives on campus.

If you're able to start saving as soon as your child is born, it's a little more manageable. If you can't do this, there is another way.

The Canada Learning Bond helps lower income parents start saving for their child's postsecondary education.

The Canada Learning Bond is available to families receiving the National Child Benefit Supplement with children born on or after January 1, 2004.

Through a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) you can get an initial $500. Your child may also qualify for an additional $100 each year up to age 15, as long as you continue receiving the National Child Benefit Supplement.

That's up to $2,000 in Canada Learning Bonds, plus interest earned, for your child's postsecondary education.

There is no cost to parents because an additional $25 is paid to the RESP provider to cover costs. After high school, your child can withdraw the money to help pay for either full-time or part-time studies in: an apprenticeship program; at a CEGEP; trade school; college; or university. Proof of enrollment is required before the funds will be released from the RESP.

You can keep an RESP open for up to 36 years which means the money's available if your child decides to take some time off before continuing their education.

If your child chooses not to attend a postsecondary institution, you must close the plan and the Canada Learning Bond money will be returned to the Government of Canada.

Applying for a Canada Learning Bond is a simple 2-step process that must be done by the child's primary care giver. This is usually the same adult that's receiving the National Child Benefit Supplement.

  1. Get a Social Insurance Number (SIN) for your child.

  2. Open an RESP account with an RESP provider that offers the Canada Learning Bond. Your RESP provider will apply for the bond on your behalf. Contact your bank or credit union first. They most likely offer this service.

900,000 children across Canada qualify for the Canada Learning Bond but are not accessing the funds. Don't let your child be one of them.

More information on the Canada Learning Bond and all RESP savings programs is available at:

Doreen Nicoll is a feminist and a member of several community organizations working diligently to end poverty, hunger and gendered violence.

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