English families missing out on government money for their children

Claire Holt- Press photo.jpg
Photo: Actions Interculturelles

Claire Holt will be giving a talk on the advantages of opening an RESP to help parents save for their children’s future education.

Registered Education Savings Plans are an untapped source of funding for children’s post-secondary education. Many English-speaking families across Quebec are missing out on grant money available for their children’s future education. Families falling into the low-income category are losing out the most, as they are eligible for up to $2,000 in free money just for opening a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP), yet in 2010 only 24% actually received it. To increase knowledge on RESPs in our community, Voice of English-speaking Quebec (VEQ) will host a workshop on February 1 aimed at informing English-speakers about this program.

Official language minorities have fewer information sources for programs which help them save for post-secondary education. VEQ has teamed up with Actions Interculturelles to remedy this by offering a workshop teaching families about what RESPs are, how to access the free government money that comes with them and how to make sure they find a plan which fits their needs.

Because both organizations are community based non-profits, they aren’t selling any particular product. Their aim is to offer families objective information about their options to empower them to make informed decisions.

There are major advantages to saving for a child’s education with an RESP instead of a regular savings plan. When an RESP is opened, the government knows that the money is going to be used to pay for education, and it has incentives to help maximize a family’s savings. At all income levels, both the federal and provincial governments match contributions you make to an RESP under the Canada Education Savings Grant and Quebec Education Savings Initiative.

To make it easier for low-income families, the level of matching by the federal and provincial governments can be as high as 60%. However, in 2009 only 38% of Quebec families received these grants. Low-income families are also eligible for the Canada Learning Bond, consisting of up to $2,000 in deposits from the government of Canada into a child’s RESP. In 2010 only 1 in 4 children eligible for the Canada Learning Bond actually had an RESP opened to be able to receive it.

The workshop, explaining all this and more, will take place on February 1 at 6:30 p.m. on the first floor of the Jeffery Hale Pavilion, 1270 chem. Sainte-Foy. Parents, grandparents or anyone thinking about the future of any child is welcome.

This workshop is one of many happening in English-speaking communities all across Quebec as part of an information campaign funded in part by the Government of Canada through the Education Savings Community Outreach contribution. Anyone who comes to a workshop and opens an RESP will be entered into a draw to win $500 with which to start their saving.

VEQ is asking for RSVPs for the workshop. This can be done by contacting their office at 418-683-2366 x 221 or [email protected]. We need to know how many information packages to bring!