Young people urged to take advantage of Canada Learning Bond

MP Irek Kusmierczyk speaks to reporters, September 23, 2021. (Photo by Maureen Revait)

The federal government wants students to understand that anyone can afford to further their education after high school.

The Canada Learning Bond, first established in 2004, is a fund added to a child’s Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP), created through banks and credit unions. The bond can contribute up to $2,000 per child in lower-income homes.

Windsor-Tecumseh MP Irek Kusmierczyk, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion; hosted a Zoom meeting Thursday afternoon to announce that with the bond’s 18th year, 2022 is the first time students may access the fund. Students can use the money to pay for tuition, supplies, materials, and other items for a post-secondary program.

Kusmierczyk said any household, that has had a yearly income of $49,000 or less for at least one year of a child’s life, is urged to apply. The $49,000 is for up to three children in one family, and the amount goes up with four children or more.

“It changes behaviours and attitudes in a home towards education, and sends a powerful signal from parents to their kids that a postsecondary degree is an attainable and important goal,” said Kusmierczyk.

Kusmierczyk added that Windsor-Essex is one region of Canada where the financial need for post-secondary education is prevalent.

Luke Connell, Executive Director of SmartSaver, a Toronto-based non-profit, said parents should not hesitate to apply. Children need only be born in 2004 or later, be legal Canadian residents, and meet the income requirement for at least one year of their life.

“The Canada Learning Bond, importantly, is retroactive, so it’s never too late to apply,” said Connell. “So for families who have had children in the past who could be income-eligible, they could apply now and receive all of their Canada Learning Bond payments in retroactive years.”

That begins at $500, with $100 payments each year they are eligible, up to the year they turn 15.

Connell also said that 18-year-olds who have yet to access their Learning Bond may do so up to age 21, and once they come of age, they can apply for their own RESP if they don’t already have one.

Complete information on the Canada Learning Bond can be found on the Government of Canada’s official website or by contacting your financial institution.