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At a glance

What is a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP)?

The Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) is a tax-sheltered plan that can help you save for your child's post-secondary education. Not only can you grow your savings tax-free, but the government will add from 20 % to 40 % each year to your savings with education grants like the Canadian Education Savings Grant (CESG).

Perfect if you are looking to:

  • Save for children, grandchildren and relatives's education
  • Maximize your savings with government grants
  • Recover your savings if the child decides not to continue their education
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Investing a small amount each month is easier than making a large investment once a year. Learn how to set up systematic savings.

Who can contribute?

Subscribers must:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be a Canadian resident
  • Have a valid social insurance number


If parents, grandparents and relatives contribute to a family RESP, the funds can be transferred to another child in the same family.

Who can benefit?

Beneficiaries must:

  • Be a Canadian resident
  • Have a valid social insurance number


What if the children decide not to continue their studies? You can transfer your savings to an RRSP.


Maximum contribution

$50,000 per beneficiary over the lifetime of the plan

Maximum annual CESG amount: $500, or 20% of the first $2,500 contributed

Unused grants can be carried forward (for years dating back to 1998, if the child was born) at a rate of one per year, up to a total of $1,000 in grants per year.


Reached your contribution limit? Keep saving in a TFSA.

What products should you hold in an RESP?

Choose investment solutions based on your investor profile.

Eligible products

Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC)

Protect your investment while you grow your savings.

See our GICs


Managed solutions and investment funds

Let a team of experts manage your portfolio.

See our managed solutions and investment funds

Self-directed investments

Take an active role in managing your investments.

Discover National Bank Direct Brokerage

Other tax-free plans


Save and reduce your annual taxable income, and you could save on taxes in the year you contribute.

Discover the RRSP


Protect your interest from taxes and access your funds whenever you want.

Discover the TFSA


The FHSA (Tax-Free First Home Savings Account) is a new savings account that will allow first-time homebuyers to save up for a home.

Discover the FHSA

Explore all our savings plans and learn how they differ from investments.

Discover our plans

Meet with an advisor who can help you achieve your savings goals.

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Little details that matter

  Individual RESP
Family RESP
One beneficiary, does not need to be related to the subscriber
One or more beneficiaries, related to the subscriber by blood or adoption
Age limit
No age limit
Beneficiaries must be under 31 years old
Distribution between beneficiaries
Contributions, withdrawals and financial aid are paid to a single beneficiary
Contributions are distributed between beneficiaries by the subscriber
If the beneficiary decides not to pursue their studies
A new beneficiary can be designated
Other beneficiaries can use the contributions

The beneficiary receives Educational Assistance Payments (EAPs) based on the subscriber's instructions. 1 The maximum amount of EAPs that can be paid before end of the first term of full-time studies (usually a period of 13 consecutive weeks) is $8,000. 2 For part-time studies, the amount is $4,000. After that time, if the beneficiary needs to cash in all of the investment income and grants during the same year to cover tuition and expenses, the full amount can be withdrawn.

If the beneficiary does not pursue postsecondary studies and no other beneficiary is named, grants will be returned to the government and contributions will be refunded to the subscriber. The subscriber may also receive the investment income generated by the RESP in the form of Accumulated Income Payments if certain conditions are met.

Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG)

  • Maximum amount: $7,200 over the lifetime of the plan for each child born after 1997
  • Beneficiary age limit: 17 years old
  • Grants are equivalent to 20-40% of annual contributions (based on family income), up to a maximum of $500 per year per beneficiary.
  • Unused grants can be carried forward at a rate of one per year (up to a total of $1,000 in grants per year).
  • You can only claim one year's worth of unused grants at a time. This means that the maximum annual contribution eligible for grants is $5,000. This contribution will earn you the maximum grant of $500 for the current year and $500 of unused grants from a previous year.

Quebec Education Savings Incentive (QESI)

  • Maximum amount (received as a tax credit): $3,600
  • Beneficiary age limit: 18 years old
  • The basic amount is equivalent to 10% of net annual contributions to the plan, up to $250 per child per year.

Canada Learning Bond (CLB)

  • Maximum amount: $2,000
  • Beneficiary age limit: 15 years old
  • Grant for children from low-income families born after 2004
  • $500 paid in the first year and $100 paid in subsequent years where the family meets income criteria

Other provincial education savings incentives

British Columbia offers additional grants.

The beneficiary of an RESP is an individual to whom or for whom the promoter agrees to make Educational Assistance Payments if that person is entitled to receive them at the time of payment.

An RESP can be opened by an individual and/or his or her spouse, Subscribers need to provide a valid social insurance number for themselves and all beneficiaries.

Unused grant room from previous years can be carried forward at a rate of one per year.

  1. Trusts may not act as subscribers.
  2. Amounts may be higher for certain programs with higher tuition fees.
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