RESP incentive underutilized: CPA Canada survey

TORONTO, April 28, 2015 /CNW/ - A national survey conducted for Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada) found that almost half of the participating parents have not yet opened a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP).

"Parents with financial flexibility should be looking to utilize the saving incentive as soon as possible," stressed Cairine Wilson, vice-president, corporate citizenship, CPA Canada. "The RESP program is structured to help grow education savings with the assistance of a government grant tied to your contributions. The greater the window of opportunity for saving the more money that can be accumulated."

According to the survey, 53 per cent of the participating parents have an RESP. The program can be used to finance education at a college or university in Canada or abroad. It can also be used for skill development at educational institutions in Canada certified by the Minister of Employment and Social Development Canada.

"A lack of awareness, budget challenges or work schedules could all be factors why a significant number of parents are not taking advantage of the RESP program," explained Wilson. "It is never too late for parents to take the time to learn what options are available and then take action."                                                                                                        

Eight in ten of the parents surveyed have started saving for a child's post-secondary education.

"More than just tuition must be considered," said David Trahair, a chartered professional accountant and financial author. "Costs for transportation, shelter, books and food also come into play."

Three quarters (75 per cent) of the respondents actively saving believe they are on the right track to have enough money to cover the education costs. While this is down significantly from 2010 when 86 per cent felt they were on track, it is basically unchanged from 2012 (74 per cent).

"It's worrisome that roughly a quarter of the parents attempting to save for a child's education report that they are falling behind," said Trahair. "Catching up is never easy but sticking with things can help provide peace of mind for parents down the road."

The survey found that 86 per cent of the respondents with children expressed confidence in having the financial knowledge and skills required to adequately perform the task of saving for a child's post-secondary education.

The survey findings assist CPA Canada in understanding how to help Canadians increase their financial skills and knowledge to become better money managers.

Survey methodology
CPA Canada commissioned Nielsen to conduct a study to determine what types of day-to-day activities Canadians perform to help manage their finances, as well as to understand the level of confidence they have with specific financial activities. The findings being released today focus on saving for post-secondary education. Survey results on additional financial activities will be released at a later date. The CPA Canada 2014 Canadian Finance Study Report was conducted via telephone from October 14 to October 30, 2014.  Of the 1,002 respondents answering the survey nationally, 301 of these respondents indicated having children under the age of 18. Since the news release deals strictly with questions asked of parents, answers to these questions are considered accurate to within ± 5.7 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

For more on post-secondary education saving, visit:  

About CPA Canada

Canada's accounting profession is uniting under a new single designation, Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA). The profession's national body, Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada), represents and supports more than 190,000 members across the country. CPAs are valued for their financial and tax expertise, strategic thinking, business insight, management skills and leadership. CPA Canada has consolidated the operations of three national accounting bodies: The Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants, the Certified General Accountants Association of Canada and The Society of Management Accountants of Canada. CPA Canada conducts research into current and emerging business issues and supports the setting of accounting, auditing and assurance standards for business, not-for-profit organizations and government. It also issues guidance on control and governance, publishes professional literature and develops certification and continuing education programs.


For further information: Tobin Lambie, Principal, Media, CPA Canada, T: 416-204-3228, C: 647-302-3761,,; Diana Sorace, Manager, Media Relations, CPA Canada, T: 604-694-6700, C: 604-551-4487,,


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