What would you say if someone offered you $3,200 for your child’s education and you didn’t have to pay anything? You’d take it, right?

United Way Fraser Valley Executive Director Wayne Green says he recently got a call from a non-profit called Smart Saver, telling him about the Canada Learning Bond.  At first he couldn’t figure out why they were calling him.

“Then when they brought it to my attention that the Canada Learning Bond really focuses on low income parents, and of the parents in Chilliwack who are eligible, only 27% had applied, the light bulb came on….we’re really missing out on an important poverty reduction strategy.”

In fact, he calls it one of the biggest poverty reduction strategies to ever come across his desk.

If you haven’t heard of the Canada Learning Bond, you’re not alone. There are between 8 and 9 thousand families in Chilliwack alone who are eligible.

“There’s so much potential…even if we saw the take-up rate double, which would still only be half the people who could get it, applying, we would see between $3.7 million and $7 million being invested in Chilliwack’s kids.”

This is such a big deal, that Green took the info to all the local school districts and they’re all going to be sending information packets home with the kids. Nathan Ngieng with the Chilliwack District says it was a no brainer.

“This was a great opportunity for us to partner with the United Way and get the message out.  We’re probably talking about thousands of students here that could potentially qualify for this grant.”

The take-up rate in Abbotsford is 41%, and it’s 29% in Mission, so in the valley we’re looking at upwards of $20 million in untapped money.

The CLB is available to any family with an income of $44,701 or less.  There is also a $1200 BC Training and Education Savings Grant available to EVERY child between 6-9 years old, but that one is a one time payment.  You need a social insurance number for your child and you need to start an RESP for them, but that is free to do at most financial institutions and you don’t need to make any personal contributions.

Here is what you need to know:

$3,200 for your child’s future education is available with no personal contributions required

-Every child, 6-9 years old in BC is eligible to receive the new $1,200 BC Training and Education Savings Grant
-Every child whose parents have ever received the National Child Benefit Supplement (family income below $44,701) is eligible to receive $500 from the Canada Learning Bond on application and $100 per qualifying year until 15 years of age
-This is truly free money to start your child’s education fund. Only 27% of eligible Chilliwack families have applied for their Canada Learning Bond!

-Children with some savings are 50% more likely to attend post-secondary education
-Children with savings, from low-income families are 4X more likely to graduate from post-secondary education

-All you need is to obtain a Social Insurance Number for your child and primary caregiver and to open a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP)
-Parents can apply for an RESP online at or visit their local bank or credit union

-Money in an RESP can be used for university, college, trades school, hairdressing school or any other approved education institution or school
-RESPs can be kept open for 36 years

You must have a Social Insurance Number for yourself and your child to apply.
The nearest Service Canada location for application is at:
100 – 9345 Main Street

Open an RESP Account

Start your RESP and Canada Learning Bond application at This allows you to complete the application at your ease. When you apply you will be given the option of setting up your RESP at BMO Bank of Montreal, RBC Royal Bank, Scotiabank, TD, or Vancity Credit Union. A representative from your selected institution will be in touch with you shortly to complete the process at your local branch.
You may also go directly to your preferred financial institution. Most credit unions in BC offer free set-up and no annual fee RESPs. We recommend that you confirm that your financial institution offers free set-up and no annual fees, as well as no required contributions.

For every application using SmartSAVER’s online process, SmartSAVER will contribute $25 to Success By 6® for early childhood programs in your community.
That’s it. You’ve set your child on a path to a prosperous future!

Quick Facts

What if your child doesn’t attend post-secondary education?
You keep the interest, after paying income taxes, plus any personal contributions with no tax withheld. Your financial institution will withhold the government grants and return them to the government.

Do I have to pay tax on any interest or revenue earned?
Taxes are paid by the recipient, likely at a very low rate as they are a student. Voluntary contributions to an RESP may be eligible for 20%, 30% or 40% matching grants from the Federal Government, depending on your family income level.
If you currently have an RESP, but do not qualify for the Canada Learning Bond, you might need to open a new RESP to receive your BC Training and Education Savings Grant, depending on your provider.