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Investing 101

What is the Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG)?

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In Canada, the cost of post-secondary education can be a significant financial burden for families. To alleviate some of this burden, the government introduced the Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG), a valuable financial incentive that encourages parents and guardians to save for their children's education. This grant provides a boost to savings in Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs) and can make a substantial difference in funding a child's education.

Below, we look at the details of the CESG, including what it is, who is eligible, tax implications, and the compelling advantages of early RESP investing.

What is the Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG)?

The Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG) is a government program designed to encourage long-term savings for a child's post-secondary education. It provides matching grants based on contributions made to a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP). Essentially, for every dollar you contribute to an RESP, the government may contribute a certain amount to the plan, helping your savings grow faster.

Who Gets It?

To benefit from this incentive, you must be a Canadian resident and have a valid Social Insurance Number (SIN). The grant is typically meant for beneficiaries who are under 17 years old, and they must be named in the RESP. Parents, guardians, and even grandparents can open an RESP and apply for the CESG on behalf of the child.

Eligibility Requirements

To receive the CESG, you must contribute to an RESP. The grant consists of two parts:

  1. Basic CESG: This provides a 20% match on the first $2,500 contributed annually to an RESP, resulting in a maximum annual grant of $500.
  2. Additional CESG: Low and middle-income families may qualify for an additional 10% or 20% grant on the first $500 contributed annually, up to $100 extra.

Tax Implications

One of the significant advantages of the incentive is its tax efficiency. While contributions to an RESP are not tax-deductible, the investment growth within the plan is tax-deferred. When the funds are withdrawn for educational purposes, they are typically taxed at the student's lower tax rate, making it a tax-efficient way to fund education.

How Early Investing in an RESP Results in More Growth

The power of compound interest cannot be overstated when it comes to saving for a goal – education included. The sooner you start contributing to an RESP, the more time your investments have to grow. With the CESG providing additional contributions, your savings can grow exponentially over time.

Case Study: Growth Difference with/without CESG

Let's consider a hypothetical case study to illustrate the impact of CESG on RESP savings:


  • Parents start an RESP when their child is born and contribute $2,500 annually.
  • They receive the maximum CESG of $500 per year.
  • The RESP investment grows at an average annual rate of 5%.

Without CESG:

  • After 18 years, the RESP would have grown to approximately $71,000.

With CESG:

  • With the CESG contributions, the RESP would have grown to approximately $88,000 over the same period.

What this scenario does is show the benefits of the CESG over an 18-year period.  If at all possible, contributors to an RESP should always aim to contribute at least $2,500 each year to ensure any potential incentive is maximized.  A little now can mean a lot tomorrow.


The Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG) is a valuable tool for Canadian families looking to save for their child's post-secondary education. It provides a substantial financial boost, encourages early investing, and offers tax advantages. By taking advantage of the CESG and starting your RESP as early as possible, you can significantly increase the funds available for your child's education. It's a smart investment in their future and a step towards easing the financial burden of higher education.

In summary, the CESG is a powerful ally in the pursuit of educational goals, helping Canadian families provide the best opportunities for their children's futures.

For more in-depth explorations of investment options, including TFSAs and comparisons with other savings instruments like RRSPs, visiting resources such as can provide valuable insights for Canadian investors.

Daniel is a big proponent of how blockchain will eventually disrupt big finance. He breathes technology and lives to try new gadgets.