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CAUT Bulletin Archives

March 1998

Highlights of the1998 Federal Budget

Tax-Free RRSP Withdrawals for Lifelong Learning -- Effective January 1, 1999, Canadians will be able to make tax-free withdrawals from their registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs) to support full-time education and training of at least three months during the year. Withdrawals will be repayable to the individual's RRSP in equal instalments over a 10-year period. Students with disabilities using RRSPs for lifelong learning will be exempt from the requirement that their studies be on a full-time basis.

Tax Relief for Part-Time Students -- Beginning in 1998, about 250,000 part-time students enrolled in eligible post-secondary programs will be able to claim a portion of the education tax credit. Beginning in 1998, about 50,000 part-time students with dependants will be able to deduct child care expenses.

Promoting Canadian Culture -- The budget also confirms funding for a number of initiatives announced earlier this year by the Minister of Canadian Heritage, including increased support for the Canada Council and the Canadian book publishing industry.

Sustaining the Retirement Income System -- To increase the fairness of private tax-assisted saving for retirement, contributions to RRSPs will no longer trigger the alternative minimum tax. This will be of particular benefit to individuals who roll over severance pay into an RRSP or who make use of the liberalization in the rules for the lifetime carry-forward of RRSPs provided in the last two budgets.

Addressing Environmental Challenges -- The budget provides funding of $34 million annually for the National Research Council's Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) to help small and medium-sized businesses to foster strategic innovation and implement state-of-the-art technologies and approaches for using energy, water and natural resources more efficiently and for preventing pollution.