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CAUT Bulletin Archives

March 2008

Liberal RESP Bill Criticized

A private member’s bill endorsed by the House of Commons this month making registered education savings plans dollar-for-dollar tax deductible is being condemned by faculty and student groups, who say the tax break won’t help make post-secondary education more accessible for most students and their families.

Amanda Aziz, national chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students, says only wealthier families will benefit from the legislation to allow up to $5,000 a year in RESP contributions to be tax deductible.

“Liberal MP Dan McTeague’s bill is a bad use of scarce resources,” Aziz said. “It will cost about $1 billion a year. Reducing tuition fees and increasing needs-based grants would be a far more equitable way of providing assistance to students.”

Recent Statistics Canada figures show that RESPs already tend to benefit upper-income families who can afford to make the contributions.

CAUT president Greg Allain also criticized the bill, saying the $1 billion would be better spent on research funding and supplementing universities’ budgets.

“We need an increase in core funding for colleges and universities and a renewed investment in basic research through the granting councils,” Allain said.

“It’s very disappointing the three opposition parties joined together to get this ill-conceived bill through the house, and we will work with students and other partners to see that it’s defeated.”