Pre-order your copy of the updated Safe and Secure BC edition now!

SafeAndSecure2014_BC_RDSP (1)Pre-order your copy now!

Safe and Secure: Seven Steps on the Path to a Good Life for People with Disabilities will be available as an electronic book in late October and as a printed book this winter.

Safe and Secure is always FREE but there are shipping costs for the printed edition. If you would like to avoid shipping charges and live in the Vancouver area, you may arrange a time to come by the PLAN office and pick one up; please contact us at 604-439-9566 or to secure your copy now and we will contact you when it is available.

The 2014 Safe and Secure RDSP Edition will come with a whole new chapter on advocating with empathy and additional stories, as well as updated information on the RDSP, housing, government benefits and programs, resources and more.

Minister Bergen addresses Special Olympics Canada to highlight benefits of Registered Disability Savings Plan

The Honourable Candice Bergen, Minister of State (Social Development), highlighted the benefits of the Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) during a meeting of Special Olympics senior representatives from all regions of Canada, who gathered in Ottawa today. She encouraged Special Olympics Canada to help raise awareness about the initiative so that more eligible Canadians benefit from this long-term savings plan.

Emphasizing the Government of Canada’s commitment to delivering for Canadian families, Minister Bergen addressed the benefits of the RDSP, which facilitates long-term savings for people with disabilities, their families and caregivers. The remarks were followed by an information session which outlined details of the RDSP and a question and answer period to elaborate on the program.

OTTAWA, Oct. 2, 2014 /CNW/ –

Quick Facts

The RDSP was announced in Budget 2007 as a long-term savings plan designed to help people with disabilities and their families save for the future.
Since launching the RDSP in 2008, over 90,000 plans have been opened across Canada.
So far, the Government has contributed over $1 billion in bonds and grants into the RDSPs of people with disabilities, helping to ensure long-term financial security for all Canadians.

“The Government of Canada introduced the Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) in Budget 2007, the first plan of its kind in the world. Since its creation, the RDSP has made a great difference in the lives of Canadians with disabilities and their families—providing long-term financial security and some peace of mind.”
– The Honourable Candice Bergen, Minister or State (Social Development)

“Special Olympics Canada was proud to welcome Minister Bergen and her team to our fall meetings. It was a great opportunity to learn more about the RDSP and how it can benefit our athletes and their families and caregivers. Special Olympics Canada enriches the lives of our athletes on many levels, from sport, health and fitness, to self-esteem and inclusion within their communities. The RDSP is a valuable tool for our athletes and their families to provide some long-term financial security.”
– Sharon Bollenbach, CEO, Special Olympics Canada

NEWS RELEASE: B.C. is declaring October 2014 as the first RDSP Awareness Month

Province of British Columbia



For Immediate Release
October 1, 2014
Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation

Saving today for a secure tomorrow


VICTORIA – B.C. is declaring October 2014 as the first Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) Awareness Month to help raise awareness among people with disabilities, their families and friends about the benefits of RDSPs as a tool to save for the future.

The RDSP is a long-term-savings plan designed by the Government of Canada to help people with disabilities and their families save money for the future.

The federal government will match every $1 contributed to an RDSP with up to $3 in Canada Disability Savings Grants for eligible households. The maximum grant is $3,500 each year, with a lifetime limit of $70,000. Some low-income families may be eligible to receive a $1,000 Canada Savings Bond each year, up to $20,000. No personal contribution is required to receive the bond. The income inside the plan is allowed to grow tax-free until the money is withdrawn, with no restrictions on how it can be spent.

B.C. was the first province to support the RDSP. Part of this included ensuring that money held in or paid out of an RDSP does not affect people’s income or disability assistance. People in B.C. have nearly 20% of all RDSPs in Canada.

Financial security is one of the commitments in Accessibility 2024, a 10-year action plan to make B.C. the most progressive place in Canada for people with disabilities. A key goal of this plan is for B.C. to have the highest savings rate for persons with disabilities in Canada by 2024.

Government has also committed to creating an RDSP Action Group and working with leaders in financial and disability communities to develop a centre for financial expertise for people with disabilities. The action group will help drive this commitment, provide advice to government and champion RDSPs.


Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation Don McRae –

“The Government of British Columbia is committed to improving financial security for people with disabilities. Our goal this month and beyond is to spread the word about the benefits of RDSPs and encourage people with disabilities, their friends and family to start saving for their future.”

Federal Minister of State for Social Development Candice Bergen –

“Under the strong leadership of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, our government introduced the Registered Disability Savings Plan in Budget 2007, the first plan of its kind in the world. Raising awareness about this important plan, along with the many other savings vehicles available for families to save for their future is crucial. I would like to congratulate the Province in proclaiming October B.C. Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) Awareness Month.”

Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network (PLAN) chair Ted Kuntz –

“The RDSP is a valuable resource to help families secure the future. What is unique about the RDSP is it provides an opportunity for extended family and friends to contribute to the financial security of our loved ones with a disability. As a parent, I appreciate the vision and commitment shown by the Government of Canada and Government of B.C. to ensure our sons and daughters live a good life.”

Quick Facts:

  • There are almost 550,000 people in B.C. over the age of 15, who identify as having a disability — that’s almost 15%.
  • There are about 90,000 people who have RDSPs in Canada.
  • Who is eligible for the Canada RDSP program?
    • People who are eligible for the Canada Disability Tax Credit
    • People under the age of 60
    • Canadian residents with a Social Insurance Number

Learn More:

View the proclamation at:

For more information about RDSPs, visit:

For more information about Accessibility 2024, visit:

For information about Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network (PLAN) and RDSPs, visit:

Media Contact:
Joanne Whittier
Communications Manager
Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation
250 387-6490
Connect with the Province of B.C. at:

Tips for opening a registered disability savings plan—

Are you disabled? If you are under age 60 and reside in Canada, you should consider opening a Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP).

Think of your RDSP as a way to provide you with financial independence. Your RDSP can help to make sure that you can take care of your own cost of living if you outlive your parents.

Note that your special RDSP nest egg will not interfere with your entitlement to any other government assistance plans such as Saskatchewan Assistance Program (SAP), the Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability (SAID) and Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS).

Disability Tax Credit

To qualify to open an RDSP you need to have the Disability Tax Credit (DTC). Ask your doctor to fill in application form T2201. Mail the completed form to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). You’ll have to wait several months to receive the confirmation letter from CRA.

$1,000 bond

What if you and your parents don’t have any money to make any contributions to your RDSP? Don’t let that deter you from starting an RDSP. If you are under age 49 and you make less than $25,356 a year, you can qualify for $1,000 of government assistance per year. Once you apply, you would see the

Canada Disability Savings Bond (CDSB) deposited to your RDSP account.

Simply by opening an RDSP account, the government will keep giving you the $1,000 CDSB each year for up to 20 years. That’s free money that most people don’t know about.

These $1,000 CDSB grants for RDSPs have been available since 2008. Even if you missed out on receiving the $1,000-per-year CDSB grants for previous years you can still claim them retroactively. Because the grant depends on your income level, you need to make sure you have filed your income tax returns for 2006 onward to obtain all seven years of grants available for the years 2008 to 2014. Remember that it is not too late to file those prior year tax returns.

What if you do have some cash to deposit into your RDSP? If you contribute $1,500 per year to your RDSP, the federal government adds a matching Canada Disability Savings Grant (CDSG) of up to $3,500 each year. In other words, your deposit can be more than tripled.


What if your parents have died and you have received an inheritance or a life insurance payout?

If you inherit money from your parents’ registered plans (such as an RRSP, RRIF or pension plan) there are ways for those accounts to be transferred tax-free into your RDSP. Remember that there is a $200,000 maximum lifetime limit for deposits.


Your RDSP is not a shortterm savings account or emergency fund. An RDSP is supposed to provide basic cash flow and cover your long term care costs after age 60. If you take money out of your RDSP before 10 years have passed, you must repay any grants deposited by the government into the plan during the 10 years preceding the withdrawal.

Mental capacity

To open an RDSP, you must sign a contract with a financial institution. The financial institution may be reluctant to deal with a person with a mental disability who may lack the capacity to enter a contract. They may ask for a legal representative to be appointed to sign the contract to set up your RDSP for you.

Applying to the court for full property guardianship is expensive. A practical alternative developed in Saskatchewan involves using a specific limited Power of Attorney form to authorize a family member to set up your RDSP for you.

Because RDSP rules are complex, it is prudent to seek the help of a knowledgeable financial adviser.



Terry McBride, a member of Advocis, works with Raymond James Ltd. (RJL). The views of the author do not necessarily reflect those of Raymond James Ltd. (RJL). Information is from sources believed reliable but cannot be guaranteed. This is provided for information only.

How much should I put in my RDSP?—

Patricia, 27, has type 1 diabetes and qualifies for the disability tax credit. Here’s how she should spread the money between her RRSP, RDSP and TFSA

By Jason Heath, CFP

Q: I have $50,000 saved up and I’m adding to my savings every month. I want to buy a home in the next 5 years. I have lots of choices and I’m not sure what to do. My investment adviser doesn’t really know how an RDSP works.—Patricia, Vancouver

A: Patricia, I’m not surprised your investment adviser doesn’t know much about RDSPs. Even though they were introduced in 2008, they’re really not very prevalent. Only Canadians with disabilities, or their friends and family, can open an account. And among those who qualify, uptake has been limited.

RDSPs can be onerous accounts to open and they’re not very profitable for the investment industry as compared to other types of existing accounts either, so you’re limited in terms of where you can open an RDSP. Currently only 12 financial organizations offer them.

That said, they offer a lucrative investment opportunity. At your level of income (about $70,000) you can get government grants of $3,500 per year by contributing $1,500 to your RDSP. In other words, a $1,500 contribution magically becomes $5,000. That’s a 333% return right off the bat. The investments you choose then grow tax-deferred.

The catch with RDSPs is that if you take a withdrawal from the account, you have to repay all the government grants for the previous 10 years. So it’s not meant to be a short-term savings vehicle. With an RDSP, you really are incentivized to save for the long-term.

RDSP withdrawals must start by age 60. Your initial contributions, or principle, come out tax-free, but grants and growth are considered taxable income.

So if I were you, I’d take advantage of your annual $1,500 RDSP contribution and take all the free money you can get from the government. I’d invest your RDSP for the long-term and treat it like an RRSP. Consider your RDSP retirement money.

Your RRSP, despite being called a “retirement” account, on the other hand is the account I’d consider using for short-term savings in your case. You can take advantage of the Home Buyer’s Plan (HBP) that allows you to take up to $25,000 from your RRSP for the purchase of a home. And given your 5-year timeline to invest in a primary residence, I’d take a 5-year timeline with the building of your RRSP, as well as the riskiness of the investments you put in it.

Maybe you target $5,000 a year for the next 5 years into your RRSP, with the intention of using up to $25,000 towards a home purchase. You could put $25,000 in right off the bat, but I’d be inclined to do it slowly and steadily. Your RRSP contributions will of course generate tax refunds, with the account growing tax-deferred as well.

Given you have $50,000 in savings right now, allocating $5,000 to your RRSP and $1,500 to your RDSP still leaves $43,500. You have $31,000 of TFSA room, since you’ve never contributed, so I’d allocate those monies accordingly. TFSA contributions won’t generate tax refunds, but your investments will grow tax-free.

With the remaining $12,500, I’d leave this in your non-registered account.

Going forward, target $5,000 to your RRSP, $5,500 to your TFSA and $1,500 to your RDSP each year, which it sounds like you can likely do just from your monthly savings. If you weren’t able to do so, you’ve got $12,500 in non-registered investments to top up.

Keep the RRSP, TFSA and non-registered investments fairly conservative, because there’s a good chance you’ll need most or all of it in the next 5 years for a home and you’d hate to go risky with 100% in stocks and need the money in a stock market downturn.

Take your risk with your RDSP, as in your case, that’s going to be your long-term investment.


Jason Heath is a fee-only, advice-only Certified Financial Planner (CFP) at Objective Financial Partners Inc. in Toronto, Ontario. He does not sell any financial products.

PLAN Urges the Federal Government to Make RDSPs Safe from Creditors

PLAN Letter to Paul Halucha, Director-General, Marketplace Framework Policy Branch, Industry Canada

Re: Exempt RDSP Assets from Insolvency Proceedings


Dear Mr. Halucha,

Twenty-five years ago, Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network (PLAN) was started by a group of families who had a single burning question: What will happen to my son or daughter with a disability after I die? Since that time PLAN has initiated a number of innovative solutions to protect our vulnerable sons and daughters, including the concept for the Registered Disability Savings Plan.

The RDSP was officially implemented in 2008 and PLAN families have continued working closely with government to improve this savings plan and make it more accessible for people with disabilities.

The disability savings plan has clearly been a game changer. It enables those with disabilities to move from a place of dependency to financial security—many for the first time in their lives. To date over one billion dollars of new wealth has been invested in RDSPs across the country, helping to ensure that over 85,000 people with disabilities have a good life well into their golden years.

Most provinces have worked to help protect this investment. With few exceptions, the RDSP allows a person to maintain his or her safety net of provincial disability incomes while building assets within the plan.  RDSPs, however, require further protection, as they are not yet safe from creditors.

Currently the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act protects RRSP’s and RRIF’s. PLAN believes RDSP’s serve the same purpose, just for a different segment of the population. It would be fair and prudent to exempt RDSP’s the same way as other registered savings plans are exempted. Each of these financial instruments are long-term savings plans created to provide Canadian citizens with a degree of financial stability in their later years.

Furthermore, RDSPs are intended for a more vulnerable group. It is important that funds established for the care of people with disabilities receive the same measure of protection from creditors as the rest of the population.

The concern has been expressed that exempting RDSPs may create the potential for abuse that would adversely impact other creditors’ interests. There are, however, various legislative restrictions and obligations already in place to prevent, reduce and remedy misconduct such as taking money from one creditor to pay another. When RRSPs became exempt from seizure in bankruptcy in 2009, it was subject to a clawback of contributions made in the twelve months before the filing. The same, or similar restrictions could be applied to the RDSP.

On behalf of the families we serve, we ask that you add the Registered Disability Savings Plan to the list of financial savings instruments exempt from seizure in the case of a bankruptcy. 

We also ask you to work with your provincial counterparts to ensure parity across the country. In Alberta, registered plans are protected including RDSPs, and British Columbia has indicated they are going in the same direction.

PLAN would like to thank you for the efforts this government is making in consulting with Canadians to see improvements made to the RDSP. Our hope is that this process will help further protect and improve the lives of some of Canada’s most valuable citizens.




Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network
260 – 3665 Kingsway
Vancouver BC
V5R 5W2


Do YOU want to make your own submission to Industry Canada, encouraging them to make people’s RDSP savings safe from creditors? 

You can send your letter in two ways.

1. Email Industry Canada’s Marketplace Framework Policy Branch at: 

2. Write the Director-General:

Paul Halucha
Marketplace Framework Policy Branch
Industry Canada
235 Queen Street, 10th Floor, East Tower
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0H5

The deadline for submissions is Tuesday, July 15th


Have Your Say on Protecting RDSPs from Bankruptcy—by Andrew Weaver, MLA Oak Bay – Gordon Head BC

Back in March 2014,  I raised a concern about the lack of protection for Registered Disability Savings Plans (RDSPs) and Registered Education Savings Plan (RESPs). Industry Canada is now conducting a public consultation that includes these same concerns.

As a quick reminder, RDSPs are a federal, tax-deferred, long-term savings plan for people with disabilities who want to save for the future. Unfortunately, under the Court Order Enforcement Act,  RDSPs  are not listed as a registered plan in BC’s legislation and are therefore not exempt from creditor protection. Therefore, should an individual with an RDSP go into debt, their savings in the RDSP will not be protected from seizure.

To put this in context, Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs) and Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRIFs) are protected. Most provinces, including British Columbia, have recognized the importance of protecting RRSPs and RRIFs from creditors in the event of personal bankruptcy.  Legislation was passed to protect these registered plans from being seized in the event of personal bankruptcy. Here in British Columbia, such seizures are governed by the 1996 Court Order Enforcement Act.

Industry Canada is currently conducting a public consultation on the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act – and in the discussion paper, a proposal has been made to exempt RDSP assets from seizure in insolvency proceedings.

Industry Canada has called for public input on the issue of creditor protection for the Registered Disability Savings Plan. Submissions will be accepted until July 15, 2014. Information about making a submission can be found here.

To read more about the concerns I raised, including my questions to the Minister of Justice, please click here.


Andrew Weaver
MLA Oak Bay – Gordon Head
219-3930 Shelbourne St
Victoria BC
V8P 5P6

Would You Like to See RDSPs Protected from Bankruptcy?

PLAN would!

And we have until mid-July 2014 to do something about it.

Industry Canada is currently conducting a public consultation on the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act – and in the discussion paper, a proposal has been made to exempt RDSP assets from seizure in insolvency proceedings.

From the paper:

In 2009, Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs) were exempted from seizure in bankruptcy.

The exemption of Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs) was also examined in the last review. The Senate Report recommended that the Act be amended to exempt RESPs from seizure in bankruptcy if: the RESP is locked in; and, RESP contributions in the one-year period prior to bankruptcy are paid to the trustee for distribution to creditors. Largely because these conditions could not be met, which created a significant potential for abuse, RESPs were not exempted from seizure in an insolvency proceeding.

A Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) is a long-term savings plan intended to assist Canadians with disabilities and their families to save for the future. Eligible parties may contribute any amount per year up to a lifetime contribution limit of $200,000. Government matching grants and bonds are also available to supplement the RDSP, depending on the amount contributed and the family income of the beneficiary.

RDSPs serve the public interest by encouraging savings for the support of people with disabilities. As a result, it has been suggested that they could be exempted from creditor claims in bankruptcy, similar to the protection provided to RRSP funds.

Supporters of an exemption for RDSPs note that there are significant differences between RESPs and RDSPs that reduce the potential for abuse in bankruptcy. Unlike an RESP, only individuals who claim the disability tax credit under the Income Tax Act qualify for an RDSP and there can only be one account for that person. Furthermore, only a parent, legal guardian or trust institution may open and contribute to the RDSP and only the beneficiary can access the funds. It is possible, however, that exempting RDSPs could create the potential for abuse that adversely impacts other creditors’ interests.


PLAN strongly believes RDSPs should be creditor proof. People do not plan on becoming bankrupt, but if they do, they do not deserve to continue paying for it for the rest of their lives. Major tenets of Canadian bankruptcy law include that a person, overwhelmed by debt, still deserves the opportunity to maintain  dignity and be able to adequately rebuild wealth. Like a pension, creditors should not be able to access RDSPs and thereby negatively impact a person’s long-term financial security. (See more on what PLAN says about bankruptcy here.)

The current public consultation provides an excellent opportunity for all of us to urge the federal government to help protect people with disabilities and their futures. PLAN will submit a comment in favour of creditor protection in early July and we encourage you to do the same.

You can make a submission in two ways.

1. Email Industry Canada’s Marketplace Framework Policy Branch at: 

2. Write the Director-General:

Paul Halucha
Marketplace Framework Policy Branch
Industry Canada
235 Queen Street, 10th Floor, East Tower
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0H5

The deadline for submissions is Tuesday, July 15th