Al Etmanski, Co-Founder and President of PLAN recently blogged on the potential and power of the RDSP to leverage people out of poverty. Here is a sample from his post:
“Fighting poverty by encouraging savings is now being championed by people inside and outside government around the world. Experts now acknowledge it is not sufficient to only provide monthly income support. They understand that saving and owning financial assets increases the opportunity for economic and social participation. There are many good books on this topic. One influential one is ‘Poverty and the Poor” by Michael Sherraden.
The new Registered Disability Savings Plan provides incentives for our sons and daughters to save. Hundreds of millions of dollars will be transferred from government directly to them. Combined with our financial support and compound interest this will result in billions of dollars directly available to them. No agencies, no intermediaries. This is a path out of poverty toward economic justice.
Some early critics have dismissed the RDSP as a tool for the rich. They ignore the struggles of middle income parents to provide some semblance of financial security for their loved ones. These critics also ignore the rich matching program of the Disability Savings Grant for lower income families and individuals and the precedent potential of the Canada Savings Bond.
Does it go far enough? Of course not. But it goes further than any other federal or provincial policy strategy to address the poverty of Canadians with disabilities in decades.
The Expert Panel’s report was called A New Beginning because they understood the RDSP was an important first step. It sets a world class anti poverty strategy in motion.
It is up to us to move the agenda to the next stage.”
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