Advanced Education and Skills
Finance NL
March 20, 2012

Amendment to Act Allows for Easier Access to Disability Saving Plans

The Provincial Government has introduced an amendment in the House of Assembly which will enable adults with intellectual disabilities to designate representatives to deal with financial institutions in creating and managing Registered Disability Savings Plans (RDSP). Bill 3, an Act to Amend the Enduring Powers of Attorney Act received second reading in the House of Assembly today.

“We became aware that it was often difficult for adults with intellectual disabilities to avail of the federal RDSP,” said the Honourable Felix Collins, Minister of Justice and Attorney General. “Before, even if an adult with intellectual disabilities was independent, they had to have a legal guardian to administer this program, a process that can be time consuming and involves applying to the courts. This amendment streamlines the process of designating a representative to manage an RDSP.”

The Registered Disability Savings Plan is a federal savings program designed to assist individuals who receive the Disability Tax Credit plan for long-term financial needs of persons with disabilities. For individuals with intellectual disabilities, the plan must be opened up and administered by someone who is legally authorized to act for the beneficiary. The amendment being made to the Enduring Powers of Attorney Act allows for designation to be done by completing a form which must be filed with the Public Trustee. This will ensure that monitoring provisions through the Public Trustee are in place that will protect the administration and operation of the RDSP.

“The Provincial Government is committed to the inclusion of persons with disabilities,” said the Honourable Joan Burke, Minister Responsible for the Status of Persons with Disabilities. “This involves ensuring services and opportunities can be accessed equitably and that barriers are removed. The amendment brought forward today removes a barrier that prevented some people with disabilities from accessing the Registered Disability Savings Plan. By effectively removing red tape, the Provincial Government has improved the process where people with intellectual disabilities appoint who they choose to open, manage and contribute to an RDSP. This will enable more people to set up an RDSP and take advantage of provincial programs that contribute to the savings plan.”

The Honourable Tom Marshall, Minister of Finance and President of Treasury Board, commented that it is important to implement measures that make it easier for people with disabilities to access important services.

“The amendments introduced today will ensure that the RDSP is even more accessible and continues to serve the purpose for which it was originally intended by assisting Newfoundlanders and Labradorians with disabilities in saving for their future,” said Minister Marshall.

The persons designated to manage the RDSPs on behalf of adults with intellectual disabilities will only have power over the RDSP. The remainder of the individual’s financial and life decisions will not be included.