The Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce held a series of community meetings from December 2013 through February 2014 to study the ability of individuals to establish an RDSP with particular emphasis on legal representation, and the ability of individuals to enter into a contract. PLAN stood before the senate and made a number of suggestions on how to improve the savings plan.
Today, the Senate tabled a report entitled The Registered Disability Savings Plan Program: Why Isn’t It Helping More People? See the full report here, as well as their list of recommendations below. If implemented, the committee believe these recommendations would likely increase the program’s uptake rate and benefit disabled individuals and the rest of society by improving disabled individuals’ long-term financial stability.
LIST OF STANDING SENATE COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS:
1. The provinces and territories be urged to examine, on an expeditious basis, their legislation with respect to legal capacity and representation to ensure that disabled adults can access the registered disability savings plan (RDSP) program.
Moreover, the federal government should continue to work with the provinces and territories to improve access to the program.
2. The federal government enhance its communication efforts in relation to the registered disability savings plan (RDSP) program, including through:
- ensuring that relevant information is provided, on an ongoing basis, to taxpayers who are eligible for the Disability Tax Credit;
- developing formal partnerships with disability advocacy groups in order to ensure that all possible opportunities are taken to inform disabled individuals about the program; and
- working with provincial and territorial disability support offices to promote the establishment of RDSPs.
3. The federal government reduce the 10-year waiting period to 5 years between the end of federal grant and bond contributions and the time at which the beneficiary of a registered disability savings plan (RDSP) can begin to make withdrawals from his or her plan without having to repay a portion of these federal contributions.
Moreover, the government should reduce the amounts repaid to it under the assistance holdback amount rules that occur in relation to withdrawals from a RDSP prior to the end of the waiting period.
4. The federal government ensure that the needs of disabled individuals wishing to establish a RDSP are met. This goal could be accomplished through the establishment of a federal initiative or the funding of federally recognized organizations that could provide assistance to such individuals. In particular, disabled individuals should be provided with any assistance they need in procuring identification, opening a deposit account, applying for the Disability Tax Credit and/or completing the administrative requirements to establish a RDSP.
Finally, the government should strongly consider the possibility of having a RDSP established automatically when an individual becomes eligible for the Disability Tax Credit and other RDSP qualification requirements are met.
Available on the Parliamentary Internet
(Committee Business – Senate – Reports)
41st Parliament – 2nd Session