Canada Education Savings Program (CESP) Basics

Canada Education Savings Program

Graduation © by James Almond

The cost of college continues to rise — even in Canada. If you want to be able to help your child pay for a post-secondary education, you can do so with help from the Canada Education Savings Program (CESP). The CESP is meant to encourage parents to contribute money in savings so that their children can pay for college. Relatives and friends can also become involved.

The CESP incentives work in conjunction with a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP), which comes with tax advantages for those who open one for the benefit of a child’s education. When you take advantage of these programs, you are preparing for a better financial future for your child.

CESP Options

There are two main options for making use of incentives to save for your child’s college education. These options are:

  1. Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG): This grant comes from Canadian government and depends on your contributions. A payment of 20% on RESP contributions you make is added to the account.  Up to $7,200 can be deposited directly into the RESP for your child, helping you boost the contents of the RESP.
  2. Canada Learning Bond (CLB): Children born after December 31, 2003 are eligible for the CLB if an RESP has already been opened for them. Your qualifying child can receive up to $500 right now to help pay for college, and $100 each year until your child is 15. The total available is up to $2,000 (if you open when your child is born, you get $500 + $100 for the yearly amount). The money goes into the RESP. Unlike the CESG, however, you don’t have to put money into the RESP to qualify for the CLB.

The money that you receive from the CESP can be used later on for study at a university, college, trade school, CEGEP, or apprenticeship program. The money is available for part-time studies as well as for full-time studies. This means that the money put in for your child’s education is fairly versatile in use. Just make sure you understand the requirements for withdrawing the money, and how the process works when your child begins his or her post-secondary studies.

Start Early and Save More for Your Child’s Education

It’s a good idea to start as early as possible when saving for college. Indeed, if you want to maximize the money you can receive from the Canadian government for school, it’s best to start as soon as your child is born and receive the benefit of the CLB for as many years as possible. You can also maximize your RESP contributions by making sure your child is signed up for the CESG. These are incentives that come automatically once your child’s RESP is registered, so it is an automatic savings tool.

College planning requires foresight and consistency. Create a plan to contribute a regular amount to an open RESP for your child, and make sure he or she is signed up to receive the incentives offered under the CESP. You’ll rely less on student loans, and your child will start out with a brighter, less encumbered future.

The Beauty in Saving Your Skin and the Water Supply

I have sensitive skin and so a while ago I went to a dermatologist for some over the counter skin care cleanser and spot treatment cream. When the labels said the products might bleach clothes, not to mention some other unpleasant side effects,  I paused and thought “wait this might bleach my face towel and yet I want to put it on my skin”? What am I putting on and ultimately onto my body? Moreover, how will these products affect the environment when they are washed  down the drain?

This is not to say that before this realization I was completely naive about skin care products. A couple of years ago I heard about this website Skin Deep and have since been trying to green my cosmetics, skin care products, shampoo etc.

The problem is I have sensitive skin as I mentioned, which is also problem prone skin, and lots of soap free natural products just were not cutting it, hence the prescription from my doctor

But after my “A Ha!” moment with the bleaching cleanser and cream, I was truly committed to greening my skin care regimen without spending too much money! So I’ve been testing several products and have finally found some that really work for me

So twice a day I cleanse my face with Avalon Organics Lavender Facial Cleansing Milk. Twice a week I use dermae’s Microdermabrasion Scrub. These can both be found in gourmet grocery stores here as well as health food stores and of course you can also buy them online. What is really remarkable is that you can get these products for pretty much the same price you would any mainstream cleanser and scrub as these both retail for $11.95 and $32.59 respectively. I used to use similar products where the cleanser would cost $7-$15 and the scrub $30-50 so my budget on these items is relatively unchanged.  However, you are not paying for ingredients you really don’t want to be putting on your face. There are a ton of ingredients you want to avoid in skin care products but the ones I look for and try to avoid are phthalates, parabens and petroleum based products as these can be linked to birth defects, cancer, allergies and other nasties.

There are approximately 3,700 cosmetics companies in Canada, most of which were small and medium-sized ones, producing more than 20,000 kinds of cosmetic products. The Canadian Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association (CCTFA) is the leading Canadian trade association for the personal care products industry. CCTFA members, which represent 80-90% of the industry in Canada are at the forefront of a $7.5 billion (retail) industry in Canada.  This means Canadians spend about $9 billion (retail) on cosmetics.  These products are usually removed using water and that water ends up flowing freely down the drains in our sinks and enters the water supply.  Scary thought.

Have you tried greening your cosmetics? What products work for you?