March 13, 2008
RESP Bill Misses Mark
OTTAWA–Students and faculty are united in condemning proposed changes to the Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP). Liberal MP Dan McTeague’s bill to increase permissible RESP contributions and make them tax deductible will do little to make postsecondary education more accessible for most students and their families.
“This bill is a bad use of scarce resources and it will cost about $1-billion a year.” said Amanda Aziz, National Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. “Reducing tuition fees and increasing need-based grants would be a far more equitable way of providing assistance to students.”
Recent research from Statistics Canada suggests that families earning over $80,000 per year are the prime beneficiaries of the current program. Under the proposed changes, the yearly contribution limit will be raised to $5,000 from $2,000 and the amount will be tax deductible. According to Aziz, wealthier families will be the primary beneficiaries of the changes.
James Turk, the Executive Director of the Canadian Association of University Teachers, also criticised the proposed bill.
“We need an increase in core funding for colleges and universities and a renewed investment in basic research through the granting councils,” Turk said. “It is very disappointing to see that all of the opposition parties voted for this ill-conceived bill, and we will work with students and other partners to see that it is defeated.”
CAUT and CFS will be joining forces to lobby against the bill in the Senate as well as urging support for a provision in the Ways and Means section of the Budget Implementation Act that voids the bill.
The Canadian Association of University Teachers represents over 57,000 academic staff at Canadian colleges and universities.
Founded in 1981, the Canadian Federation of Students is Canada’s largest student organisation, uniting more that one-half million students from ten provinces.