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What is the Canada Learning Bond (CLB)?

April 2022 – 10 min read

Key takeaways

  • The CLB is money paid out by the Government of Canada to help low-income families save for post-secondary education.

  • The government pays the CLB directly into a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP).

  • The CLB is 1 of many government benefits for familiesOpens in a new window that can help you save towards post-secondary education.

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What is the CLB?

The Canada Learning Bond is money the Federal government adds to an RESPOpens a new website in a new window to help low-income families save for post-secondary education.

This money can be used to help pay for part- or full-time studies at an eligible educational institutionOpens a new website in a new window - Opens in a new window , such as:

  • University
  • College
  • Trade school
  • An apprenticeship
  • Collège d'enseignement général et professionnel (CEGEPs)

The government contributes $500 for the first year of eligibility and a further $100 each year your child is eligible, up to and including the benefit year they turn 15. In total, the government will contribute up to a maximum of $2,000 per eligible child.

Eligibility for the CLB

If you’re the primary caregiver, the spouse or common-law partner of the child’s primary caregiver, you can apply to receive the CLB on behalf of an eligible child. Although the CLB is paid into an RESP, you don’t need to be contributing  to be able to receive it. Instead, eligibility is based on the number of children in your family, as well as your household income:

Number of children

Adjusted net family income (2021)

1 to 3

Less than or equal to $49,020

4

Less than $55,311

5

Less than $61,626

6

Less than $67,942

7

Less than $74,257

8

Less than $80,572

Income eligibility amounts accurate from July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2022. Footnote *

A child is eligible if they are:

  • From a low-income family
  • A resident of Canada
  • Born on or after January 1, 2004
  • Named in an RESP

Children in care are also eligible for the CLB, in addition to Children’s Special Allowances (CSA)Opens a new website in a new window - Opens in a new window .

Applying for the CLB

You’ll need to visit the Government of Canada website to apply for the CLB onlineOpens a new website in a new window - Opens in a new window .

Before you do, you’ll need to ensure that you have:

  • Social Insurance Numbers (SIN)

    You’ll need to provide your child’s SIN number as well as your own.

  • An open RESP

    If you don’t already have an RESP, you’ll need to open an account before you can request the CLB.

Note that you don’t need an open bank account in order to apply. Once your application is approved, the CLB will be deposited directly in your RESP for every year your child is eligible.

Closing an RESP

An RESP can stay open until the end of its 35th year.

By this time, the money saved must be used or transferred to another eligible savings product, or the fund must be closed. It may be that your child doesn’t want to go to college or universityOpens in a new window, in which case the CLB and the Canada Education Savings Grant (CSG)Opens in a new window are returned to the Government.

If you didn’t use the funds to pay for post-secondary education, you’ll need to look into your options when it comes to the rest of the money saved, as well as what happens to any accumulated interest earned on an RESP, too.