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Yesterday the Regulations for the Registered Disability Savings Plan were published in Part 2 of the Canada Gazette (p.16-20). As expected there were not a lot of changes following the consultations held by the federal government in Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. The one substantial change that came out of the original draft regulations was the earnings from the Grant and Bond have been removed from the assistance holdback amount.

Originally, if people withdrew early from the plan and had received a Canada Disability Savings Grant or Bond from the government, the total amount of the Grant and Bond including earnings, would be clawed back. In the final Regulations published yesterday, this need to include earnings in the assistance holdback amount has been withdrawn. The passage below is an excerpt from the Gazette which outlines this change.

“Some representatives from financial institutions expressed concern about the administrative complexity surrounding the assistance holdback amount. The Government originally proposed that the assistance holdback amount be comprised of the CDSG, CDSB and any earnings they generate. In response to concerns
raised by financial institutions regarding the difficulty in tracking earnings generated from the CDSG and CDSB, the Government removed earnings from the assistance holdback amount. In the Regulations, the assistance holdback amount will only be comprised of the CDSG and CDSB. This change is expected to ease
the administrative burden and cost for financial institutions while being less punitive for people with severe and prolonged disabilities who hold an RDSP.”

The federal government has committed to conducting a review of the RDSP in 3 years, so this isn’t the last opportunity we will have to request amendments to the Regulations.

To access the final Regulations you can click on the following link: http://gazetteducanada.gc.ca/partII/2008/20080625/pdf/g2-14213.pdf

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Make sure to take a look at the A Primer on Special Needs blog for a really interesting post on the RDSP and trusts. Michelle Morgan Coole, a really savvy legal analyst from Nova Scotia argues that the RDSP, with its raised asset allowance and treatment of income, should lead to an improvement of the treatment of trusts.

To view the article click on this link: http://specialneeds-ns.blogspot.com/2008/06/gone-gone-gone-youve-been-gone-too-long.html

We have been getting a lot of questions concerning the status of the RDSP lately, so I will give everyone a quick update.

The RDSP will become available in December of this year. Currently the Federal Government is working on finalizing the Regulations to accompany the legislation. The Regulations were made public for consultation in late March and received feedback from community members, financial institutions, NGO’s and other various stakeholders.

We are expecting the final Regulations to be out by the end of June at which point the Federal Government will be looking to draft agreements with financial institutions who are interested in offering RDSPs to their customers. After the Federal Government has drafted these agreements, the financial institutions in question will begin creating their systems required to administer and track the RDSPs.

As soon as we know which financial institutions are offering the RDSP we will be posting a list on this blog. We are expecting that you will be able to set up an RDSP at a local bank starting in December of this year.

PLAN hopeful investment in RDSPs could reduce poverty for people who have a disability

While disability coincides with poverty for many people, a British Columbia-based advocacy group sees an opportunity to break the cycle.

If people invest in Registered Disability Savings Plans (RDSPs), there’s a chance to change what has become a norm for too many people, says Jack Styan, executive director of The Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network (PLAN).

He says people who have a disability “are going to be able to get ahead.”
To read more click on this link:

http://www.communitylivingontario.ca/page/community%20living%20leaders/ezlist_item_bb539163-cf58-4317-82b0-a97546fe3135.aspx

PLAN’s push for Registered Disability Savings Plans helps people secure financial future

An eight-year effort by a British-Columbia based advocacy group is helping people who have a disability look to brighter financial futures.
The Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network’s (PLAN’s) push for Registered Disability Savings Plans paid off in the form of the 2007 federal budget announcement and the group is hopeful Canadians can start contributing to RDSPs by the end of this year. With a mission to help families plan for the future, this advocacy work fits in well with PLAN’s function, says executive director Jack Styan.
To read more click on this link:

http://www.communitylivingontario.ca/page/community%20living%20leaders/ezlist_item_629f579b-b857-4825-8895-90706cb9f040.aspx

“What are people going to do with all that money?” Someone asked the question at a recent presentation when we were reviewing one of our scenarios. They realized immediately what the question meant. They were no longer bound to think about life from a “poverty trap”. They could begin to dream again like everyone else. They would be able to do things that they had automatically ignored for the last umpteen years.

In creating the RDSP, the federal government has not limited what people can spend their funds on. In accomodating the RDSP, the governments of British Columbia and Newfoundland and Labrador have done the same. All of these governments have sent two strong messages to people and their families:

  • “We trust you to spend your money in the best way possible.”
  • “We want you to improve your lives and realize your dreams.”

What would you or your loved one do with their RDSP? How would they improve their lives and realize their dreams? Please add a line or two and let us know.

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