A re-elected Conservative government would give a boost to some families trying to save money for post-secondary education, Tory Leader Stephen Harper said Tuesday.
Harper committed to doubling the federal contribution to additional Canada Education Savings Grants — the supplemental grant that low and middle-income families can apply for once they have taken out a registered education savings plan (RESP).
Currently, the government will contribute 10 cents for every dollar put into an RESP by middle-income families and 20 cents for every dollar put in by low-income families, if the families have been cleared for additional Canada Education Savings Grants.
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Harper said if his Tory government is re-elected, it would double that, upping the federal contribution from 10 to 20 cents for middle-income families and from 20 to 40 cents for low-income families, on the first $500 put into the plans each year.
"Many families want to give their kids a running start in life," Harper said during a campaign stop in Mississauga, Ont., where the party is hoping to hold on to a number of seats.
"And these are sacrifices a Conservative government would like to support."
According to a release that accompanied Harper's announcement, 2.59 million Canadian children received a Canada Education Savings Grant in 2015. Of those 2.59 million, 900,000 received the additional grant that would be increased by the Tory's election commitment.
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The increase means that a family earning up to $44,000 would receive $200 for the first $500 socked away for their child's higher education plan each year. A family earning up to $88,000 would receive $100 on the first $500 each year.
All families currently receive $500 annually from the government for every $2,500 invested in a RESP, an amount the government increased in 2007.
"This is an important but an affordable commitment," the Tory leader said of the pledge, which would cost an estimated $45 million per year beginning in 2017/2018.
Harper is scheduled to spend the day campaigning in southern Ontario for the Oct. 19 election.