In early 2013, a group of strategic stakeholders reached out to the Omega Foundation to learn more
about their successful initiative, SmartSAVER.org. The initiative was launched to strengthen lower
income Canadian families’ ability to save for their children’s post-secondary education using
Registered Education Savings Plans (RESP) and the Canada Learning Bond (CLB).
The CLB is a federal contribution of up to $2000 to a child’s Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP). The CLB builds theeducation savings of low-income Canadian households, without requiring any deposit or savingsactivity by the family. It’s a valuable transfer and a critical ‘seed’ for the college savings of low income Canadians.
The national take-up rate for the Canada Learning Bond is low across thecountry, averaging 28%.
Ultimately, as a result of the SmartSAVER campaign, the CLB uptake increased in Toronto over
the course of the initiative from 27.7% of eligible children at the end of 2009 to 39.3% at the end
In the spring of 2013, that same group of strategic stakeholders convened to determine if there was interest in organizing a similar campaign in Halton, where the take-up rate was 28.5% at the time. There was unanimous agreement and Smart Start Halton was formed.
Over the last year and a half, the Smart Start Halton team has worked tirelessly to build
awareness of the Canada Learning Bond (CLB) in Halton.
In 2014, we held nine enrollment events across Halton, delivered a series of Train the Trainer
events to educate community organizations about the Canada Learning Bond and the enrollment
process, and made over 25 community presentations to build awareness of this opportunity for
eligible families who receive the National Child Benefit Supplement.
Smart Start Halton thanks its’ partnerships with community leaders such as the Halton Catholic District School Board, Halton District School Board, Service Canada, St. Vincent de Paul Association, the United Way of Oakville, Halton Region Health Department and Halton Region Community and Social Services, Our Kids Network, BMO, RBC, Scotiabank, and TD Canada Trust and a host of community organizations…
8,599 eligible children in Halton have been signed up for a Canada Learning Bond.
From 2012 to 2014, Halton’s take-up rate for the CLB went from 28.5% to 35%!