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Registered Education Savings Plan

A RRSP or registered education savings plan is a government-sponsored savings instrument that allows users to contribute to the benefit of children, minors not related by blood, etc. In fact, this plan allows customers to grow their earnings tax-free. The downside is that payments cannot be deducted from the holder's income.

Overview

RESPs enable users to invest in their kids' future by making contributions to pay for postsecondary education. There is no annual contribution limit as of 2007. However, the contribution limit is up to $50,000, which is the total amount that can be contributed. The amount continues to grow up to the lifetime limit, and holders receive up to $500 annually for children up to 17 years of age. Some holders qualify for additional amounts, depending on their income. Top-up amounts vary from one province to another.

Setting up a RESP

It is easy to set up a RESP provided that the beneficiary has a social insurance number. Thus the first step is to obtain a social insurance number for your child which can be done through a Service Canada Centre. Canadian citizens are asked to present a Certificate of Registration of Birth Abroad, Certificate of Canadian Citizenship, or birth certificate. Additional documents that serve as proof of identity include notarial certificates, adoption orders, court-of-order documents, and others. Legal guardians and parents are allowed to apply for a SIN on behalf of a minor child while children aged 12 or older can apply for a social insurance number in person.

Types of Plans, Pros and Cons

The next step is to consider your options, i.e. whether to set up a group, family, or individual registered education savings plan. Individual plans are offered by independent financial advisors, mutual funds, and bank investment advisors. Banks, for example, offer individual plans that go with multiple benefits, including timeframe flexibility, tax-sheltered contributions, and government funding. An added benefit is the fact that virtually everyone can become a subscriber, including family friends, grandparents, uncles and aunts, etc. Family registered education savings plans also offer multiple benefits, one being that subscribers save on fees. As an added benefit, they deal with less paperwork when adding a newborn compared to opening a separate individual plan. The downside is that the subscriber must be related to all beneficiaries by adoption or birth. In most cases, government assistance in the form of grants cannot be shared, regardless of the fact that there is more than one beneficiary. A third option is to set up a group plan, and it also has pros and cons. A plan of this type pools together the contributions made by two or more subscribers. Contributors are not allowed to withdraw money in case they choose to leave the plan. They are only entitled to receive the investment fee. On the downside, contributors who opt for the regular contribution schedule find it less flexible, and returns are low. This is because contributions are invested in low-risk instruments such as mortgages, bonds, and T-bills.

Additional Incentives

Parents that choose to open a RESP are offered additional incentives. Government funding can be in the form of provincial government assistance, the Canada Learning Bond, and the Canada Education Savings Grant. The CLB or Canada Learning Bond is available to Canadian residents born after or on January 1, 2004. Persons from families with modest income qualify for funding. Grants are also offered by the governments of Saskatchewan, British Columbia, and Quebec. Residents of British Columbia, for example, are free to apply for a Training and Education Savings Grant while residents of Quebec are offered funding through the Quebec Education Savings Incentive.

Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation

Founded back in the 19th century, the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital is based in Toronto and offers medical services to young people and children with disabilities. The Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto is an affiliated institution.

History

The hospital was originally founded as a home for incurable children and children with chronic conditions with disabilities. It was opened and run by a group of compassionate and caring women and was to become one of the major rehabilitation facilities for children in Canada. The foundation itself was founded in 1996 with the goal of raising funds for children with serious disorders and disabilities.

Overview and Services Offered

The foundation raises funds to help treat and alleviate conditions such as spina befida, amputation epilepsy, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, and others. Money goes toward onsite hospital services, including the Red Cross Babysitting Course, March Break Swim Camp, swim assessments, and adult lessons. Additional services and activities include synchronized swimming, private lessons, aquafitness, and teen stroke improvement. Aquatic therapy and child and infant swimming lessons also help children with disabilities.

Each year, the foundation raises and grants millions of dollars for rehabilitation services, activities, and facilities. The gym at the hospital, for example, offers a number of sports activities such as yoga, pilates, ball hockey, badminton, and volleyball. It is equipped with bowling pins, tennis racquets, floor mats, plastic hockey sticks, and more. The hospital has a Snoezelen room and a pool for sensory experience, using aromatherapy, tactile and other sensations, and lighting. Food and cafeteria services are offered through vending machines, a kiosk, and a grill café. Finally, the Ronald McDonald Playroom is a facility where children are free to relax, play, and have fun. Children play under supervision while parents and guardians consult with healthcare providers and therapists.

The foundation also raises funds for specialized services and rehabilitation. Inpatient care covers services such as complex continuing care, developmental and orthopedic rehabilitation, and brain injury rehabilitation. Therapy services are offered for a number of conditions, including serious neurological disorders, seizure disorders, cardiac conditions, and spinal cord injuries. Therapy services are also available for multi-system disorders, neuromuscular myopathies, neurodegenerative disorders, and respiratory conditions and abnormalities. The hospital also offers services for children with autism, arthritis, epilepsy, amputation, and other conditions.

Basically, funds are granted for teaching, research, participation and inclusion, rehabilitation, and family and client care. Money is also spent for professional development, client and clinical support, and administration.

Goals and Achievements

One of the main goals is to develop and offer rehabilitation programs, therapies, aids, technologies, and treatments. This helps improve the quality of life of children and youth with disabilities. Thus, the goal is to help young people, children, and their families live more meaningful and satisfactory lives. The core values of the foundation include respect, partnership, innovation, excellence, family and client-focused care, and caring.

The hospital foundation raises funds in different ways, one being through automatic monthly gifts. Other ways to raise money include holiday cards, charitable annuities and securities, corporate partnerships, memorial and tribute gifts, one-time donations, and monthly giving. Funds come from different sources, including investment income (2 percent), research grants (5 percent), client services (9 percent), and the government (67 percent). Other sources of funding include bequests, foundations, corporations, special events, and community giving. In January 2018, senior scientist and research vice president Dr. Tom Chau was awarded the Order of Ontario, which is the highest order of the province. It is awarded to researchers, academics, and other professionals for outstanding achievements and excellence.

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