Amend Income Tax Act

SmartSAVER has worked with Indigenous-led and ally organizations to call for a legislative change that could bring major benefits to children from First Nations. Currently, participation by members of First Nations in federal education grant programs, including the CLB, is 5% - eight times below the national average. We see a huge opportunity in amending the Income Tax Act to expand the definition of "subscriber" to Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs). Under the proposed change, First Nation Band Councils would be considered subscribers. This would enable Councils to sign up families for RESPs, and, for those who are eligible, access the Canada Learning Bond.

Our current efforts interest builds on past actions taken by the Assembly of First Nations (Resolution 42/2012), party platforms (Stand Up Canada, 2008), and a legal opinion about whether a First Nation can be a subscriber (McCarthy Tetrault, 2017). We have been honoured to also receive the support of the Honourable Mary Coyle, Senator, who wrote to the Minister of Finance in March 2020 on behalf of herself and six other senators: The Honourable Frances Lankin, Senator

This is the exact request:

Amend the Income Tax Act (ITA) to allow First Nation Band Councils to act as Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) subscribers for member children living in low-income households.

This proposal is also supported by:

First Nations Bank of Canada
Aboriginal Financial Officers Association of Canada (AFOA)
National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association (NACCA)
The Winnipeg Boldness Project
Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada)
The McConnell Foundation
Vancouver Island University The Omega Foundation