The NWT Literacy Council announced a new program this week to find eligible children and families who could be missing out on funding for post-secondary education.
The council is partnering with the federal government to promote the Canada Learning Bond, or CLB, which is money added to a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) for children from low-income families
If accepted for the CLB, your child could get up to $2,000 in total. However, according to the council, 88 percent of eligible children in the Northwest Territories are missing out.
“There are more than 4,400 children in the Northwest Territories eligible that are not receiving it, so we want to decrease that number," said Christine Barker, a literacy coordinator who will manage the Canada Learning Bond awareness program.
The NWT Literacy Council says there are two reasons children have been missing out: a lack of awareness about the program, and a lack of financial institutions in smaller communities.
People mingle at an NWT Literacy Council announcement for the new Canada Learning Bond awareness program. Alice Twa/Cabin Radio
The council will run sessions in four regions of the NWT to train people interested in promoting the CLB in their home communities.
“There are organizations that are going to carry on this knowledge and continue to promote it after we’re done the initial part,” said Barker.
Children who are eligible for the CLB must be born in 2004 or later, need to come from a low-income family, and have an RESP set up on their behalf.
Rachel VanderVeen, Mayor Rebecca Alty, and Minister Caroline Cochrane pose for a photo on the NWT Literacy Council literacy bus. Alice Twa/Cabin Radio
“I recommend this program to every single parent out there. Education is the key,” said Minister of Education, Culture, and Employment Caroline Cochrane.
“It’s a chance for children to get education. It’s a chance for children to succeed. And every single child in the Northwest Territories has a right to succeed and a right to post-secondary education.”
You can create an RESP at any bank in Canada. You can also contact the NWT Literacy Council if you have any questions or would like help setting one up.
If your child meets all the requirements for the CLB, they will immediately receive $500 into their RESP and $100 every year.
Barker says parents should know post-secondary education is important for their child and there are options for financial aid.
“It’s really worth looking into some financial savings for their children’s post-secondary education, whether it’s college, university, or the trades. Kids are more apt to go on to post-secondary if they know that there is money set aside for them.”