Canadian families are sacrificing more to put gifts under the tree this year


Canadian families are sacrificing more to put gifts under the tree this year

Toronto, ON (December 13, 2013) – With less than two weeks left until the holidays, CST Consultants Inc. (CST) is encouraging Canadians to think outside the box when buying gifts.

A Leger survey commissioned by CST, one of Canada’s largest RESP providers, shows the average Canadian plans to spend $180 per person on gifts this year.  Toys and clothes top the list of holiday gifts for kids with 54 per cent of Canadians saying that’s what they plan on buying for the little ones on their lists.  Books (41 per cent), gift cards (37 per cent), and electronics (36 per cent) round out the top 5 gift list items.

The survey also revealed that very few Canadians have considered starting or contributing to a child’s Registered Education Savings Plan as a gift, with only 3 per cent of people saying it was on their list.  Of note, grandparents and those 65 years or older are more likely to contribute to an RESP compared to those 18 to 34 (7 per cent vs. 2 per cent).  Money was also a popular gift amongst those 55 and older (39 per cent) and Quebeckers (32 per cent).

“While most toys and clothes will be long forgotten in a year, contributing to a child’s education savings fund is truly a gift that will last a lifetime,” says Peter Lewis, Vice-President at CST. “Even if each family member planning to give a child a gift were to put $50 into his or her RESP, you would be able to accumulate enough money to help pay for the first year of tuition for that child, especially with the Canadian government contributing 20 per cent of the first $2,500 in annual contributions.  It’s free money and a tax-deferred way to save for your child’s future.”

The sacrifices Canadians are making

The survey also found that: 

  • 51 per cent are putting off purchasing big ticket items to buy gifts.
  • 43 per cent are consciously spending less over the next few months to buy gifts.
  • 29 per cent are putting off renovations for their home until after the holidays.
  • 15 per cent are putting off vacation plans.
  • Canadians under 45 are more likely to say they will either be going into debt or have to borrow money to buy gifts for the holidays (32 per cent vs. 12 per cent of Canadians 45 years and older).  This is also true of those who have children (31 per cent) and those who are single (29 per cent).

The Leger survey was conducted between December 2 and December 5, 2013 with a sample of 1505 Canadians 18+.  A probability sample of the same size would yield a marking of error of +/- 2.5%, 19 times out of 20.

CST encourages parents to learn more about RESPs and start investing in their child’s future.

With a CST RESP, parents, guardians, relatives or friends can contribute up to $50,000 into the plan for each child.  There is no annual contribution limit and the federal government will add a 20% matching grant (the Canada Education Savings Grant) - adding up to $500 into your RESP every year.  Over the life of a plan, that could total an extra $7,200 set aside for your child’s post-secondary education.  To maximize the amount of this grant, parents should invest at least $2,500 per year into their child’s RESP. 

Quebec residents are entitled to the Quebec Education Savings Incentive (QESI), and can get up to an additional 20 per cent on the first $500 contributed each year, and 10 per cent on the next $2,000.  Saskatchewan residents are entitled to an extra 10 per cent of their contributions up to a maximum of $250 in grants per child every year through the Saskatchewan Advantage Grant for Education Savings (SAGES).    Alberta families are also still eligible for the Alberta Centennial Education Savings Grant (ACES), which provides families $500 when they first start an RESP plus another $100 when their child turns 8, 11, and 14 years old.

Media contact:

Edyta McKay – Manager, Corporate Communications, CST Consultants Inc.

Office – 416 445-7377 x 303 Mobile – 647 242-5433, [email protected]

About CST

The Canadian Scholarship Trust Foundation is a non-profit organization that has been helping families save for post-secondary education for over fifty years. As a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Foundation, C.S.T. Consultants Inc. (CSTC) is the distributor and manager of the Canadian Scholarship Trust Plans. Focused exclusively on growing and protecting its planholders' savings, CSTC currently manages $3.8 billion in assets for over 280,000 Canadian families.  CSTC boasts a sales force of 640 located across the country.  The Canadian Scholarship Trust Foundation offers its own awards for academic achievement and community engagement to those students in their Group Plans who are pursuing graduate studies.   For more information about RESPs at CST go to or follow us on twitter @cstconsultants and like us on Facebook.