It has been around for almost 15 years and its generosity is beyond question. However, the Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) is not as well known and used as the RRSP or RESP. This is not normal, says a young 23-year-old software engineer turned entrepreneur with the ambition to correct the situation.
Posted at 6:30 am
Of the range of registered accounts, the RDSP is the most obscure.
Pity. Because Ottawa pays subsidies of up to 300% of the sums contributed. And even if you don’t have the means to save a dime, simply opening an account allows those less fortunate to receive $20,000 as a gift. However, less than one in three eligible people contribute.
Why deprive yourself of it?
Statistics Canada responded in April. Of course, to take advantage of RDSP, you must know that it exists. However, almost half (46%) of eligible people, those who qualify for the Disability Tax Credit (DTC), don’t know what it is. Of those familiar with the scheme, almost half do not contribute due to lack of money. Others lack information (29%) or consider it too complicated (15%).
Precisely to simplify the lives of people with disabilities, Michel-Alexandre Riendeau launched an online platform, in 2021, that allows you to open an RDSP “in a few minutes”. His name: Terry, in honor of the athlete Terry Fox. 600 accounts have already been opened. The service is free.
“It takes some experience. We only do RDSP, which allows us to have agile and effective processes to better serve this unfortunately forgotten population”, emphasizes the man who has surrounded himself with investors who have the cause at heart, such as the actor and screenwriter Louis Morissette, whose sister he has cerebral palsy.
Do not think that their pool of potential clients is Lilliputian. In Quebec, more than 1 million people have a disability.
Guillaume Parent is well placed to understand Michel-Alexandre Riendeau, whose arrival at the market he greets, since “the runway is very big”. He founded his Finandicap company in 2010, with the same goals as his competitor. “In the beginning, he was very naive. I thought with all the subsidies there would be a queue. But not ! Even today, myths plague the RDSP.
What’s even more shocking is that in Quebec, half of us apply for the DTC than anywhere else in the country.
Guillaume Parent, Founding President of Finandicap
The lack of cooperation of doctors, who must sign forms, is the main reason, argues the president of Finandicap.
Véronique Bolduc, who has suffered from type 1 diabetes for 25 years, can attest to this. The endocrinologist who accompanied her for years refused to fill out the paperwork on the pretext that the College of Physicians prevented her from doing so and that she could be prosecuted. “I thought I was just unlucky, but no, my second endocrinologist told me the exact same thing! »
The 40-year-old self-employed woman wants to obtain the DTC to access the RDSP. This plan would secure her financial situation, she argues, since she finds it difficult to take out disability insurance. She just signed the documents.
This scenario is common.
Having the complete documents “is a nightmare”, observes Michel-Alexandre Riendeau. “It’s hell”, adds Guillaume Parent, lamenting that doctors “advise the tax experts” assuming that the TTD “is not worth it”.
The College of Physicians told me that they had never issued a directive on DTC and had never received a complaint from the public. The Quebec Federation of General Practitioners and the Quebec Federation of Specialist Physicians also swear that they have not issued an opinion on this subject.
Be that as it may, of all the provinces, it is in Quebec where the rate of use of the DTC and the RDSP is the lowest. According to the organization Finautonome, “Quebec is the least good at identifying people living with a disability.” His mission is precisely to catch up.
For their part, Terry and Finandicap are there to help parents of children with disabilities prepare for the future with the RDSP. Adults can also subscribe for their own needs.
Although traditional banks do not advertise, they also open RDSP accounts. This is the case at BMO, but not at branches. Everything is done over the phone. A “dedicated” call center makes it possible to have a team that is better trained in this financial product “more complex than the RESP”, justifies the director of BMO RDSP account support, Ralph Awad.
It’s worth the cost to get the right information. Not least because, contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be “really damaged to be disabled,” insists Guillaume Parent.
- 12 billion
- Total value of assets held in national accounts of the RDSP
- Annual growth of this asset (yields and new accounts)