Increasing education savings for families living on low incomes: An outcome harvest evaluation

Momentum is a changing-making organization located in Calgary, Alberta that works with people living on low incomes and partners in the community to create a thriving local economy for all. In 2008, Momentum launched the StartSmart program to support families living on low incomes to open Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs) to access free government education savings incentives such as the Canada Learning Bond (CLB). Momentum subsequently partnered with community agencies and advocated for systems level change in order to reach more families and scale up CLB uptake. 

This report captures the collective efforts and outcomes of Momentum and community partners regarding increasing the Canada Learning Bond (CLB) uptake in Canada, as well as lessons learned.

The report highlights include:

  • Momentum and community partners efforts contributed to more than doubling the CLB uptake rate in Calgary (from 20% to 52%)
  • Through Aspire, Momentum trained over 350 community staff and volunteers from over 80 community agencies to deliver the StartSmart program
  • Policy successes (such as changing social housing rules to accommodate RESP savings) were achieved and some failures (cancellation of the provincial ACES grant) were experienced
  • Policy changes are still required to see significant uptake of the CLB. See Momentum's recent publication Public Policy Options to Better Enable Education Savings by Families on Low Incomes



Children’s Savings Account: Survey of Private and Public Funding 2019

Children’s Savings Account (CSA) programs offer a promising strategy to build a college-bound identity and make post-secondary education an achievable goal for more low- and moderate-income children. CSAs provide children (starting in elementary school or younger) with savings accounts and financial incentives for the purpose of education after high school. Beyond their financial value, CSAs are associated with beneficial effects for children and parents, including improved early child development. child health, maternal mental health, educational expectations, and academic performance. Many of these benefits are strongest for children from low-income families.

This report shares a snapshot of the scale and makeup of the funding for the CSA field in 2019. It follows similar AFN reports on CSA funding in 2014-2015 and 2017 and captures the following data on CSA programs’ financial support in calendar year 2019:

  • Private and public financial investments.
  • Private and public in-kind contributions.
  • Intended uses of funds.



Indicators for Financial Empowerment: Learnings from the National Financial Empowerment Champions Project

This resource offers a set of common indicators that community organizations can use to measure the reach and impact of their financial empowerment (FE) programming. It is intended for any community organization that works to foster greater financial well-being for economically disadvantaged Canadians.

This resource compiles the key performance indicators (KPIs) and presents them for use by community organizations beyond the National Financial Empowerment Champions (FECs) partners. The KPIs have been refined in response to partners’ feedback and in recognition of developments in the FE field, ensuring that the definitions reflect current and best practices in the field of financial empowerment/financial literacy in Canada and the USA.