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Increasing up-take of the Canada Learning Bond for Indigenous children

20 February 2018
The federal government created a social and financial innovation called the Canada Learning Bond (CLB) in 2004 to provide low-income families with a substantial contribution and ongoing incentives to save for their children’s post-secondary education. The CLB program provides up to $2,000 per child over a 15-year period. The challenge is that enrollment is relatively low in the general population, and even lower in Indigenous populations.
At the close of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in June 2015, a partnership emerged made up of Indigenous organizations, not-for-profit organizations, philanthropic organizations, financial institutions, and others. A commitment was made to focus on getting Indigenous children signed up for the Canada Learning Bond. 
Since the commitment, a number of approaches have been tested by organizations in the partnership who formed a working group. The working group is made up of many organizations including: 
  • McConnell Foundation
  • Kanata Financial
  • Winnipeg Boldness Project
  • Vancouver Island University
  • Prosper Canada
  • Government of New Brunswick
  • King's College
  • University of Toronto Scarborough
  • Winnipeg Promise
  • LEAP
  • Omega Foundation
  • SmartSAVER
  • Government of Canada. 
The working group is focused on three key areas: post-secondary institutions, children in care and identification barriers. They are encouraging post-secondary institutions to include information on the CLB in their recruitment and communication efforts; and to take an active role in engaging children to develop post-secondary bound identities. The group is also working to ensure that children in care have access to the CLB and are also aware that savings for their education exists. Finally, they are focused on finding solutions to the barriers that Indigenous families face in obtaining the CLB such as birth certificates, SIN, and tax filing.
With deeper collaboration among all sectors – on the CLB and complementary programs to improve post-secondary access – Canada can deliver educational opportunities for the many, not just the few.
The working group is hosted by McConnell Foundation. Visit their website to learn more: