Who can be a subscriber?

Except for family plans, generally, there are no restrictions on who can be the original subscriber under an RESP:

  • You and your spouse or common-law partner can be joint original subscribers under an RESP.
  • A public primary caregiver of a beneficiary under an RESP may also be an original subscriber. A public primary caregiver is one who receives a special allowance under the Children's Special Allowances Act and may be:
    • the department, agency or institution that cares for the beneficiary; or
    • the public trustee or public curator of the province in which the beneficiary resides.

If you are not the original subscriber, you can become a subscriber only if one of the following situations applies:

  • you are a spouse or common-law partner, or ex-spouse or former common-law partner, of a subscriber and you get the subscriber's rights under the RESP as a result of a court order or written agreement for dividing property after a breakdown of the relationship;
  • you are another individual or another public primary caregiver who has, under a written agreement, acquired a public primary caregiver's rights as a subscriber under the RESP;
  • you acquired the subscriber's rights under the RESP, or you continue to make contributions into the RESP for the beneficiary, after the death of a subscriber under the RESP; or
  • you are the deceased subscriber's estate that acquired the subscriber's rights under the RESP, or that continues to make contributions into the RESP for the beneficiary, after the death of a subscriber under the RESP.

All subscribers under an RESP have to give their social insurance number (SIN) to the promoter before CRA can register the RESP.

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