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The Ins and Outs of RDSPs

Have you ever wondered about the ins and outs of the Registered Disability Savings Plan? Our colleagues at Wellington-Altus have published an article sharing all the facts.
We at Sweeney Bride thought this article might be helpful to any of our clients who are already approved for the Disability Tax Credit or for those considering what benefits may come from a successful application. Did you know that you can open an RDSP not just for yourself, but for family members who are approved for the DTC?
If you’re thinking of ways to provide for your future, or for the future of your family, give this article a read to understand more about this type of registered plan.


A Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) is a tax-sheltered savings vehicle designed to help families ensure the long-term financial security of a loved one affected by disability.

There are several key benefits:

• Assets within an RDSP do not affect the beneficiary’s eligibility to receive government support payments. Payments from an RDSP may have an impact.
• Assets in an RDSP grow tax-free until withdrawn. Because income is not taxed as earned, the compound savings effect can be significant over time.
• It provides access to government grants, and potentially bonds, until the end of the year in which the beneficiary turns 49.
• Tax-deferred rollovers of other registered plans into an RDSP may be possible.

RDSP Setup and Contributions

Who can open an RDSP?

The person who opens the RDSP becomes the “plan holder.” For a minor beneficiary, this can be a parent, or an individual or public agency legally authorized to act for the beneficiary.

Adult beneficiaries can open the RDSP themselves if they are contractually competent. Where competency is in question, a legal representative can open the RDSP. As it can be a lengthy process to establish a legal representative, a “qualifying family member” may open an RDSP for the beneficiary under a temporary rule that expires December 31, 2026.
“Qualifying family member” includes parents, spouses, common law partners and siblings where there is no legal representative.



• Not deductible
• Allowed up to year beneficiary turns 59
• Lifetime limit – $200,000
• Annual limit – none

Grants and bonds:

• Beneficiary must be under 50 years old
• CDSG maximums:

  • Annual: $3,500
  • Lifetime: $70,000

• CDSB maximums:

  • Annual: $1,000
  • Lifetime: $20,000

Withdrawals must start by the end of the year beneficiary turns 60 years old.

Who can be a beneficiary of an RDSP?

An eligible beneficiary is an individual who:

• Is eligible for the disability tax credit (DTC)
• Is resident in Canada
• Has a valid social insurance number (SIN), and
• Is under the age of 60

An eligible individual can only have one RDSP open for their benefit at a time.

What government grants and bonds are available?

A key benefit of an RDSP is the access to the Canada Disability Savings Grant (CDSG) and, in some cases, the Canada Disability Savings Bond (CDSB).

• The CDSG is provided to a lifetime maximum $70,000 and is paid into the RDSP as a percentage (up to 300%) of contributions based on the adjusted family net income.1 For 2023, beneficiaries with adjusted family net income of up to $100,392 can access up to $3,500 in grants annually. Otherwise, the maximum annual grant is $1,000.

• The CDSB is provided to a lifetime maximum of $20,000. It is for low-income beneficiaries and does not require matching contributions. For 2023, beneficiaries with adjusted family net income of $32,979 or less are eligible for the full $1,000 bond. The annual bond amount is gradually reduced as income increases. No bond is paid where adjusted family income exceeds $50,197.

The CDSG and CDSB can be received into an RDSP up to the year in which the beneficiary turns 49. Before this age limit is reached, CDSG and CDSB can also be carried forward up to 10 years. This can be especially useful for newly opened RDSPs where the beneficiary has been eligible for the DTC for several years.

For example, individuals affected by a disability, or their family, are often not aware that they are eligible for the DTC and can open an RDSP. Once an application is made, DTC eligibility will be retroactive to the date the impairment first began, and it is then generally possible to amend up to 10 years of tax returns to claim the DTC. A newly opened RDSP can include the accumulated grant and bond entitlements going back to the date the beneficiary was first eligible for the DTC.

Who can contribute to an RDSP?

Anyone, including the plan holder and the beneficiary, can contribute to an RDSP with written permission from the plan holder. However, once a contribution has been made, it cannot be returned or refunded. The funds become reserved for the benefit of the beneficiary alone.

There is a lifetime contribution limit of $200,000 per beneficiary. While there is no annual limit, contributions in excess of what is required to collect the annual CDSG maximum, or from rollovers into the plan, utilize contribution room without generating additional grants. If the lifetime contribution limit is reached before the maximum lifetime CDSG has been paid, there will be no way to collect further grants. No contributions are permitted after the year the beneficiary turns 59.

What happens if the beneficiary loses DTC eligibility?

The RDSP can be kept open and tax-deferral benefits maintained provided that no contributions are made, rollovers from registered retirement plans occur within four years of the loss of DTC eligibility, and grants or bonds cannot be received.


RDSPs are somewhat unique in that they can receive funds from certain other registered plans on a rollover basis without triggering tax for the transferor. A detailed discussion of these rules is beyond the scope of this article. At a high level, three types of rollovers are possible if conditions are met:

  1. Rollover of a deceased individual’s RRSP or RRIF2 to an RDSP of a financially dependent child or grandchild.
  2. Complete transfer from an RDSP to a new RDSP for the same beneficiary.
  3. Rollover from a RESP to an RDSP for the same beneficiary.

Amounts rolled over or transferred are contributions to the RDSP. Accordingly, no rollovers are possible if the beneficiary is 60 or older. Amounts transferred are counted towards the $200,000 lifetime contribution limit.

RDSP Withdrawals

One-time withdrawals from an RDSP, or Disability Assistance Payments (DAPs), can be made at any time if the plan issuer allows. Annual payments, or Lifetime Disability Assistance Payments (LDAPs), must be taken regularly starting in year the beneficiary turns 60 and continue until the plan is terminated or the beneficiary dies. The annual amount received depends on the accumulated value in the plan and the life expectancy of the beneficiary.

Each payment from an RDSP consists of taxable amounts (grants, bonds, interest earned on investments) and non-taxable amounts (contributions). One-time DAP withdrawals, RDSP closure or the death of a beneficiary within 10 years of any CDSG or CDSB payments to the RDSP will result in a repayment of those grants and bonds (referred to as the “assistance holdback amount”). There is an exception if the beneficiary has a shortened life expectancy and the taxable portion of the withdrawals in one year does not exceed $10,000.

Another key advantage of an RDSP is that there is no limitation on how the withdrawals are used, even for non-medical expenses. Withdrawals do not impact federal benefits such as the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS), Old Age Security (OAS), the GST credit and the Canada Child Benefit. Provincial benefits may be impacted and should be reviewed.

Planning for the financial needs of a person affected by a disability requires a multi-faceted process involving both financial and non-financial considerations. An RDSP is just one element of the beneficiary’s and their family’s larger life, tax and estate plan. Consult your Wellington-Altus advisor for help with optimizing the use of an RDSP as part of your holistic wealth plan.

[1] When the beneficiary is 18 years old or younger, the adjusted family net income is based on what is used to determine the Canada Child Benefit.
When the beneficiary is 19 and older, the adjusted family net income is based on the beneficiary’s income (and their spouse’s income, if applicable) for the prior year.

[2] Rollover rules also apply for pooled registered pension plans and certain lump sums paid from a registered pension plan or specified pension plan.

The opinions contained herein are the opinions of the author and readers should not assume they reflect the opinions or recommendations of Wellington-Altus Private Wealth. Assumptions, opinions and information constitute the author’s judgement as of the date this material and subject to change without notice. We do not warrant the completeness or accuracy of this material, and it should not be relied upon as such. Before acting on any recommendation, you should consider whether it is suitable for your particular circumstances and, if necessary, seek professional advice. Graphs and charts are used for illustrative purposes only and do not reflect future values or future performance of any investment. The information does not provide financial, legal, tax or investment advice. Particular investment, tax, or trading strategies should be evaluated relative to each individual’s objectives and risk tolerance. All third party products and services referred to or advertised in this presentation are sold by the company or organization named. While these products or services may serve as valuable aids to the independent investor, WAPW does not specifically endorse any of these products or services. The third party products and services referred to, or advertised in this presentation, are available as a convenience to its customers only, and WAPW is not liable for any claims, losses or damages however arising out of any purchase or use of third party products or services. All insurance products and services are offered by life licensed advisors of Wellington-Altus. 

Amy Sweeney



Amy was born and raised in Squamish, is David’s oldest daughter and now the newest member of the Sweeney Bride team. Many may recognize her as she has worked periodically for the team for over 20 years. For the past five years, she has gained administrative experience and more running her own business as a Kinesiologist after completing a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology at the University of British Columbia in 2016. Now, Amy is officially ready to join the finance industry. Currently residing in North Vancouver, Amy spends all her “free” time raising Dave’s two wonderful grandchildren.
Liam Hill


Associate Investment Advisor

Originally from Sydney, Australia, Liam moved to the Sea to Sky region in 2013, leaving the beaches behind to embrace the mountains. He hasn’t looked back since and enjoys exploring the wilderness by both land and sea.

Liam’s unique strength lies in his capacity to adapt and fine-tune strategies to match the ever-changing financial world. He’s a passionate advocate for adaptability and flexibility, believing these traits are crucial for securing financial well-being.

Liam holds the Canadian Securities Course qualification and is currently pursuing the Chartered Investment Manager (CIM) designation.

He shares his industry knowledge and business skills to empower individuals, families, and businesses on their path to financial success.

Liam is committed to educating our clients about the financial services industry and helping them make the most of available resources to achieve prosperity.


Administrative Assistant

Sharon worked for Sweeney Bride from 2014 to 2016 and recently rejoined the team as an Administrative Assistant in 2021. She has years of administrative experience in a variety of industries including working in legal and accounting firms. She enjoys being detailed, organized and efficient. When not hard at work, she enjoys exploring the great outdoors with her dogs, playing co-operative strategy board games and relaxing while sipping a nice Craft beer.

Carrie Freitag


Administrative Assistant

Carrie is the newest member of our team and is our Administrative Assistant. She has previous industry and administrative experience and her fascination with the finance industry is rapidly growing. Carrie moved to BC in 1994 from Ontario and never looked back. While not working she loves hanging out with her two kids, awesome cat Leo, and enjoys a competitive game of 21, and her gardens.

Katie Norton



Katie is a Business Administration graduate who joined the Sweeney Bride team in 2016. She takes care of on-boarding as well as managing account administration for our existing clients. She works hard to ensure the clients feel supported throughout the on-boarding process and is always available to answer questions.

A BC resident since 1997, Katie and her husband moved to Squamish to raise their two girls. They enjoy all of the outdoor activities and natural beauty that Squamish has to offer.

Liz Woodsworth


Office Manager

Liz joined the Sweeney Bride team in 2015 as office manager. She is the gatekeeper in the office and is the face that greets you as you come through the door. If she can’t help you, she will ensure you speak with someone who can. Liz is a long-time Squamish local; when not in the office she spends her days soaking up all that this town has to offer while chasing her two active boys. Liz brings her valuable organizational skills and enthusiastic attitude to the team. 

Janet Bride


CFP®, CIM® | Senior Wealth Advisor

Janet Bride is a Senior Wealth Advisor at Wellington-Altus Private Wealth and co-founder of the Sweeney Bride Strategic Wealth Advisory team.

With over 15 years’ experience in the Industry Janet holds the Chartered Investment Manager (CIM®), CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER®, and Elder Planning Counselor (EPC) designations and is also Insurance licensed.

Janet grew up in Ontario and moved out to beautiful British Columbia in 1995 with her husband, Paul, who is an adventure travel photographer. Her passion is to travel the world. Always interested in exploring different cultures and landscapes, she is grateful to have traveled to over 50 countries across 6 continents. She also enjoys continuous learning, spontaneous adventures with family and friends, and an active lifestyle in the Sea to Sky. Janet is proud to be a Big Brothers Big Sisters Alumni member since 2004.

She is highly motivated by helping people reach their financial dreams by creating comprehensive financial plans for individuals & families. While using a holistic approach to wealth management, she specializes in tax strategies and her goal is to encourage savings and help build our client’s wealth for a healthy and prosperous future.



CFP®, CIM® | Senior Wealth Advisor

Dave Sweeney is a Senior Wealth Advisor at Wellington-Altus Private Wealth and co-founder of the Sweeney Bride Strategic Wealth Advisory team.

With over 31 years’ experience in the Industry Dave holds the Chartered Investment Manager (CIM®), CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER®, and Elder Planning Counselor (EPC) designations and is also Insurance licensed.

Dave has lived in Squamish for most of his life. Married to his wife Donna, since 1987, they proudly have 3 lovely daughters, Amy, Danielle and Jamie. With his time in Squamish, it has allowed him an opportunity to become involved in many valuable groups.

Dave is a retired Captain of Squamish Fire Rescue after 35 years of service. Another passion was sports and he has been a coach for Squamish Youth Soccer Association where he dedicated 10 years to coaching girls Rep teams. Additionally, he is a former member and Treasurer of the Sea to Sky Community Services Board. Dave is a frequent contributor to Mountain FM’s Mountain Monitor, providing general advice and financial commentary.

Dave continues his volunteer work as Treasurer for both the Squamish Hospital Foundation and the Squamish Downtown Business Improvement Association. He is also a sitting Board member of the Squamish Community Foundation.

Professionally, Dave started his Financial Planning practice in 1994. After living through both his parents’ demise and witnessing what a lack of understanding they had, he realized what sound planning techniques could do to ensure that an untimely death did not destroy one’s lifetime work. For over 20 years, he has made it his passion to assist others in not facing the same plight.