Canadian Learning Passport: Check the fine print
In their election platform unveiled over the weekend, the Liberal Party of Canada is proposing that if elected they will implement a new program called the Canadian Learning Passport. Under the program, the Liberals will pay $1,000 annually over 4 years for every high school student who attends college, university or CEGEP. Kids from low-income families will receive $1,500 per year. The Learning Passport benefit will be directly deposited into a child’s RESP and the amount will be reduced for part-time students.
The Liberal Platform also mentions in passing that the Learning Passport “will simplify the existing scheme of tax credits by ending and rolling in the modest Textbook and Education tax credits” [Emphasis mine]. For the 2010 tax year, the education amount is worth $400 and the textbook amount worth $65 for every month that a full-time student attends University. For a full-time student attending University throughout the year, these tax credits could be worth as much as $837 per year, which is anything but “modest”. Talk about giving with one hand and taking away with the other!
As reader Phil pointed out the other day, it would be far simpler to directly reducing tuition for all students. But then I suppose the Liberals are banking on the fact that people like receiving $1,000 (or rather a net benefit of $1,000 less the value of existing tax credits) directly more than some abstract promise of tuition fee reductions. And they are also likely hoping that Canadians aren’t paying close attention to the fine print.