Registered retirement savings plan contributions

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Just under 6.0 million taxfilers contributed to registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs) in 2010, a slight decline of 0.2% from 2009. Their total contributions increased 2.6% to $33.9 billion. Data are based on tax returns filed for 2010.

Regionally, the highest percentage increases in the number of contributors occurred in Yukon (+4.4%) and in Saskatchewan (+3.3%). In absolute numbers, the largest gain was in Quebec, where the number of contributors increased by 9,220.

Contributions increased in every province and territory. The largest increases occurred in Nunavut (+8.8%) and Yukon (+8.0%). The smallest increase was in Prince Edward Island (+0.1%).

To be eligible to contribute to an RRSP, a taxfiler must have either new room as a result of qualifying income from the previous year (generally employment income), or unused room from earlier years. The limit is based on 18% of the previous tax year's earned income, to a fixed maximum, less any pension adjustments, plus any unused room carried forward. The fixed maximum RRSP contribution in 2010 was $22,000, up from $21,000 in 2009.

Almost 93% of taxfilers were eligible to contribute to an RRSP for the 2010 tax year, the same proportion as in 2009. Of this group of eligible taxfilers, 26% actually made contributions, unchanged from 2009.

The $33.9 billion in total RRSP contributions in 2010 represented about 5.1% of the total room available to eligible taxfilers, down from 5.4% in 2009.

Nationally, the median contribution was $2,790, a 4.1% increase from 2009. The median is the point at which half of the contributors contributed more than $2,790 and half less.

The median was highest in the territories: Nunavut ($4,900), the Northwest Territories ($3,610) and Yukon ($3,310). Nova Scotia and Manitoba had the lowest median contribution at $2,300.

Among census metropolitan areas, Calgary contributors had the highest median RRSP contribution ($3,900), followed by those in Vancouver ($3,400) and Toronto ($3,380). The same three census metropolitan areas have historically occupied the top three positions.

Contributors in St. Catharines–Niagara ($2,240) had the lowest median RRSP contribution, followed closely by those in Barrie ($2,250).

Available on CANSIM: tables 111-0039 to 111-0041.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number 4106.

The databanks RRSP Contributors (17C0006, various prices), Canadian Taxfilers (17C0010, various prices) and RRSP Contribution Limits (17C0011, various prices) are available for Canada, the provinces and territories, cities, towns, census metropolitan areas, census divisions, federal electoral districts and other small areas.

For more information, contact Statistics Canada's National Contact Centre (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 613-951-8116; infostats@statcan.gc.ca), Communications Division.

To enquire about concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Client Services (toll-free 1-888-297-7355; 613-951-7355; income@statcan.gc.ca), Income Statistics Division.