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Registered retirement savings plan contributions, 2015

Released: 2017-02-24

Contributions to registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs) totalled $39.2 billion in 2015, up 1.5% from 2014. Data are based on tax returns filed for 2015.

For most provinces and territories, contributions either increased or stayed the same. Prince Edward Island (+6.4%), Nunavut (+4.9%), and British Columbia (+4.3%) had the highest contributions increases, while the Northwest Territories (-3.7%) and Alberta (-3.1%) had the largest declines.

Just under 6 million taxfilers contributed to an RRSP in 2015. This number has remained virtually unchanged since 2009. The peak over the last decade occurred in 2007, when just under 6.3 million individuals contributed to an RRSP.

Regionally, the highest percent increases in the number of contributors to RRSPs occurred in Northwest Territories (+3.6%) and Prince Edward Island (+2.5%). Minor decreases were observed in Alberta (-0.6%), New Brunswick (-0.2%) and Saskatchewan (-0.2%).

The percentage of taxfilers who contributed to an RRSP edged downward, from 23.0% in 2014 to 22.9% in 2015. From 2013 to 2014, the percentage of taxfilers who contributed also edged down from 23.4% to 23.0%. This downward trend can be observed over the last 15 years—from 29.1% in 2000, to 26.3% in 2005 and to 24.3% in 2010.

Nationally, the median contribution in 2015 was $3,000, unchanged from 2013 and 2014. In other words, half of the taxfilers reporting RRSP contributions reported more than $3,000 and the other half reported less than $3,000.

Nunavut had the lowest percentage of taxfilers who contributed to an RRSP (11.4%), but those taxfilers who did contribute made the highest median contribution to RRSPs ($4,000). Alberta had the second highest median contribution to RRSPs ($3,440), followed by British Columbia ($3,330) and Yukon ($3,300). Manitoba had the lowest median contribution at $2,300.

Among census metropolitan areas (CMAs), Calgary had the highest median RRSP contribution ($4,020), followed by Vancouver ($3,760) and Toronto ($3,620). Historically, these three CMAs have had the highest median RRSP contributions. The lowest median RRSP contributions were in Winnipeg ($2,300), followed closely by Kingston ($2,320).

To be eligible to contribute to an RRSP, a taxfiler must have unused room from earlier years or new room as a result of qualifying income from the previous year (generally employment income). The RRSP limit is based on 18% of the previous tax year's earned income up to a fixed maximum, less any pension adjustments and plus any unused room carried forward. The fixed maximum RRSP contribution in 2015 was $24,930, up from $24,270 in 2014.



  Note to readers

All data in this release have been tabulated according to the 2011 Standard Geographical Classification used for the 2011 Census.

A census metropolitan area (CMA) is formed by one or more adjacent municipalities centred on a population centre (also known as the core). A CMA must have a total population of at least 100,000, of which 50,000 or more must live in the core.

Products

The data on RRSP Contributors (Catalogue number17C0006, various prices), RRSP Contribution Limits (Catalogue number17C0011, various prices) and Canadian Taxfilers (Catalogue number17C0010, various prices) are now available for Canada, provinces and territories, economic regions, census divisions, census metropolitan areas, census agglomerations, census tracts, and postal-based geographies. These custom services are available upon request. CANSIM tables for this release are available for Canada, the provinces and territories, census metropolitan areas and census agglomerations.

The following table is also available: CANSIM table 111-0041: Summary characteristics of Canadian taxfilers.

The technical reference guide "Investment Income, RRSP Contributions and Charitable Donations, T1 Family File, Preliminary Estimates" (Catalogue number72-211-X), presents information about the methodology, concepts and data quality for the data available in this release.

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; STATCAN.infostats-infostats.STATCAN@canada.ca) or Media Relations (613-951-4636; STATCAN.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.STATCAN@canada.ca).

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