our-communities
2018-annual-report
our-history
our-families
our-vision

Our History
Where we come from

Our legacy is one of inspired thinking in education. Our past is built for the future. The Canadian Scholarship Trust Foundation started with one single vision: to make education accessible for all. Incorporated as a non-profit in 1960, by a small group of educators and business professionals, the Canadian Scholarship Trust Foundation began as a grassroots organization dedicated to helping Canadian families access a post-secondary education.

“I have inordinate respect for the work of the Foundation, for the work of the Canadian Scholarship Trust. It is an inspired idea... that education should always be available to everyone in society regardless of income.” Remarks from then Ambassador, Stephen Lewis, Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations, Companion of the Order of Canada, during The Canadian Scholarship Trust Foundation’s 25th Anniversary Dinner on April 11, 1986.

Serving as the Foundation’s first president, Justice Peter Wright helped Joseph Potts and his wife become the first ever Canadian parents to plan ahead and save for the university education of their children through a scholarship plan.

“In 1960, I was a young solicitor with five children,” said Honourable Mr. Justice J. Potts of the Supreme Court of Ontario. “I knew that I would have a tremendous financial problem if they all went through university at the same time.”

On March 31st, 1961, the young family signed the first ever scholarship agreement (education savings plan) in Canada. All five of his children went on to university. Historical photo

From left to right: (Back row) Roberta, Richard, Diana, Joseph, Arthur (Front row) Joseph Potts, Dawn Potts

Since then millions of Canadians have gone on to save for their child’s post-secondary education through a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP). As for Justice Potts and his family, it’s an investment they have now extended to their eight grandchildren.

Advocacy

With a rich history in advocacy and in the advancement of education in Canada the Foundation has actively participated in discussions with the federal government, provincial ministries, various commissions on education and financing education, as well as other bodies. These discussions have led to significant changes to the Income Tax Act for education savings plans, the introduction of the Canada Learning Bond, as well as enhancements to the Canada Education Saving Grant (CESG). We have also been successful in encouraging provincial governments to amend several regulations that would require the collapse of an RESP in order to qualify for social assistance. More recently we worked with the Government of British Columbia to establish the British Columbia Training and Education Savings Grant (BCTESG), Saskatchewan and its currently suspended Saskatchewan Advantage Grant for Education Savings (SAGES) and the Quebec Education Savings Incentive (QESI) program in Quebec. 

We believe our role as advocate is an integral part of our history and the history of our country and our responsibility under our mission.

Telus group shot

British Columbia’s Education Minister, The Honourable, Mike Bernier joins the Canadian Scholarship Trust Foundation at the launch of a province-wide campaign encouraging BC families to start saving for post-secondary education in 2017.

“I have inordinate respect for the work of the Foundation, for the work of the Canadian Scholarship Trust. It is an inspired idea... that education should always be available to everyone in society regardless of income.”Remarks from then Ambassador, Stephen Lewis, Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations, Companion of the Order of Canada, during The Canadian Scholarship Trust Foundation’s 25th Anniversary Dinner on April 11, 1986.