The subscriber (or a person acting for the subscriber) generally makes contributions to the RESP. Subscribers cannot deduct their contributions from their income on their income tax and benefit return.

The promoter usually pays the contributions, and the income earned on those contributions, to the beneficiaries. The income earned is paid as educational assistance payments (EAPs).

Educational Assistance Payments (EAPs)
An educational assistance payment (EAP) is the amount paid to a beneficiary (a student) from an RESP to help finance the cost of post-secondary education. An EAP consists of the Canada education savings grant, the Canada learning bond, amounts paid under a provincial education savings program and the earnings on the money saved in the RESP.

Beneficiaries generally receive the contributions and the EAPs from the promoter. They have to include the EAPs in their income for the year in which they receive them. However, they do not have to include the contributions they receive in their income.

The Canada Revenue Agency registers the education savings plan contract as an RESP, and lifetime limits are set by the Income Tax Act on the amount that can be contributed for each beneficiary