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Declaring Assets For Osap


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I'm sure this has been brought up before, but I'm just a little bit confused with my OSAP application. Specifically, the application asks for you to report the total value from all assets and savings from:

  • savings accounts including tax-free savings accounts (TFSAs)
  • Guaranteed Investment certificates (GICs)
  • Canada Savings Bonds (CSBs), provincial savings bonds or corporate bonds
  • stocks
  • term deposits
  • treasury bills
  • mutual funds
  • trust funds

But to not report the following: 

  • your vehicles
  • money your parents or spouse gave you to help with your educational costs
  • the value of your principal residence and any other real estate that you own
  • clothing, furniture or personal belongings
  • awards for non-economic loss and/or pain and suffering
  • Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs)
  • Registered Disability Saving Plans (RDSPs)
  • Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs) and other retirement accounts
  • Ontario Child Benefit Equivalent Program

All the money that I've earned from working/some other sources (which is a sizeable amount but nothing crazy) is sitting in my chequing account, where it has always been. As far as I know this is not a savings account or a TFSA because I'm not earning any interest on the amount.

 

I called Western's financial aid office, and while they did not know how declaring this amount would impact OSAP grant money, they told me that I don't have to report it because it's not in a savings account. 

 

When I play around with the OSAP aid estimator, I see that putting the amount vs. not putting the amount as an asset does impact the grant money. Of course with the high tuition we'd all like to get as much aid as possible but I don't want to do the wrong thing. Is money in your chequing account really not considered an asset? Will they ask me for the total amount of money in all bank accounts later? Just hoping to get some advice for someone who knows more than I do!

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Don't you just love the wording of things. 

 

The actual wording I think is:

 

"Report the total value of all other financial assets including savings accounts, tax-free savings accounts, provincial savings bonds and Canada Savings Bonds, corporate bonds, stocks, term deposits, GICs, treasury bills and mutual funds."

 

The wording is not a list everything you need to include, but rather saying you need to report all financial assets and here are some example that people need to include. For instance using the same approach of not including things like you account as is not a savings account then just having a pile of cash on your bedroom floor would not need to be included and you could simply transfer assets from things included by the list and those not to avoid easily declaring them. The intent as I understand it is to include things like your account. Sounds stupid but actually a savings account as well doesn't technically have to offer interest (by its pure definition in economics terms. In general use of course they definitely do but in the academic sense they don't.). If the government didn't want you to include them they also would have added them to the exclusion list - which in comparison has a lot of logical things not to include (like your RRSP as it has penalties to access, your house which you cannot sell easily to get income, money your parents gave you or why would anyone give you money for school and so on....)

 

Now as this is brought up a few times the government doesn't actually have an easy way of knowing what you have and what you don't - if they did they wouldn't be asking you, they would simply already know. Accessing your account information would require a court order and cause. 

 

Relatedly OSAP is very much a form of social assistance - something I usually point out just because this is likely the only time medical students will every be exposed to such a thing, but we will have patients for the rest of our careers that will rely on them (ODSP, or Ontario Works as examples). The stress of maximizing our grants/loan amounts is similar to many peoples' goal maximizing their income per month on those other forms of social assistance. Just gives some perspective I think. 

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Don't you just love the wording of things. 

 

The actual wording I think is:

 

"Report the total value of all other financial assets including savings accounts, tax-free savings accounts, provincial savings bonds and Canada Savings Bonds, corporate bonds, stocks, term deposits, GICs, treasury bills and mutual funds."

 

Actually, I pretty much took the wording from OSAP's website too. 

 

"Report the total value of all other assets or savings from:

  • savings accounts including tax-free savings accounts (TFSAs)
  • Guaranteed Investment certificates (GICs)
  • Canada Savings Bonds (CSBs), provincial savings bonds or corporate bonds
  • stocks
  • term deposits
  • treasury bills
  • mutual funds
  • trust funds"

Not that it really matters, but the word "including" isn't there - maybe they're not wording things as carefully as they should. I have been exposed to ODSP and Ontario Works as I work in healthcare. As I said, Western's financial aid office told me I don't need to include the money in my chequing account in assets, but I wanted a second opinion. Maybe I'll try calling OSAP.

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Sure - let us know what they say! :) There sometimes different working on the same site for OSAP just for fun. I was quoting:

 

https://osap.gov.on.ca/OSAPPortal/en/Help/Definitions/TCONT003080.html

Report the total value of all other financial assets including savings accounts, tax-free savings accounts, provincial savings bonds and Canada Savings Bonds, corporate bonds, stocks, term deposits, GICs, treasury bills and mutual funds

 

https://osap.gov.on.ca/dc/PRDR012879

Report the total value of all other financial assets including:

 

just for reference, ha. That site is just a mess you could probably find a series of other definitions just to confuse us all. 

 

When I last contacted them (a few years ago) on the matter they told it was included (our concern was the student had mixed funds in there from gifts, earnings, and even rent payments from the house his parents owned but he managed. It was a mess ). After going over the situation we had to painstakingly track the various amounts according to them to come up with a reasonable estimate of the true total.

 

Also hope it absolutely didn't sound like I was imply you particularly didn't know things like ODSP - it was a more general statement.  

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