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Navigating RRSP Withdrawals for Home Buyers and Lifelong Learning

The Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) is a cornerstone of retirement planning for Canadians, offering tax-deferred growth on investments and a way to reduce taxable income through contributions. However, the benefits of RRSPs extend beyond retirement savings alone. Two notable programs, the Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP) and the Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP), allow individuals to make withdrawals from their RRSPs under specific conditions for home purchases and education, respectively. Understanding the legal nuances and requirements of these plans can help maximize their benefits.

Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP)

The HBP is designed to assist individuals in purchasing or building a qualifying home by allowing them to withdraw funds from their RRSPs without immediate tax implications. To be eligible for the HBP, individuals must meet the definition of a first-time home buyer, which is detailed in section 146.01 of the Income Tax Act. A first-time home buyer is someone who has not owned and occupied a home, as their principal place of residence, during the period beginning January 1 of the fourth year before the year of withdrawal and ending 31 days before the withdrawal.

The HBP requires the home to be a qualifying home, which is defined as a housing unit located in Canada. Participants must also enter into a written agreement to buy or build the qualifying home before making the withdrawal and must intend to use the home as their principal place of residence.

Withdrawals made under the HBP must be repaid to the RRSP over a period of 15 years, starting the second year following the year of withdrawal. Failure to repay the annual amount results in the unpaid portion being added to the individual’s taxable income for that year.

Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP)

The LLP allows RRSP holders to finance full-time training or education for themselves, their spouse, or their common-law partner. Similar to the HBP, withdrawals under the LLP are not subject to tax at the time of withdrawal, and the RRSP issuer will not withhold tax on these amounts.

To qualify for the LLP, the education program must be at a designated educational institution and have a duration of not less than three consecutive months, requiring at least 10 hours per week on courses or work in the program. The LLP withdrawal must be used to finance enrollment in such a program.

The total amount withdrawn under the LLP must be repaid to the RRSP within a period of 10 years, with repayments starting no later than the fifth year after the first withdrawal. As with the HBP, failure to repay the required amount in any year results in the amount being added to the individual’s income for that year.

Key Considerations

Eligibility: For both plans, determining eligibility is crucial. For the HBP, being a first-time home buyer is a key requirement, while for the LLP, enrollment in a qualifying educational program is necessary.

Repayment: Both plans require the amounts withdrawn to be repaid to the RRSP within specific periods. Failure to meet these repayment obligations results in tax implications.

The specific repayment requirements for the Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP) and the Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP) as outlined in the Canadian Income Tax Act include details on the repayment period, start time for repayments, and the consequences of failing to repay the annual amount due. These requirements are crucial for individuals who have withdrawn funds from their Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) under these plans and are obligated to repay the amounts to avoid tax implications.

For the Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP):

  • The repayment period for the HBP is no more than 15 years. This means that individuals who have withdrawn funds under the HBP must repay all withdrawals to their RRSP within this timeframe.
  • If an individual does not repay the minimum amount required for a particular year, that amount will be included in the individual’s income for that year. This inclusion in income is a direct consequence of failing to meet the annual repayment obligation.

For the Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP):

  • The repayment period for the LLP is no more than 10 years. Similar to the HBP, this stipulates the timeframe within which individuals must repay all withdrawals made under the LLP to their RRSP.
  • The start time for repayments under the LLP is the fifth year after the first LLP withdrawal. However, in most cases, individuals are required to start repaying their withdrawals before that year.
  • If an individual does not repay the minimum amount required for a particular year under the LLP, that amount will be included in the individual’s income for that year. This is the consequence of failing to adhere to the annual repayment requirements.



Tax Implications: While withdrawals under these plans are initially tax-free, non-compliance with repayment schedules leads to the withdrawn amounts being added to taxable income.


The HBP and LLP offer valuable opportunities for RRSP holders to leverage their savings for important life events, such as buying a first home or pursuing further education. By understanding and adhering to the specific legal requirements and conditions of these plans, individuals can make the most of their RRSPs beyond just retirement savings.


This information is for discussion purposes only and should not be considered professional advice. There is no guarantee or warrant of information on this site and it should be noted that rules and laws change regularly. You should consult a professional before considering implementing or taking any action based on information on this site. Call our team for a consultation before taking any action. ©2024 Shajani CPA.

Shajani CPA is a CPA Calgary, Edmonton and Red Deer firm and provides Accountant, Bookkeeping, Tax Advice and Tax Planning service.

Nizam Shajani, Partner, LLM, CPA, CA, TEP, MBA

I enjoy formulating plans that help my clients meet their objectives. It's this sense of pride in service that facilitates client success which forms the culture of Shajani CPA.

Shajani Professional Accountants has offices in Calgary, Edmonton and Red Deer, Alberta. We’re here to support you in all of your personal and business tax and other accounting needs.