Total RRSP contributions rise as number of contributors declines slightly

Despite a rise in total contributions to registered retirement savings plans in 2016, the total number of contributors was down slightly, according to the latest census data from Statistics Canada.

In 2016, contributions in RRSPs totalled $40.4 billion, up 3.1 per cent from 2015. However, about 5.9 million tax filers contributed to an RRSP in 2016, which was down 0.9 per cent from 2015. And the total percentage of tax filers who contributed to an RRSP also edged down very slightly, to 22.5 per cent in 2016 from 22.9 per cent in 2015, a trend Statistics Canada noted has played out gradually over the previous 16 years.

Read: Fewer than half of Canadians investing in RRSPs, TFSAs

Across Canada, the median contribution in 2016 was $3,000. While Nunavut had the lowest percentage (11.5 per cent) of tax filers contributing to an RRSP, it had the highest median contribution at $4,060. British Columbia and Yukon had the second-highest median contribution at $3,500, and Manitoba had the lowest at $2,350.

Breaking it down by metropolitan areas, the highest median RRSP contribution ($4,000) was in Vancouver, followed by Calgary ($3,950) and Toronto ($3,840). The lowest median RRSP contributions were in Belleville, Ont., ($2,240) and Winnipeg ($2,370).

Statistics Canada also found that contribution amounts were on the rise in New Brunswick (up 8.5 per cent) and Quebec (up six per cent), while the Northwest Territories (down 4.8 per cent) and Newfoundland and Labrador (down 4.7 per cent) saw the largest declines.

Read: Plan sponsors favouring group RRSPs, DPSPs over DC plans