What are Canada savings bonds?
Canada Savings Bonds used to be a favourite savings tool for predictable, low-risk investing.
Unfortunately, they are no longer available to buy in Canada. In fact, all Canada Savings Bonds and Canada Premium Bonds reached maturity as of December 2021. As of late 2022, guaranteed investment certificates are a great alternative offering rates approaching 5%.
In this guide, we will cover everything you need to know about Canada Savings Bonds: rates, how they worked, how to redeem them, alternatives and much more.
Want to compare GICs for a safe, guaranteed investment? You can below:
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What is a Canada Savings Bond?
Savings bonds were savings securities issued by the Government of Canada from 1945 through 2017. The main advantage of bonds is that they are a form of investment that presents little risk for the purchasers.
There were 2 types of Canada savings bonds:
- Canada Savings Bonds (CSBs), and
- Canada Premium Bonds (CPBs)
Popular for many years, savings bonds had an interest rate that was set at the time of purchase. This rate often varied over time but was generally between 0.50 and 0.80%. You could purchase a savings bond for as little as $100.
Good to know
The Government of Canada decided to discontinue their savings bond program in November 2017 after finding that its popularity was waning and the costs of maintaining it were too high.
How do savings bonds work?
Bonds work as an I.O.U. between an investor and a borrower like a federal government, local government or a company. The borrower often issues them to fund a new project or to refinance debt. High-quality bonds such as those from the U.S. government, or the former bonds by the Government of Canada, generally have relatively low-interest rates because they are considered a guaranteed investment. Less certain bonds, such as those from some companies or less-stable governments offer higher interest rates in exchange for that higher risk.
Canada Savings Bonds had 9 main features:
- The minimum purchase amount of a Canada Savings Bond was $100.
- There were no fees to buy a savings bond.
- The term of a savings bond was three years
- The interest rate of the savings bond was usually set at the time of purchase
- The interest rate on the bond could not decrease over time, however, it could increase.
- Savings bonds could be held in certain registered accounts such as an RRSP, TFSA or RRIF.
- The employer could act as an intermediary between the purchaser and the Canadian government if it offered a payroll savings program.
- Canada Premium Bonds (CPBs) could be redeemed at any time. However, only the interest earned up to the anniversary date of the issue could be collected.
- Canada Savings Bonds (CSBs) have a lower interest rate than Canada Premium Bonds (CPBs).
|Features of Canada Savings Bonds||Details|
|Interest Rate||Regular or Compound|
|Savings Bond Investment Vehicles||TFSA, RRSP, RRIF|
|Savings Bond Term||3 years|
What will replace Canada Savings Bonds?
The Government of Canada does not currently offer a direct Canada Savings Bond replacement. With that being said there are now many safe tools for investment and savings available. For example, you can enjoy guaranteed payments with higher interest rates with GICs. See our investment guide to find a savings and investment mechanism that matches you!
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Alternatively, we recommend speaking directly with a financial advisor for personalized advice.
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Canada Savings Bonds: rates and returns
Generally, the interest rates on Canada Savings Bonds ranged from 0.50% to 0.80%.
There were 2 types of interest when you bought Canada Savings Bonds: regular interest bonds and compound interest bonds. Regular interest bonds allowed you to receive your interest every year on the anniversary date of your bond. Compound interest bonds are reinvested directly every year:
- Regular interest: annual payment of the savings bond
- Compound interest: compound interest allows you to earn higher interest each period without increasing the principal amount invested. You can use our compound interest calculator to do the math quickly.
Why choose a savings bond?
Savings bonds offered several advantages:
- low-risk savings
- an eligible investment in your registered accounts such as your TFSA or RRSP
- a guaranteed interest rate at the time of purchase.
- redeemable without penalty at any time
- no management or administration fees
- tax-advantaged savings: interest is tax-sheltered and you are eligible for a tax deduction.
What is the interest rate of Canada Savings Bond?
Here is a table listing the returns on fixed-term bonds based on the Canada Savings Bond rate. Note that all Canada Savings Bonds reached maturity in December 2021.
Good to know
Interest rates for other issuers of savings bonds depend on the financial rating of the issuer and the length of time of the bond.
Who are Canada Savings Bonds for?
Canada Savings Bonds were available to all residents of Canada. There is no distinction based on occupation, age or area of residence.
Canadian residents are still able to invest in other types of bonds and other investment vehicles. If you are interested in the safety of bonds a Guaranteed Investment Certificate can offer the same stability and similar interest rates.
Where can I buy Canada Savings Bonds?
Canada Premium Bonds (CPBs) could be purchased in several ways:
- At credit unions
- Through banks and financial institutions
- At investment companies
- Directly through Canada Savings Bonds organization
In many cases, you could buy Canada Savings Bonds directly from your employer through a Payroll Savings Program.
How do I buy Canada Savings Bonds?
Unfortunately, Canada Savings Bonds are no longer available. For guaranteed returns on your investments, GICs or savings accounts. However, we recommend speaking with a financial advisor, for the best ways for you to invest and save more.
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Should Canada Savings Bonds be put on sale again in the future, here is how they worked:
- You chose the amount of your investment: as mentioned above, the minimum amount for a savings bond is $100
- You chose between Canada Savings Bonds (CSBs) and Canada Premium Bonds (CPBs): although they shared some common features, CSBs and CPBs were not completely identical. The main difference was the cash-out. With CPBs, you could only collect the interest earned up to the anniversary date of the bond's inception. For CSBs, you only received interest earned up to the date of your redemption. This meant that Canada Savings Bonds offered more withdrawal flexibility than Canada Premium Bonds.
- You chose how and where to buy your bonds: Mutual funds and CSBs are not purchased in the same way. Make sure to be well-informed before you can consider buying your Canada Savings Bonds.
- Ask yourself: do I plan to invest my bonds in my RRSP, RRIF or TFSA?
- Opt to get your certificates: You have the option to redeem a certificate after purchasing a savings bond from a financial institution. You will not be able to do this if you purchase from an investment company or through an intermediary.
You can buy bonds through an online brokerage platform if you are a seasoned investor, through a robo-advisor for guided management, or by using a portfolio manager.
|Investment platform||Type of assets available||Average fees||Investment timeline||Recommended investor profile||Quote|
|Financial advisor||3%||Less than one year||Conservative|
|Robo-advisor||0.35%||From 1 to 3 years||Balanced|
|Brokerage platform||0.49%||Over 3 years||Aggressive|
How to redeem your Canada Savings Bonds?
As of the time of publication, you can still redeem your Canada Savings Bond funds online at any time. To do so, it is important to follow these steps:
- Log in to "CSB Online Services"
- Navigate to the "Cash Out" section
- Select the plan from which you wish to make a cash-out
- Select the amount to be cashed out; the minimum amount is $100
- Confirmation of the cash-out request
Likewise, you may cash out a savings bond at a financial institution. If you wish to redeem savings bonds through your financial institution, you will need to bring your certificate and identification. Funds can be obtained in cash or deposited into your bank account.
To cash in your Payroll Savings Bonds, you will need to access your account online at the Canada Savings Bonds website. You can also call for more information.
- 1-800-575-5151 (CSB Series S32-134, CPB Series P3-P89, issued 1977 or later)
- 1-800-665-8650 (CSB Series 1-31 issued 1946-1976, Government of Canada Market Issue Bonds, Dominion of Canada War Loans, Victory Loans and War Savings Certificates)
My Canada Savings Bond was lost or stolen:
If your Canada Savings Bond certificate is lost or stolen, you must report it in order to redeem or keep it. Here are the steps to follow:
- Contact the dedicated service: if your CSBs or CPBs are lost or stolen, you must call the Canada Savings Bonds Program customer service department. Note that you must provide several pieces of information: your client number, your address, the number of your certificates and the name of the owner on your certificate. Be careful, if you do not provide all this information, your request may be canceled or delayed.
- Fill out the bond form: The second step is to complete the form sent by the Canada Savings Bonds office. You will need to explain the circumstances of the loss or theft of your bonds and indicate the total value of your bonds. If your bonds have not matured, you will need to decide whether to keep them or cash them in.
- Signing the bond deed: You will then need to have the bond deed signed by all the owners of the bond certificate, all the legal representatives of those owners, and the parents if the owner is under the age of majority. Note that if your savings bonds have interest in excess of $3,500, you will need to have the signature notarized by a commissioner or notary public (lawyer, city clerk, mayor or justice of the peace).
- Pay the fee: The total amount of the fee depends on the value of your bonds. For a certificate with a value between $100 and $1,000, you will be required to pay $25. For a value between $1,001 and $3,500, the fee is $65, and 2% of the total value for bonds between $3,501 and $100,000.
- Mail the form: After following the above steps, it will be necessary to mail the form.
Note: if you find your Canada Savings Bond after submitting your recovery request you must notify the dedicated program.
How do I contact Canada Savings Bonds?
Here is a table listing the different email addresses and numbers to contact for your Canada Savings Bond:
|For holders of CSBs with certificates dating from 1977 or later.||1-800-575-5151||Canada Savings Bonds Program P.O. Box 2770, Station D Ottawa, Ontario K1P 1J7|
|For holders of CSBs with certificates dating from 1946 to 1976.||1-800-665-8650||Unclaimed Property Office 3rd Floor, East Tower 234 Wellington Street Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0G9|
What online services exist for Canada Savings Bonds?
You can take advantage of several CSB online services. You can cash out your bond, update your banking information, find out about your balance and plan activity, and view or print your statement. Of course, it is important to create a secure password to protect yourself.