Toronto, October 31, 2011 – Today marks the kick-off of Financial Literacy Month, an initiative developed by the Financial Literacy Action Group (FLAG), in collaboration with the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC), the Government of Canada's lead agency on financial literacy.
The Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, attended the kick-off event at the Central YMCA in downtown Toronto accompanied by James Rajotte, MP for Edmonton-Leduc and Chair of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance. Both officials were joined at the event by Donald Stewart, Chair of the Task Force on Financial Literacy; Brenda Leong, Chair of the British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC); Lucie Tedesco, Deputy Commissioner of the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC); and Laurie Campbell, Executive Director of Credit Canada and a member of FLAG.
"The issue of financial literacy means a great deal to me, and it certainly means a great deal to our Government," said Minister Flaherty. "Throughout our time in office, our Government has been focused on helping Canadian consumers to identify and take advantage of the best possible financial products and services for their respective needs and circumstances."
FLAG is a coalition of seven non-profit organizations. The group includes: ABC Life Literacy Canada; the Canadian Foundation for Economic Education (CFEE); Credit Canada; Financial Planning Standards Council (FPSC); the Investor Education Fund (IEF); Junior Achievement; and the Canadian Centre for Financial Literacy, a division of SEDI (Social and Enterprise Development Innovations).
"I commend the Minister for his foresight in appointing the Task Force and accepting its recommendations," said Mr. Stewart, "and I congratulate FLAG and its members which have made financial literacy their focus for many years and are now together, making Financial Literacy Month a time of learning and discovery for many more Canadians."
In addition to FLAG members and FCAC, several national, provincial, community-based and not-for-profit organizations will also participate in Financial Literacy Month to raise awareness of the need for financial literacy in Canada and to encourage Canadians to reinforce their financial knowledge. The Financial Literacy Month website lists the 200 activities that will be offered by about 75 different organizations across Canada in November 2011. Activities range from those for all Canadians, to those especially developed for people with specific needs, such as seniors, youth, students and teachers.
"I am very pleased that FCAC continues to play a proactive and leadership role in the coordination of national efforts on behalf of the federal government in the area of financial literacy," said Ms. Tedesco. "Given FCAC's dual mandate – to strengthen oversight of consumer issues and to expand consumer education in the financial sector - we view Financial Literacy Month as a key component not only within our own strategic priorities, but also those of the Government of Canada."
During the kick-off event, the BCSC released the results of the first comprehensive Canadian benchmark study on youth financial life skills. The objective of the study was to assess the effectiveness of secondary school financial education programs — specifically, financial literacy outcomes (knowledge, attitudes, awareness and behaviour) - and in preparing young Canadians as financial consumers. The information and analysis in this study will help educators and policymakers develop and deliver financial literacy programs for Canadian youth.
"The financial realities that we face as Canadians indicate that there is a lot at stake in educating young Canadians to be financially prudent," said Ms. Leong. "We need to build on the momentum created by the Task Force on Financial Literacy and become global leaders in graduating students who are not only well versed in Languages and Mathematics, but in personal financial management as well."
For more information on FLM, visit financialliteracymonth.ca.
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