Issue No. 2
The Financial Plus Asset Building Collaborative brings together several community-based organizations located in and around Edmonton that are dedicated to advancing financial literacy and asset building. The group organized the Financial Works Conference, which brought together leaders in the financial education, literacy and asset building movement from across Canada on October 19 and 20. For more information about this organization or on the conference, visit www.financial-plus.org.
FCAC Research Papers
As we progress towards the end of our 2009-2010 financial year, we are pleased to present the second edition of our financial literacy newsletter. The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada's newsletter aims to showcase financial literacy initiatives taking place across Canada in order to promote best practices and spark new initiatives or partnerships that will bring us closer to a more financially literate Canada.
In this edition, you will learn about current initiatives and exciting new ones, as well as interesting research studies and conferences. Our contributors are: Canada's Task Force on Financial Literacy, the Manitoba Securities Commission (MSC), the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA), the Canadian Bankers Association (CBA), the British Columbia Asset Building Collaborative (BCABC), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and our own Agency.
Since the publication of our first edition, we have been busy working on a number of projects and I'm pleased to be able to share our progress with you in the section below entitled News from FCAC.
In conclusion, I would like to invite you once again to share your work and success stories with us. You can contact Martine Bélanger at: firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you and, if we can, showcasing your programs or events in our next edition scheduled to be published in spring 2010.
If you would like to share a financial literacy success story with FCAC, please contact Martine Bélanger: email@example.com.
FCAC working on multiple fronts to advance financial literacy
For the past six months, FCAC has been busy working on several initiatives, notably the launch of a peer-based train-the-trainer program for youth; the design and delivery of a college workshop for young adults; the development of a set of clear language and presentation principles for the Agency; and the development of an evaluation framework for evaluating financial education programs in Canada.
Agency pilots a peer train-the-trainer program for The City in New Brunswick
In September 2008, FCAC and the British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC) launched The City: A Financial Life Skills Resource for use in secondary school curricula across Canada. The City is a free, easy-to-use, Web-based program that engages both teachers and students, while making learning about personal finances relevant and effective.
Over the past year, FCAC has been working hard with its various partners and with its 17 provincial and territorial teacher champions to promote the use of The City in high schools throughout the country. Since its launch, 10,000 students and 2,000 teachers have registered to use The City, and over 1,000 manuals have been distributed to teachers.
Simultaneously, the Agency has been busy putting together a peer-based train-the trainer project for high schools in New Brunswick. Why put forward such an initiative to promote The City? Because strategies that engage students directly, encourage involvement and aim to develop leadership skills, have proven to be very successful in the past. In addition, the training program will enable us to receive critical feedback from these first-hand users, which we will then use to improve The City.
To conduct this initiative, FCAC has retained the services of Partners For Youth Inc., a community partnership dedicated to assisting youth learn, grow, and develop a positive self-image, as well as gain the skills to make positive life choices. Together with New Brunswick school officials, this organization selected participants from two rural and two urban high schools (two French and two English) to take part in this special project.
The first group of grade 11 student trainers started the program in September. Once they complete their training and develop their own approach, they will deliver The City program the following year to the new grade 11 students in their school. Afterward, the first graduates from these partner schools will be asked to return and speak to the subsequent participants about their experiences with various aspects of managing their personal finances in relation to what they had learned in The City.
Financial Basics: Teaching our young adults
Last year, together with the Ontario Investor Education Fund, Toronto's George-Brown College and financial author Ellen Roseman, FCAC designed and piloted a series of financial education workshops called Financial Basics. These workshops were designed to teach financial skills to young adults aged 18 to 29 and focused on the basics of saving, credit, investing and financial planning. Over 700 people registered and participated in the 2008 winter, spring and fall sessions. Following the positive feedback we received from the participants, the Agency decided to pursue this initiative further with its partners by reviewing the learning material and offering a one-day workshop on different occasions at the George-Brown College in the winter of 2010. FCAC will also look to pilot this project with other colleges across the country.
FCAC develops a set of clear language and presentation principles
FCAC is committed to communicating with Canadians in an effective and efficient way. To help achieve this goal, the Agency has developed a set of clear language and presentation principles based on extensive research into clear language initiatives in Canada and around the world. The Agency will apply these principles to its educational tools and publications, so they will be easier to use and understand. FCAC's Clear Language and Presentation Research Paper 2009 is available on the Agency's Web site and we invite you to apply these principles in your own work since clear language information makes for better informed and more confident individuals.
Research and recommended best practices for evaluating financial education programs
As part of FCAC's work to develop a comprehensive financial literacy program, the Agency commissioned Caroline Cakebread, a Toronto-based writer and researcher, and editor of Canada's pre-eminent pension finance journal The Canadian Investment Review, to develop principles and a framework for evaluating financial literacy education programs.
Ms. Cakebread reviewed the framework proposed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) within a Canadian context. She also examined additional academic work and conducted interviews with key experts in the area of financial education in Canada and around the world. Is Financial Education in Canada Working? Research and recommended best practices for evaluating financial education programs proposes a reframed and modified version of the OECD framework and also makes a series of recommendations for steps FCAC can take to support the pursuit of sound evaluation best practices in Canada. The Agency will build upon this research to develop a broader framework to measure the effectiveness of financial literacy programs across Canada.
FCAC will continue to report on the progress of these initiatives and others in the next edition of its newsletter scheduled to be published next spring.
As many of you are no doubt aware, the Task Force was launched by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty in June, 2009, with a mandate to recommend a national strategy to strengthen the financial literacy of Canadians. I was very honoured to be asked to serve as Chair of this group, which brings together a dozen Canadians from a wide variety of backgrounds.
The Minister has given us until December, 2010, to develop our recommendations. Since June, we have been investigating the state of financial literacy initiatives both in Canada and abroad, and examining the wealth of existing research on the topic.
We have also begun reaching out to experts in the field, and will continue to do so over the next several months. We are now well into our preparations for the major consultations that we will be holding in the spring of 2010 in cities across Canada and online.
Over the last few months, as our picture of the issues and challenges around financial literacy has sharpened, we have also been working on a consultation document. This document will help to inform and focus the national conversation that we hope to start with Canadians, by bringing forward the main issues and questions about financial literacy that must be answered before our recommendations take shape. We expect to publish it in February, to give every interested person and group a chance to use it to prepare a submission to the Task Force.
I would like to take this opportunity to invite you all to participate in our consultations, either online or in person. We need to hear from experts in the field and from Canadians from every region and all walks of life, to ensure that our recommendations reflect the values and priorities of Canadians.
I encourage you to visit our website, www.financialliteracyincanada.com, and use the "Subscribe" function in the upper right corner to sign up for email alerts. Subscribers will be informed when our consultation document is available and alerted on all our news, such as the dates and cities for public consultations.
For our work to be a success, we will need your participation. I thank you in advance for your input.
Chair of the Task Force on Financial Literacy.
Manitoba Securities Commission's Make it Count program goes national
Talking about money management may be an uncomfortable topic, but children need to learn critical financial lessons. On the other hand, many parents don't feel confident in their ability to teach money management. Worse, many children as well as their parents view the topic as dry and, let's face it, not at all fun. Recognizing this challenge, the Manitoba Securities Commission (MSC) launched Make it Count: A Parent's Guide to Youth Money Management in January 2009.
The guide presents five straightforward sections that allow parents to quickly find the information they need to teach money concepts in an engaging as well as educational way. Major topics include: out and about, lessons for life, milestones, fun with friends, dining out, earning money, online safety, first cell phone, budgeting and recreational spending. Youth and mentor budget sheets and saver sheets to help make money management easier are also included in the guide.
The MSC distributed 10,000 copies to Manitobans between January and October of 2009. Based on the success of the program in Manitoba, the Canadian Securities Administrators has adapted the guide for nation-wide use. Since October 2009, the guide is available free of charge to Canadians. To obtain a copy, log on to www.makeitcountonline.ca.
Canadians don't put investing knowledge into practice: CSA Survey
In October 2009, the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) published the results of their latest national survey. The results showed that although Canadians express greater confidence and optimism, and believe that they are knowledgeable and responsible about investing, their behaviour indicates otherwise.
According to the 2009 CSA Investor Index, most Canadians (85 percent) believe that it is important to build their personal savings and investments. However, one-in-three (35 percent) do not have any savings or investments. Further, six-in-ten (60 percent) Canadians worry that they do not have enough savings to meet their financial needs.
Eighty percent of Canadians agree that it is their responsibility to acquire the skills they need to make sound investment decisions and 84 percent recognize the need for reliable unbiased information about investing. However, only 32 percent of Canadians have actually sought information about investing.
Young Canadians aged 18 to 34 are less confident than other age groups about making investment decisions (48 percent are very or somewhat confident compared to 56 percent on average) and are significantly less likely to know where to go for information about investing (67 percent compared to 75 percent on average).
A majority of parents (78 percent) agree that teaching children financial skills is among the most important things a parent can do for their child. Yet, only 46 percent of Canadian parents have taught their children about finances and investing, and only one in five (20 percent) consider a parent to be the most responsible for teaching young people about personal finances and investing (compared to 51 percent who consider a financial advisor to be most responsible).
These are just some of the findings of the Index. The study, conducted by Ipsos Reid on behalf of the CSA, asked more than 6,300 Canadians about their investment knowledge, their understanding of and experience with fraud, and their awareness of securities regulators. The CSA uses this research to develop new programs and enhance existing ones based on the needs of Canadian investors. For more information, please visit: www.securities-administrators.ca.
Canadian Banks and Financial Literacy
The banking industry's sustained work on financial literacy in Canada over the years has evolved into a broad set of projects. Educating Canadians starts with engaging them as consumers. While community branches have consistently acted as trusted sources of financial information, the Internet has allowed them to extend this role beyond branch walls. Today, individual bank websites offer resources for consumers to learn and stay informed.
Additionally, banks have commissioned public opinion polling and research studies, identifying financial topics in which Canadians lack sufficient knowledge. They have implemented social media initiatives, which have proven popular among youth. Scholarships and grants tied to financial education have helped many students fulfill their educational goals. Banks have also created programs, products and services especially for recent immigrants, facilitating their transition into life in Canada.
The Canadian Bankers Association, in partnership with the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, also offers YourMoney, a free, non-commercial financial literacy seminar for senior high school students. The presentation covers budgeting, saving, investing, using credit wisely and keeping money safe.
For more information on how banks are working to improve financial literacy in Canada, please visit www.yourmoney.cba.ca/banks_financial_literacy.
BC Asset Building Collaborative promotes strategies and ideas that invest in people
The British Columbia Asset Building Collaborative (BCABC) is comprised of individuals and organizations from across BC working to promote ideas and strategies that invest in people and contribute to a long-term solution to poverty. Asset building is a strength-based approach to poverty alleviation and community development. It emphasizes that all individuals have a range of assets, whether they live in poverty or not, and can build on those assets to make life better for themselves and their communities.
BCABC members help people build assets through a combination of personal support, connections to community services, financial literacy education, mentorship and a matched savings account called an Individual Development Account (IDA). The skills, confidence, wider networks and financial savings developed in the programs propel individuals forward toward a brighter future for themselves, their families and their communities.
Since 1999, BCABC member programs have worked with over 1,200 people and have seen $5.5 million invested into education, increasing employability, housing, small business start-ups and creating hope for the future.
The BCABC acts as a vehicle through which practitioners can share information, success stories, best practices and advocate for both safety net and asset building public policies to eliminate poverty in British Columbia. For more information on the BCABC and member programs, visit www.bcassetbuildng.ca.
The OECD-Brazilian International Conference set for December
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Comissão de Valores Mobiliários (CVM) have come together to host an international Conference on Financial Education. Set to take place on December 15 and 16, 2009, this event seeks to advance and elevate the dialogue on financial education in the international arena, particularly in Latin America, share experiences on best practices, and look at applied research.
This conference will discuss in particular:
Participants will include high-level officials, prominent researchers and practitioners in the field of financial education from governments, non-governmental organizations and for-profit entities from around the world.
This conference is by invitation only. Should you wish to receive an invitation, please contact Ms. Jennah Huxley by phone at: +33 1 45 24 85 55 or by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org.