Partnerships are a critical part of FCAC's outreach strategy. We will continue to build on the partnerships we have already made, and pursue more, with a new, formalized and results-driven collaboration strategy aimed at helping us achieve our mandate.
If you know of a program that would benefit from FCAC materials, information or participation, please contact us at 866-461-FCAC (3222), or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Since our creation in 2001, FCAC has developed and maintained several partnerships with provincial and territorial governments and federal departments. They have expanded our reach, brought our materials and information to wider audiences, and allowed us to advance activities that are important to our partners, as well.
In this issue, you'll read about some successful partnerships and our drive to pursue more.
We have partnered with consumer groups and community-based organizations: for example, the Thornecliffe Neighbourhood Office near Toronto, which helps new Canadians settle into their new country. Monica Daga uses FCAC's online tools in her job, helping new Canadians integrate into the job market and understand the financial system. But she is also a client, as she had accumulated $25,000 in student debt and didn't know how to pay for it. "When you start a new job, you want to buy new clothes and you want to have a nice place to live, and you are spending money that you don't have." She learned to overcome her debt, and now passes her experience on to her clients. You can read and see more about this in our Success Stories.
One of FCAC's main goals is to teach financial skills to young people, and a critical financial skill is filling out an income tax return. In January 2010, FCAC inserted a flyer to increase awareness of their Web-based resource, The City: a financial life skills resource, into a mail-out sent by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to promote its Educators program.
Since 1970, educators have been able to use the learning materials in the Teaching Taxes program to introduce high school and post-secondary students to Canada's tax system and teach the skill of preparing a basic income tax and benefit return. CRA updates the program regularly and distributes the learning materials across the country.
The Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP) brings volunteers and community partners together with the CRA to assist Canadians who don't know how to complete their income tax and benefit return and cannot afford to pay for help.
The program helps ensure that all taxpayers have equal access to the tax system and the benefits they're entitled to. It was introduced in 1971 by the Department of National Revenue, and in 1988, the CRA also established a partnership with Revenu Québec to complete both federal and provincial returns.
The CRA provides training, promotional products and access to local coordinators, and donates surplus computers and free tax software to help volunteers prepare simple returns. Community organizations are responsible for following the program's policies, maintaining taxpayers' confidentiality, hosting the volunteers and managing the resources used to hold tax preparation clinics.
FCAC distributed approximately 16,000 posters and hand sanitizers to volunteers. The posters have tear-off tabs that include FCAC's contact information, so volunteers can refer their clients to FCAC to obtain information on financial products and services.
Great distances and a lack of resources have always made a special challenge of communicating effectively with Canada's remote communities. To deliver our materials and the message of the importance of financial literacy to people in remote, rural and northern communities, FCAC has partnered with the Rural Exhibits Program, which is funded by Public Works and Government Services Canada and managed by the Exhibits Unit at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.
For the past four years, we have provided it with publications including Cashing your Government of Canada Cheque for Free and Opening a Personal Bank Account, plus the rave card Smart Financial Decisions Start Here, and the tip sheets Making a Budget and Sticking to It, Beat that Debt and Protect Yourself against Fraud.
This partnership enriches the information the program brings to smaller communities, and allows the Agency to deliver its message to this audience very cost-effectively. Each month, the program sends a report on how many people the exhibit staff spoke to and how many of our publications were distributed.