Issue No. 4
Mark your calendar now for the FCAC-OECD Conference on Financial Literacy
Mark your calendars now! The FCAC-OECD Conference on Financial Literacy will take place on May 26-27, 2011 at the Westin Harbour Castle in Toronto.
Financial Basics can now be ordered online
The 2011 Financial Fitness Challenge
Each year, the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) invites young Canadians to increase their financial knowledge by taking the Financial Fitness Challenge. The program is designed to encourage youth to improve their financial capabilities and money management skills. In 2011, the Challenge will take place from February 15 to April 15. For more information on the program and the prizes to be won, visit: www.financialfitnesschallenge.ca
As the year is coming to an end, so is the work of Canada's Task Force on Financial Literacy, which will be presenting its recommendations to the Minister of Finance by the end of the month. I am sure you'll agree with me when I say that this is an exciting period for all of us involved in advancing the financial literacy agenda in Canada. As we progress toward enhancing our national strategy, the need to continue to work together — to build strong and efficient partnerships — becomes greater than ever if we want to succeed in raising financial literacy levels.
With the work of the Task Force, the financial literacy agenda has gained momentum across the country. FCAC is pleased to play a key role in keeping this momentum going by hosting, in partnership with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Canada's third financial literacy conference in May 2011. The conference will enable leaders from the public, private and voluntary sectors from Canada and around the world, to come together to share ideas and combine forces to improve financial literacy levels. I invite you to read the article below, under "News from FCAC," for more details.
I would like to take this opportunity to provide an update on FCAC's financial literacy workshop, called Financial Basics, which was developed in partnership with The Investor Education Fund with the collaboration of newspaper columnist Ellen Roseman. This one-day workshop is designed to teach financial skills to young adults and covers the basics of saving, credit, budgeting and financial planning. To date, the workshop has been delivered with great success to over 1,000 participants at the Ryerson University and George Brown College in Toronto.
I'm also pleased to announce that all of the materials required to deliver a Financial Basics workshop can now be ordered online by interested post-secondary educational institutions, community organizations and individuals looking to share this knowledge and build financial capability within their network. The workshop delivery kit is available in both English and French, and includes the following free resources: a presenter's manual, a participant's handbook, presentation slides, workshop evaluation forms and promotional artwork. For more information, visit www.themoneybelt.gc.ca.
Again, thank you for reading FCAC's newsletter and I hope that many of you will be able to join us at the FCAC-OECD Conference on financial literacy from May 26 to 27, 2011 in Toronto.
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.
If you would like to share a financial literacy success story with FCAC, please contact Martine Bélanger: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) invite you to Partnering to Turn Financial Literacy into Action, an important conference on financial literacy that will take place from May 26 to 27, 2011, at the Westin Harbour Castle in Toronto.
This conference will bring together an extraordinary line-up of national and international representatives with expertise in several aspects of financial literacy to help us:
Take part in this important call to action where leaders from the public, private and voluntary sectors will come together to discuss how we can help individuals improve their financial knowledge and how they manage their personal finances.
Reserve these dates now:
May 26-27, 2011
The Westin Harbour Castle, Toronto
For more information, visit FCAC's website: www.fcac-acfc.gc.ca/fcac-oecdconferenc.
GDP - Measuring the human side of the Canadian economic crisis is a social documentary designed entirely for the Web, produced by the National Film Board (NFB). Its goal is to document the personal stories of Canadians who have been affected by the economic crisis over the past few years. Over a period of one year, two dozen experienced directors and photographers from across Canada agreed to put their creativity and sensibilities to work in a unique and ambitious quest: documenting and measuring the human side of the crisis.
At the heart of this story are approximately 40 locations in Canada's most affected areas and their "agents of change": men and women of all ages, from all walks of life, from various communities and industries, who agreed to speak freely in front of the camera and share their new reality following the economic crisis.
One of them is Dani, a Calgary radio host who, once she realized she was paralyzed by debt, decided to set up a support group for women with financial problems. At their monthly meetings, group members share tips and ideas for taking charge of their financial situations. In the Debt Divas series, GDP focuses on the inventiveness and solidarity that emerged from this group of women who became friends through their desire to change their spending habits.
To view the Debt Divas series, or for more information on the GDP project, visit the NFB website at www.gdp.nfb.ca/stories.
In 2008, the Canadian Association of Family Resource Programs (FRP Canada), with funding from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, initiated a three-year project called FutureSave. This program trains family-support practitioners across Canada so that, in turn, they can encourage their clients to open a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) and apply to receive the Canada Learning Bond (CLB) and/or the Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG).
FRP Canada's goal for this project is to reach modest income families so they can take advantage of the CLB and CESG; learn some simple budgeting and savings ideas to help find that little bit extra to contribute; and obtain support through the entire process. To date, the program has trained 78 practitioners from over 50 family support programs across Canada. Together, these individuals have delivered 150 workshops to parents, highlighting the importance of post-secondary education and the kind of support they can access to help them start saving early for their children's education.
One of the participating community-based organizations in Oakville, Ontario, shared the following success story:
"Recently, a mother who has been coming to our family resource programs for a while went to the bank to set up an RESP for her three children, aged six and under. She had filled out all the forms ahead of time and had no problem. While she was there, she asked for a loan to pay the outstanding balance on her Visa card to lower her interest rate and get her back on top of her expenses. It was attending the FutureSave workshop that gave her the courage to ask for that loan."
To learn more about the FutureSave program, visit www.frp.ca or call Christine Colbert at 613-237-7667, ext 230.
In October 2010, the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) published the results of new national investor research. The findings showed that Canadian investors are twice as likely to believe they will have enough money to meet their retirement needs (62 per cent) as compared to their non-investing counterparts (31 per cent).
This is just one of the findings in the 2010 Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) Survey on Retirement and Investing released as part of Investor Education Month in October. Conducted by Ipsos Reid on behalf of the CSA, the online survey asked 2,318 Canadian adults about their financial readiness for retirement and behaviour towards investment opportunities.
The survey also found that 71 per cent of Canadian investors say they've done research on their last investment opportunity, either themselves (31 per cent) or through their financial adviser (40 per cent). Furthermore, when it comes to recommendations on high return investments from friends and family, most Canadians would do more research before investing.
CSA members will use the results of this survey to research, develop and enhance investor tools and resources based on the needs of Canadian investors. Investors can visit the CSA website to find information and tools about investing, choosing an adviser, and checking if an individual or company is registered with their local securities regulator. This information, along with the full report is available at www.securities-administrators.ca.
Following the release last June of a report commissioned by the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) that revealed a massive gap in Canadian students' understanding of financial aid, the FÉÉCUM, the student association at the Université de Moncton, decided to take action and set up a financial information service centre.
The goal of the National Bank Financial Management Centre is to offer students an environment where they will receive personalized help and information so that not only can they discover and better understand the various student loans and financial aid options available to them, but also learn how to take charge of their personal finances and avoid the debt trap spiral.
The Centre, which opened its doors in September, is run by a team of 15 student volunteers from the Faculty of Administration, specializing either in finance or accounting. These students were trained by the university's financial help service in the typical money problems students face, how to talk to their peers who are experiencing financial difficulties, how to help these students prepare a budget and to which other resources direct them when required.
The Centre will focus its activities on three main areas:
To that end, the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) has provided a variety of brochures and publications on a wide range of financial topics and products that the Centre then makes available to students.
At this time, the Centre offers its services to university students only, but the FÉÉCUM is hoping to eventually expand these services to the entire Moncton community. For more information about the FÉÉCUM's Financial Management Centre, visit www.feecum.ca.
All over the world, people responsible for implementing financial education projects and programs are asking themselves: "How do we know we are making a difference?" Those working closely with clients and participants will likely notice changes, but it is always a challenge for them to provide evidence of the size and nature of the change, say whether the change is long-term, and to describe the impact of such a change.
In order to address these challenges, the OECD International Network on Financial Education (INFE), which consists of members from 69 countries, has created a subgroup dedicated solely to the evaluation of financial education provision. The results of their collaboration include two evaluation guides. The first is high level, while the second is a detailed guide that introduces managers of financial education programs and initiatives to key concepts and considerations when designing and implementing evaluations.
The Detailed Guide provides an overview of evaluation – a process that allows programme and project managers to systematically measure change to demonstrate that they are making a difference. It introduces the main concepts and considerations for planning and undertaking evaluations that would be relevant for a wide range of financial education projects, programs, and initiatives. The Detailed Guide also offers a list of many quality resources available to organizations that wish to build their evaluation capacity.
For more information on OECD INFE'S Detailed Guide to Evaluating Financial Education Programs, contact Adele Atkinson, Policy Analyst, Financial Affairs Division, OECD: Adele.Atkinson@oecd.org.