Sunday, July 19, 2015

National Strategy for Financial Literacy – Count me in, Canada

The report on financial literacy has some goals and its own definition of success. So what are the goals and how will the government measure success. According to the report, this is what they will do, only time will tell if they are successful.

We welcome initiatives that address the strategy’s goals. Governments, private sector and non-profit organizations, as well as the financial services sector, should all consider how they can intensify efforts to contribute in the following ways:

Initiatives by goal
1. Manage money and debt wisely
Provide free and objective resources to help Canadians budget and manage finances.
Incorporate effective money management resources and training in programs and services offered to Canadians.
2. Plan and save for the future
Provide free and objective information about financial products and services to help Canadians better plan and save.
Develop innovative ways to inform and engage Canadians about savings vehicles and how to plan for their financial future.
Make it easier for people to find out if they are eligible for government benefits and, if so, how to access them to help people plan and save.
3. Prevent and protect against fraud and financial abuse
Share tools and resources that engage various groups of Canadians to learn about the risks of fraud and financial abuse and how to minimize them.
Identify areas of vulnerability for financial abuse and proactively share existing tools and resources. We will seek innovative ways to reach more Canadians with these materials.

Encourage Canadians to seek help if they feel they are victims of fraud. FCAC has information on its website related to fraud and what to do if you’re a victim. Leverage Fraud Prevention Month​ and World Elder Abuse Awareness Day to heighten awareness of how Canadians can protect themselves against these risks and leverage these efforts to reach Canadians year-round.​​​

How we’re measuring success
Improving financial literacy and the financial well-being of Canadians will take time. It will require a focused and sustained effort by organizations in the public, private and non-profit sectors. We are seeking long-term change, but the effort will be worth it.

What will success look like? In qualitative terms, a growing number of Canadians will be better informed and more confident in dealing with financial matters and making decisions that improve their financial well-being and keep our economy strong.

Progress on the strategy will be measured using a range of evaluation tools supported by research, for example, on effective methods of delivering initiatives to Canadians. The Canadian Financial Capability Survey, conducted every five years (next in 2019), has helped to identify goals and will be a key reference point for measuring change in Canadians’ financial literacy over time. Tracking, measurement and reporting mechanisms will be established to ensure individual programs are consistently evaluated and, if necessary, improved upon. Best practices will be shared.

The Financial Literacy Leader and the National Steering Committee will assess progress and get feedback by consulting with stakeholders and partners who provide tools and services, and from Canadians directly through surveys and feedback on the programs, tools and resources that they use. The Financial Literacy Leader will report on progress through FCAC’s Annual Report.

Canada will benchmark itself internationally. Canada will participate in the OECD’s 2015 international survey that will allow us to assess financial literacy levels among adults and compare results with those of participating countries. The level of financial literacy among Canada’s young people will also be measured through the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment​, which surveys 15-year-olds and provides a basis for measuring progress and identifying new areas of focus.

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