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Highlighting The Importance Of Financial Literacy For Canada’s Youth

17 July 2018

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Key Points

In Canada, most young people are not getting the financial literacy training they need and are ill-equipped to make their way in the modern financial world. We need to teach them how to earn, save, invest, spend, borrow, give, lend and generally manage money effectively.

Learning these basic economic principles will help our youth make better personal financial decisions and help them as citizens to understand and make better choices about critical issues facing the nation.

10 reasons why Canada’s Youth Has Poor Financial Literacy

This can be linked to financial literacy rarely being taught in the home or schools: 

Doing more to raise awareness

Recognizing the need to strengthen financial literacy for Canadians, the federal government began discussing new initiatives in 2005 and in 2007, the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada’s (FCAC) mandate was expanded to include financial literacy and develop financial literacy for youth. A National Task Force on Financial Literacy was also created through the 2009 federal budget and the FCAC now has a $3 million annual budget.

A public awareness campaign for greater financial literacy, including the establishment of each November as Financial Literacy Month in Canada and a National Steering Committee on Financial Literacy being created in 2014 to promote a national strategy and the coordination of financial literacy programs.

Financial literacy information and programs are being offered through private and non-profit organizations such as the Financial Literacy Action Group (FLAG), which is a major coalition made up of several non-profit organizations that teach financial skills.

One of these organizations, Junior Achievement Worldwide, is the largest non-profit organization in the world that is dedicated to educating young people about business, economics, and entrepreneurship. This is achieved through volunteers who visit the classroom, host learning forums, or provide information for new business startups.

Since 2013, the Canadian Foundation for Economic Education has also organized an annual “Talk With Our Kids About Money Day,” which is funded by BMO Financial Group.

On the right track, but still much more to do

While many programs are available, financial literacy efforts are currently somewhat disjointed and the provincial governments have not altered the curriculum to make financial education a requirement. Any literary topics are at the teacher’s discretion, but to help them, the FCAC website established a resource database of financial literacy programs in 2014. 

Canada’s efforts in improving financial literacy for all citizens, including young people, are still in its beginning stages through the FCAC – perhaps we should look to the U.K as a model. Since September 2014, U.K. students learn about the functions and uses of money, the importance of personal budgeting, interest, money management and a range of financial products and services, from the ages of 11-14. At ages 14-16, they learn about wages, taxes, credit, debt, financial risk and a range of financial products and services.

Need help with your own financial situation? Call Harris & Partners

At Harris & Partners, Trustee in Bankruptcy for over 50 years, we assist Canadians needing help with credit counselling and debt solutions. We subscribe to the view that if we help our youth today then we’ll avert greater need for consumer proposals and bankruptcy in the future. If you need more information, contact our licensed insolvency trustees at Harris & Partners in Toronto or one of our nine other Ontario offices. Our head office is located in Markham.