FCAC releases Make Change that Counts: National Financial Literacy Strategy

From: Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

Ottawa, Ontario

Strengthening the financial literacy of Canadians is essential to protect financial consumers and central to the mandate of the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC). Today, FCAC released a renewed National Financial Literacy Strategy-a five-year plan to help Canadians build financial resilience.

The National Strategy builds on FCAC’s first national financial literacy strategy released in 2015. It reflects the economic impact of the pandemic on many Canadians, the diverse needs of consumers, especially the most vulnerable, and the evolving expectations of Canadians in an increasingly digital financial marketplace. Input from stakeholders across Canada, combined with new insights from research conducted by FCAC and external researchers, were foundational to the development of the strategy.

The National Strategy emphasizes the need for an evolution of the financial ecosystem to be more accessible, inclusive and effective for Canadians. It provides a framework to reduce barriers, catalyze action, and help consumers develop their skills, capacity, and behaviours, with the ultimate the goal of building financial resilience.

The National Strategy supports a vision for a Canada where everyone can build financial resilience in an increasingly digital world. It is a roadmap to guide stakeholders in the financial ecosystem – including FCAC, community organizations, the financial industry, governments and regulators, and other key players – in support of this goal.

The National Strategy identifies three areas of focus:

  1. Reducing barriers that prevent people from accessing, understanding, and using appropriate financial products, services, and information. Priorities include communicating in ways people understand, building and providing for diverse needs, and supporting increased digital access and literacy.
  2. Catalyzing action to help Canadians achieve positive financial outcomes and addressing biases and misunderstandings. Priorities include improving access to trustworthy and affordable financial help, using behavioural design to simplify financial decisions, and strengthening consumer protections.
  3. Helping Canadians develop the skills, capacity, and behaviours that are the consumer building blocks to financial resilience. These building blocks include the skills to navigate the financial marketplace, just in time knowledge, and managing expenses, debt, and savings.

Underpinning the National Financial Literacy Strategy is an evidence-based approach grounded in research, and collaboration across stakeholders in the financial ecosystem.

Over the coming months, FCAC will continue to engage with stakeholders to establish measures of success and identify initiatives that will advance the ultimate goal of the National Strategy-helping Canadians build financial resilience.

Let’s make change that counts.

Additional multimedia

Quotes

“As we emerge from the pandemic, the National Financial Literacy Strategy will generate positive change to enable Canadians to build greater financial resilience. The global pandemic has caused an economic shock affecting all Canadians, but has had a disproportionate impact on our most vulnerable populations, including women, youth, low-wage workers and BIPOC. Our government took quick and decisive action to support workers, families and businesses and made historic investments to secure an inclusive and robust recovery. The focus on financial resilience in the National Strategy will support the most vulnerable, and benefit all Canadians, as we come roaring back.”

– The Honourable Mona Fortier, the Minister of Middle Class Prosperity, and Associate Minister of Finance

“The renewal of the National Strategy marks an exciting time for everyone involved in strengthening Canadians’ financial literacy. We, at FCAC, are proud to be a leader in financial literacy and the National Financial Literacy Strategy is a bold step forward. FCAC looks forward to collaborating with organizations and individuals across the country as we work to reduce barriers and catalyze action to help Canadians build financial resilience. Together, we will make change that counts.”

– Judith Robertson, Commissioner, Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

Quick facts

  • Strengthening the financial literacy of Canadians is a key part of the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada’s mandate to protect financial consumers. The Agency also protects financial consumers by supervising the compliance of federally regulated entities, including banks, with their legal obligations, codes of conduct and public commitments.

  • In 2015, the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada launched Canada’s first National Strategy for Financial Literacy – Count me in, Canada. The strategy raised awareness of the importance of financial literacy and spurred wide-ranging efforts to strengthen the financial knowledge, skills and confidence of Canadians.

  • Financial literacy includes the skills and capacity to make informed financial decisions, as well as actions or behaviours that lead to positive financial outcomes. Financial literacy is considered an essential skill, like reading and writing.

  • Financial resilience is the ability to adapt or persevere through both predictable and unpredictable financial choices, difficulties, and shocks in life.

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