- Over 99 per cent of Canadians have a bank account with a financial institution,1 where they can get advice to help them make informed financial decisions.
- To date, the CBA’s Your Money Students financial literacy seminar, supported by the banks, has taught over 245,000 Canadian students the basics of money management.
- Your Money Seniors, the CBA’s financial literacy seminar program, supported by the banks, provides Canadian seniors with information on cash management in retirement, tips on avoiding financial fraud, and information on how to prevent financial abuse.
The bottom line
Financial literacy is an essential life skill. Developing an understanding of money at a young age will help people better manage their money in the future, but people of all ages need to have the necessary tools to make informed financial decisions.
Banks are an active and essential part of the daily life of most Canadians – over 99 per cent of Canadians have an account with a financial institution -- and so millions turn to banks every day for services and advice to help them save, plan for retirement, start businesses and buy homes.
As a result, banks already provide their customers and potential customers with a wealth of educational material, information, tools and services to help them make the best financial choices. But they go beyond this. Banks in Canada are also leaders in supporting financial literacy activities and initiatives in communities across Canada.
How banks are helping
Canadians who make healthy, long-term financial decisions not only help to build their own financial security, they are also good for the strength of the banking system and the Canadian economy as a whole.
At the same time, a lack of knowledge and understanding of the risks and benefits of financial products and services can lead to problems for individuals, the proper functioning of the banking system and the broader economy.
And so, the banking industry has long recognized that it has a role to play in supporting and strengthening the financial literacy of Canadians, and banks support or offer many programs towards meeting this goal.
- Talk with Our Kids About Money Day – Organized by the Canadian Foundation for Economic Education and sponsored by Scotiabank, this program provides materials for both teachers and parents to serve as a catalyst for discussions about money.
- It All Adds Up – RBC has partnered with Free The Children to bring financial literacy into the classroom through a new package of lesson plans to help students learn how to earn, save, give and spend responsibly.
- The Canadian Centre for Financial Literacy (CCFL) – Funded by TD Bank Group, the Centre is dedicated to supporting financial literacy capacity across Canada and helps organizations serving low income Canadians with training and program support.
- Bank the Rest – This is a savings program that allows you to automatically round up purchases made using the Scotiabank debit card to the next multiple of $1 or $5. The difference between the purchase total and the rounded up amount is then transferred to a savings account, including Tax Free Savings Accounts.
- Junior Achievement Programs – These popular programs are offered in schools and teach money management skills as well as business and entrepreneurship education. Several banks in Canada are supporters of Junior Achievement including CIBC, RBC, TD Bank Group, HSBC Bank Canada, Scotiabank, and BMO Financial Group.
- Day on Bay – Sponsored by Scotiabank, the Day on Bay is a Junior Economic Club of Canada program where high school students from across Ontario experience Toronto's Financial District firsthand while learning the fundamentals of finance.
- Money Matters – Sponsored by TD Bank Group, Money Matters is a free financial literacy and education savings program for adult learners developed by ABC Life Literacy Canada.
- Clearfacts.ca – This financial literacy website, sponsored by National Bank, offers articles and information for families, home-owners, students, and business owners.
Bringing financial basics to the classroom
Banks recognize that providing young Canadians with information and tools to understand the importance of money management at an early age helps improve the financial literacy of Canadians as a whole.
In addition to the initiatives sponsored or led by the individual banks to promote financial literacy, the banks have also jointly supported a non-commercial in-class seminar since 1999 called Your Money Students. To date, banker volunteers have delivered more 8,000 seminars to more than 245,000 students across Canada, teaching them the basics of how to save, budget, protect and invest their money.
Improving the financial literacy of seniors
CBA’s Your Money Seniors program, developed in partnership with the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, provides seminars to seniors on the topics of:
- cash management in retirement
- avoiding financial fraud
- preventing financial abuse
Your Money Seniors is presented by bankers in the community volunteering their time and expertise and is available to seniors’ groups across the country.
Bank support for credit counselling
There are many community organizations delivering financial literacy to vulnerable groups across Canada and many of these programs are supported by banks and involve bankers. Not-for-profit credit counselling agencies provide help for individuals who are having difficulty repaying their debts. For example, banks provide volunteers for credit counselling boards and donate millions of dollars to support the work of credit counselling agencies in their communities.
Canada’s National Financial Literacy Strategy
The Federal Government has highlighted the importance of financial literacy. In 2014, it appointed Jane Rooney as Canada’s first Financial Literacy Leader. Ms. Rooney formed a National Steering Committee on Financial Literacy which included CBA President Terry Campbell, and the Committee was tasked with developing Canada’s first national financial literacy strategy.
After meeting with consumers across the country and the National Steering Committee, the Financial Literacy Leader released the National Strategy for Financial Literacy—Count me in, Canada in June of 2015. The strategy is a call to action for all Canadians to gain the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to make good financial decisions and the banking industry is supportive of the strategy’s recommendations.
1 World Bank, Global Findex Database 2014: http://ow.ly/SfkaL