Ontario $5 Million Financial Empowerment Investment

To benefit 50,000 Ontarians living on low incomes

TORONTO, Feb. 25, 2016 /CNW/ - National charity Prosper Canada welcomed the announcement today of a $5 million investment by the Ontario government to establish financial empowerment services for Ontarians living on low incomes.

In its 2016 Budget released today, the Ontario government committed to investing $1 million annually over the next five years to fund five Financial Empowerment Champion Organizations that will assist at least 50,000 Ontarians living in poverty to build their financial health. 

"This is extremely welcome news for Ontarians living on low incomes, many of whom face challenges participating in the financial mainstream and building their financial health and security," said Elizabeth Mulholland, Chief Executive Officer of Prosper Canada. Prosper Canada is the national charity that will select, train and support the five Financial Empowerment Champion Organizations, and help evaluate their impact. 

"We commend the Ontario government for its vision and leadership in putting the financial empowerment supports in place that struggling Ontario families need to build a stronger financial future," added Mulholland. "There is growing evidence that these supports, together, are highly effective at helping people with low incomes to move from day-to-day survival to real opportunity. We are delighted that the Ontario government is leading the way by investing in these supports as part of its poverty reduction efforts."

The Ontario government's investment will be matched by funds that Prosper Canada has raised from other sources. With these resources, Prosper Canada will work with Financial Empowerment Champion Organizations and other partners to deliver the following supports for Ontarians living in poverty:

  • 14,000 will receive financial literacy education
  • 7,000 will receive one-on-one financial coaching and problem-solving
  • 6,000 will be helped to open Registered  Education Savings Plans for their children and to obtain the Canada Learning Bond (up to $2,000 per child toward their future education)
  • 20,000 will be helped to boost their incomes through tax filing
  • 3,600 will be helped to access other income benefits they are eligible for but not receiving
  • 400 unbanked Ontarians will be helped to open a bank account
  • 5,000 will be helped to set up direct deposit to reduce their reliance on predatory cheque cashing services.

All of the above interventions, delivered appropriately in conjunction with other community support services, have been shown to improve the financial capability and outcomes (incomes, credit scores, savings and debt levels) of people living in poverty. This, in turn, enhances their access to proven routes out of poverty – education/training, employment, entrepreneurship, asset and home-ownership. Read Prosper Canada's Financial Empowerment Brief to learn more.

Financial Empowerment Champion Organizations will be non-profit organizations with the mandate, skills and leadership to implement and champion expansion of financial empowerment programs for people living on low incomes in their geographic region.  

Prosper Canada

Prosper Canada, is a national charity dedicated to expanding economic opportunity for Canadians living in poverty through program and policy innovation. Prosper Canada works with government, business and community partners to develop and promote financial policies, programs and resources that remove barriers and help more Canadians to prosper. To learn more about Prosper Canada, please visit www.prospercanada.org.

SOURCE Prosper Canada

For further information: Media contact: Julie McFayden, Manager, Marketing & Communications, Prosper Canada, 416-665-2828 ext. 231, jmcfayden@prospercanada.org


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