TORONTO, Jan. 29 /CNW/ - "Financial literacy is an important life skill
that empowers consumers to make the best financial decisions in their
particular circumstances. While a number of initiatives are currently underway
to improve financial literacy for Canadians, it is time to better organize
efforts". Budget 2009.
This statement was one of the lower profile, but no less significant
items in yesterday's Federal 2009 budget. The government's commitment to work
with all sectors to develop a "cohesive national strategy on financial
literacy" is a critically important component of any long term economic
recovery plan for Canada.
Financial literacy is an issue that matters to all consumers of financial
services including lower-income Canadians. The role and impact of low
financial literacy levels among Canadians in the current economic crisis has
been overshadowed by larger financial concerns such as access to credit.
However, the inability of many consumers to make informed financial decisions
is a contributing factor to issues such as rising personal debt and personal
bankruptcies, increased use of fringe financial services and lower savings for
longer term goals such as saving for post secondary education, retirement and
specific assets such as homeownership and starting small businesses.
By having a national strategy for financial literacy we will equip
Canadians with the tools and the continuing supports they need to better
manage their income, savings, and investments. We will create a more
financially literate country which is an objective we must achieve to be truly
successful in our long term economic recovery efforts. With this initiative
Canada will join a growing list of countries including the United Kingdom, the
United States, Australia and New Zealand who have developed national
strategies to improve the financial literacy of their citizens.
"To create a national strategy, we need leadership, people, ideas, and a
mechanism", said Peter Nares, SEDI. "We applaud the Canadian government for
its leadership on this issue."
In September 2008, at the Canadian Conference on Financial Literacy, SEDI
called upon the federal government to develop a national strategy for
financial literacy and to develop the strategy through creating a
multi-sectoral task force. Following this, in November 2008, SEDI launched the
Canadian Centre for Financial Literacy, a first of its kind in Canada. This
innovation will result in partnerships with businesses, governments and
communities across Canada, and aims to increase the financial literacy of over
230,000 low income Canadians by 2013.
SEDI is a national non-profit organization that uses innovative
approaches to help low-income Canadians reach self-sufficiency. For over 20
years, SEDI has worked with more than 800 non-profit organizations across
Canada to deliver its programs. SEDI's expertise allows it to influence public
policy, opening the way for Canadians to enter the social and economic
mainstream. The organization's initiatives focus on three areas: financial
literacy, asset-building and entrepreneurship. For more information, visit
For further information:
For further information: Peter Nares, Founding Executive Director, SEDI,
Phone: (416) 665-2828 ext 229, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Casey Cosgrove,
Director, Canadian Centre for Financial Literacy, Phone: (416) 665-2828 ext
230, Email: email@example.com