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Banks and Financial Literacy

Last modified: 20 November 2014

Banks are an active and essential part of the daily life of most Canadians – 96 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 geared to helping 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.

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 borrowers who are having difficulty repaying their debts, for example, and banks provide volunteers for credit counselling boards and donate millions of dollars to support the work of credit counselling agencies in their communities.They also support and participate in programs such as

  • Junior Achievement,
  • CFEE’s Talk with our Kids about Money Day,
  • Entrepreneurship: the Spirit of Adventure for young entrepreneurs,
  • Free the Children’s It All Adds Up, and many others including
  • Prosper Canada and ABC Life Literacy.

Bringing Financial Basics to the Classroom

Your Money StudentsBanks also 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 support a non-commercial in-class seminar since 1999 called Your Money Students. To date, bank volunteers have delivered more 7500 seminars to more than 225,000 students across Canada. More information about the Your Money Students Program can be found here.

Additional CBA Efforts for Youth

The Parliamentary Internship Programme (PIP) has received funding and support from the CBA. The PIP is a non-partisan initiative that gives young Canadians an opportunity to work on Parliament Hill with both Government and Opposition Members of Parliament. Many young Canadians have benefitted from the Programme, with many going on to senior positions in the academic, public and private spheres.

Improving the Financial Literacy of Seniors

Your Money Seniors

In the fall of 2014 the CBA launched a new national financial literacy program for seniors. Modelled on the CBA’s highly successful Your Money Students program, this new seminar program is available in French and English, free of charge, to seniors’ groups across the country.

Your Money Seniors is presented by bankers in the community volunteering their time and expertise and was developed in partnership with the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC).

A National Strategy on Financial Literacy

The Federal Government has highlighted the importance of financial literacy beginning with the creation, in 2009, of the Task Force on Financial Literacy. The CBA made a submission to the Task Force as part of its consultations and strongly supported many of the recommendations the Task Force delivered in 2011.

In 2014, the Federal Government appointed Jane Rooney as Canada’s first Financial Literacy Leader. The CBA supports her mandate to develop Canada’s first National Financial Literacy Strategy and has participated in the multiple consultations to develop this important strategy. The CBA’s President, Terry Campbell, sits on the National Steering Committee that will be charged with implementing the Strategy once it is released in March 2015.