Canada's Task Force on Financial Literacy today made public its report to the federal Minister of Finance, recommending urgent action on a national strategy to strengthen Canadians' financial literacy.
"Financial literacy is critical to the prosperity of Canadians and the nation," said Task Force Chair Donald A. Stewart. "Increasing the knowledge, skills and confidence of Canadians to make responsible financial decisions will help them meet their personal goals, enhance their quality of life and make Canada more competitive."
The Task Force's recommended plan of action reflects the views and priorities of Canadians. It is concrete, practical and affordable, and falls into five priority areas: shared responsibility, leadership and collaboration, lifelong learning, delivery and promotion and accountability. The 30 comprehensive recommendations are tailored to meet the diverse needs of Canadians by enhancing formal education, integrating with federal government programs, creating a single-source website, delivering clear communications and building awareness. Ongoing evaluation will ensure accountability.
"Achieving real progress will require concerted and cooperative efforts among all stakeholders: from individual Canadians to governments at all levels, from a small non-profit helping new Canadians flourish to financial services providers and businesses throughout the economy," said Task Force Vice-Chair L. Jacques Menard. "This plan builds on financial literacy work already underway by many groups and individuals."
The Task Force developed the strategy through frequent face-to-face deliberations and regular teleconferences. In addition to new in-depth Canadian research and a review of global best practices, Task Force members published a comprehensive consultation document and held a 12-week public consultation, travelling in small teams to every province and territory, ensuring that all views, values and experiences of Canadians were reflected in the recommendations. The Task Force met with over 170 individuals and organizations and received more than 300 submissions.
The final report can be found at http://www.financialliteracyincanada.com
In the 2009 budget, the federal Minister of Finance announced his intention to establish a national task force dedicated to the issue of financial literacy. The Task Force would provide advice and recommendations to the Minister of Finance on a national strategy to strengthen the financial literacy of Canadians. Appointed in June 2009, the Task Force on Financial Literacy is comprised of 13 members, drawn from the business and education sectors, community organizations and academia.