The Task Force on Financial Literacy today released a summary of its nationwide public consultations with Canadians.

The document, entitled What We Heard, is a summary of the presentations, submissions and comments Canadians made to the Task Force during its public consultations in every Canadian province and territory, which wrapped up in May 2010.

“The Task Force met with hundreds of organizations and individual Canadians from every walk of life at its public sessions in every province and territory,” said Task Force Chair Donald A. Stewart. “We look forward to presenting our final report to the Minister, which will be based on our public consultations and also new and existing research, discussions with those involved on the ground and in reviewing Canadian and international best practices.

“We learned a great deal from Canadians, who responded in great numbers, contributing of their time, their expertise and their experience,” said L. Jacques Ménard, Task Force Vice-Chair. “We are determined to make our final recommendations to the Minister practical and achievable, leveraging the considerable work already being done by numerous stakeholders.”

The Task Force met face-to-face with 175 organizations and individuals in 14 communities across Canada, receiving over 300 submissions and hundreds more comments through its online forum.

Members of the Task Force are currently evaluating the information they have gathered and will submit final recommendations to the Minister by year-end.

What We Heard summarizes the principal themes, issues and suggestions brought forward by participants in the Task Force’s public consultations. Canadians addressed a broad range of issues, including:

  • Canadians want and need tools to assist them with budgeting, saving and debt repayment
  • Young people and older people alike require the knowledge and tools to manage their finances
  • The need for clear and simple financial documents from both the private and public sectors
  • The growing sophistication and reach of financial fraud
  • The need for coordination and collaboration among the many organizations currently delivering financial literacy programs and information
  • The need for improved monitoring and evaluation of financial literacy programs

Announced in the 2009 budget and formed in June 2009, the Task Force’s mandate is to make recommendations to the Minister of Finance on a national strategy to improve Financial Literacy in Canada. In February 2010, the Task Force published a consultation document to help guide a national conversation with Canadians.