News Release Article from  Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

Archived - The Future of Financial Education

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FCAC-OECD Financial Literacy Conference report now available

Ottawa, January 18, 2012 — Financial literacy has become a key priority for global policymakers who now realize the profound impact that individual financial decisions can have, not just on a national level, but on a global scale, as well. In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, one thing has become very clear: low financial literacy is a barrier to economic growth, nationally and globally. This is one of the findings outlined in a report, The Future of Financial Education, released today by the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The report was written following an international financial literacy conference held in Toronto, Canada last May. It highlights the growing recognition, in Canada and internationally, of the importance of financial literacy. It also shows how the greater availability of resources, information and good practices is helping develop strategic priorities, research, evaluation and programs.

“Over the past decade, financial literacy has gained tremendous momentum in Canada and around the world. FCAC, with its network of key stakeholders at both the national and international level, has been able to play a vital part in developing and sustaining this impetus. The report highlights several studies, experiences, good practices and innovations that were conducted and developed in the field. It also summarizes many issues that remain to be tackled and questions to be answered by everyone working to promote financial literacy,” says FCAC Commissioner Ursula Menke. “As Canada moves forward with the implementation of its national strategy, FCAC will continue playing a leadership role, both nationally and internationally, in building and promoting a solid framework to help move the financial literacy agenda ahead.”

The conference, Partnering to turn financial literacy into action, was attended by 400 experts and practitioners working in the public, private and volunteer sectors around the world. Speakers at the conference, including academics, public servants, industry executives and other subject matter experts, shared good practices and tools for improving financial literacy and financial education programs.

The report covers the major themes discussed during the conference:

  • the development of national financial literacy strategies and the importance of collecting evidence to tailor these strategies
  • the need for effective delivery and evaluation of financial education programs
  • the question of access and availability of financial products and financial education programs
  • the relationship between financial education and behavioural economics/choice architecture, and
  • how consumer protection is a key component for building effective financial literacy programs and how it must be reinforced and integrated with other financial inclusion and financial education policies.

The Future of Financial Education, the report from the Conference, Partnering to turn financial literacy into action, is now available on the Conference's website at fcac.gc.ca.

About the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC)

The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) was established in 2001 by the Canadian government to strengthen oversight of consumer issues and expand consumer education in the financial sector. With educational materials and interactive tools, FCAC provides objective information about financial products and services to help Canadians increase their financial knowledge and confidence in managing their personal finances.  FCAC informs consumers about their rights and responsibilities when dealing with banks and federally regulated trust, loan and insurance companies. FCAC also makes sure that federally regulated financial institutions, payment card network operators and external complaints bodies comply with legislation and industry commitments intended to protect consumers.

About the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

The OECD is an intergovernmental organization of 81 member countries, whose core mission is to help governments work together towards a stronger, fairer and cleaner global economy. Through its network of about 250 specialized committees and working groups, the OECD provides a setting where governments compare policy experiences, seek answers to common problems, identify good practices, and co-ordinate domestic and international policies. In order to respond to OECD governments' growing concerns over adverse affects of low financial literacy levels, a comprehensive and high-level project on financial education was launched in 2003. In the aftermath of the financial crisis, the OECD has further expanded its project to include emerging economies with the creation in 2008 of the International Network on Financial Education (INFE), which includes 81 countries and more than 160 public institutions.

FCAC and the OECD would like to acknowledge the contribution of the Russian/World Bank/OECD Trust Fund as well as the support this Conference received from the following sponsors and collaborators: TD Bank Group, the CAAMP Foundation, the Canadian Bankers Association (CBA), the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA), Citibank, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), DundeeWealth, Genworth Financial, HSBC Bank, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), the Investor Education Fund (IEF), the Office of Superintendent of Bankruptcy Canada  (OSBC), the OmbudService for Life & Health Insurance (OHLI), RBC Royal Bank, Scotiabank, Sun Life Financial, The Exchange and Visa.

You can reach FCAC through the FCAC Consumer Services Centre by calling toll-free 1-866-461-3222 (TTY: 613-947-7771 or 1-866-914-6097) or by visiting our website: fcac.gc.ca.

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