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June 2009 - Issue No. 2


Created in 2008, SEDI’s latest innovation, the Canadian Centre for Financial Literacy (CCFL) brings together the private, public and voluntary sectors to expand opportunities for low-income Canadians to increase their financial literacy.  We are pleased to share the latest news on financial literacy in this second e-newsletter of the CCFL. 

Highlights from the Field

Northwest Band Social Workers Association

10 members of the Northwest Band Social Workers Association participated in a Centre train-the-trainer session in Terrace, British Columbia. The session, funded by Indian and Northern Affairs (INAC), aimed to increase the capacity of organizations in 9 reserves to deliver financial literacy supports to their clients. Training participants found the training valuable personally and professionally and believe that the modules on consumerism, debt, government benefits and budgeting would be the most relevant to the clients they serve.
Photo: Training participants in Terrace, BC with CCFL facilitators



Working Skills Centre

15 community organizations serving newcomers in Toronto have increased their capacity to provide financial literacy support as a result of a Centre training session. Working Skills Centre hosted the 20 participants in March from organizations such as ACCES Employment, CultureLink Settlement Services and Polycultural Immigrant & Community Services who were trained to use the Centre’s financial literacy curriculum within their organizations and were provided with various techniques for delivering the material.
Photo: Small group activity in workshop at Working Skills Centre



Causeway Employment Centre

Causeway Employment Centre in Ottawa hosted a train-the-trainer session with 12 people from 6 youth serving organizations in February. The training participants appreciated the interactive experience and enjoyed working in small groups on tasks to help strengthen their facilitation skills. It is expected that the majority of those trained will integrate the training into their programs and provide financial education to over 220 youth.
Photo: Training participants in Ottawa with CCFL staff




What is New

Follow Casey Cosgrove, Director of the Canadian Centre for Financial Literacy on Twitter

Join the Centre’s Facebook Group

Entrepreneurship & Financial Literacy for Newcomer Youth

The Centre is pleased to announce that ‘NewStart – Promoting entrepreneurship and financial literacy to newcomer youth in Ontario’ has been launched. The goal of the program is to raise newcomer youth and community organizations’ awareness of entrepreneurship and financial literacy as a means to achieving economic self-sufficiency.

NewStart, funded by the Ministry of Small Business & Consumer Services, will target 5 newcomer youth serving organizations across Ontario. These five sites will host community forums and training of trainer workshops to build capacity in local community organizations. The project will reach over 50 trainers who will provide training to 750 newcomer youth across Ontario. If your organization is interested in participating in the training, please complete this expression of interest form. We will help connect you with a host organization near you.

Financial Literacy Support for Young Parents

With the support of Genworth Financial Canada, the Centre has launched a project that aims to increase the financial well-being of young parents. There is growing concern that many young people lack financial knowledge and skills which increases their risk of living in poverty. Through this project, facilitator training sessions will be delivered in 3 communities across Canada serving low income young parents. Over 300 young parents will participate in money management training and with the support of staff will set a financial goal such as saving for their child’s future or to buy a home. To be considered to have the opportunity to participate in this project, please complete this expression of interest form.

Financial Literacy for Albertans

The province of Alberta has a strong interest in financial literacy and is investigating the possibility of developing a range of financial literacy products and services for Albertans.

Moving Forward with Financial Literacy

Canadian Conference on Financial Literacy Report highlights need to continue building innovative multi-sector partnerships to make financial literacy training available to all Canadians. To view report go to



Employer provides Financial Literacy tools

Visa and McDonald’s have announced a partnership to increase access to personal financial education for McDonald’s employees. Visa’s ‘Practical Money Skills for Life’ program has been tailored for use by over 500,000 McDonald’s employees in the United States. Employees are able to track expenses using a budgeting guide and have access to an instructional video and a web resource centre through

McDonald’s also provides information to employees on credit and debt issues as well as financial planning through its Employee Assistance Program.

Program helps Homeless Save and Stabilize

SEDI’s Independent Living Account (ILA) program was designed to help people move from the shelter system into the private rental market. The combination of matched savings incentives and financial literacy training has enabled 78% of program participants to open bank accounts and save over $49,000, with 82 participants moving onto independent living. (to find out more about the program, visit

‘We were thrilled to see the positive relationship between the action oriented savings, asset building and financial literacy supports’ says Barbara Gosse, Director of Asset Building at SEDI.

Through the project many participants reconnected with the mainstream banking system, increased their personal savings ability, money management knowledge and self-confidence. In addition, they were able to set goals and plan ahead with greater confidence and hope for their future.




Canada well represented at Chicago Summit

Four Canadians were invited to speak at the Financial Literacy and Education Summit in Chicago:

  • The Honorable James M. Flaherty, Minister of Finance;
  • Jane Rooney, Director of Financial Literacy, Financial Consumer Agency of Canada;
  • Doug Melville, Deputy Ombudsman, Ombudsman for Banking Services and Investments (OBSI); and,
  • Casey Cosgrove, Director of the Canadian Center for Financial Literacy.

The Summit, hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and Visa Inc. on April 20th, brought international leaders together to discuss various approaches to financial education. Of special interest was the announcement that Visa would provide a free financial literacy program for all 35,000 City of Chicago municipal employees. To view the webcast, check out



Interview with a Facilitator

Myra Gillis

Myra Gillis loves her job. She has been working as a Facilitator in the ‘Solutions for Youth’ program at Causeway Work Centre in Ottawa for 2 years. Myra is committed to helping young people find meaningful work or return to school to follow their dreams.

‘Solutions for Youth’ is a pre-employment program that provides workshops on topics such as Goal Setting, Job Searching and Interview Techniques, Stress Management, Conflict Resolution and Self Esteem. Through her work, Myra has seen young people struggle with money management issues – cashing pay cheques through a payday lender and spending it all by the end of the day or using their whole pay cheque for one item, leaving no money for food or rent.

Myra is always looking for ways to better serve her clients and was thrilled to participate in the Centre’s financial literacy training. She has incorporated the material into ‘Solutions for Youth’ by adding new modules to her program. ‘I am so glad I took the training. It is wonderful to be able to give my clients unbiased information at their level and it has improved my knowledge as well! My group really related to the video. Usually, finance is a tedious topic but the video was a great doorway into the subject.’

The group exercise on savings - ‘finding the money’ – had a big impact on Myra’s clients. One young person first determined one third of his income was spent on his car and then realized he could not afford to pay rent as well as car payments. As a result, he changed his job search criteria and the timing of moving out of his parents’ home. Another client, after examining the items he most often purchases, was astounded to see how much money he spent on cigarettes. He is now trying to quit smoking.



Work with us

The Centre will be working with local organizations in more than 25 communities across Canada in the next six months who are interested in providing financial literacy supports to their clients. To be considered to have the opportunity to bring this to your community, please complete this expression of interest form.


To sign up for this e-newsletter or to unsubscribe, please send an e-mail to Melissa Choi at

Contact us

Canadian Centre for Financial Literacy
1110 Finch Avenue West, Suite 406
Toronto, Ontario
M3J 2T2
Tel: 416-665-2828
Fax: 416-665-1661