Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

April 11, 2006 13:19 ET

FCAC: Report Highlights Need for Increased Financial Capability in Canada, Government and Private Sector Working Together to Find Solutions

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - April 11, 2006) - According to Why Financial Capability Matters, a report on the symposium Canadians and Their Money, oftentimes Canadians may not be well prepared for financial decision-making. The symposium, organized by the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC), Social and Enterprise Development Innovations (SEDI) and the Government of Canada's Policy Research Initiative (PRI), was held last June to study the issue of financial capability and to determine what can be done to improve the situation in Canada.

Financial capability begins with an understanding of basic finances combined with the ability to apply that knowledge to make sound financial decisions. Faced with mounting debts, smaller savings, ongoing basic literacy and numeracy challenges, and the growth of payday loan businesses and pawnshops, the evidence points to the need for increased financial capability in Canada.

Canadians and Their Money was the first symposium of its kind in this field, and brought together more than 150 senior experts from government, the private sector and community representatives from Canada, the United States and Europe to learn about existing research, policy and practice in the area of financial capability.

Research presented at the symposium confirmed that financial capability is gaining ground as a relevant and important field of study, both in Canada and abroad. Consumers around the world are struggling to make sense of increasingly complex financial information and make sound financial decisions - and many are failing to do so effectively.

"We expect people to make informed decisions about their finances, but we offer little in the way of financial education and support," said Peter Nares, Founding Executive Director of SEDI, a national non-profit organization that develops innovations in policy and programs to help low-income Canadians become more self-sufficient.

Bill Knight, Commissioner of FCAC, a federal government agency mandated to protect and inform financial consumers, adds: "Improving financial capability will help Canadians develop the skills and confidence to be aware of financial opportunities, know where to go for help, make informed choices and take effective action to improve their financial well-being."

The report Why Financial Capability Matters makes several key recommendations for future action to improve financial capabilities, including a national research agenda, an exploration of ways to improve and coordinate public policy around financial capability, a more active role for the private sector and an increased emphasis on the role for the community sector in serving vulnerable groups.

To obtain or to view a full copy of the report, please visit www.policyresearch.gc.ca or contact Marissa Martin at: (613) 947-1437.

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