Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

Financial Consumer Agency of Canada
British Columbia Securities Commission

British Columbia Securities Commission

February 21, 2008 10:41 ET

The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada and the B.C. Securities Commission Bring Financial Life Skills Training to Canadians

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 21, 2008) - The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) and the British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC) today announced a partnership to develop a comprehensive, Web-based tool to help young Canadians acquire strong financial life skills. This new tool is modelled on BCSC's teaching resource The City: Financial Life Skills for Planning 10, currently used in high schools throughout British Columbia.

"There seems to be an emerging consensus that it is very important for young Canadians to become financially literate. Understanding basic concepts such as budgeting and savings, credit and debt, and financial planning will arm students with the tools they need to navigate the financial realities of adulthood," said FCAC Commissioner Ursula Menke.

BCSC first developed this resource for educators who teach Grade 10 students the Planning 10: Finances course, which is mandatory in British Columbia. The resource's innovative approach blends the use of fictional characters with real-life financial activities and decisions, which are organized in a hands-on, activity-based format. As each financial topic is introduced, students learn the concepts and information through eight "life stage characters", each of whom faces different financial circumstances.

Since introducing the resource in November 2004, BCSC has delivered copies to more than 1,400 teachers in all 60 of British Columbia's school districts.

"Our new partnership with FCAC will make our financial life skills program available to all Canadians, and give even more students an opportunity to achieve their life goals," adds Doug Hyndman, Chair, BCSC.

A recent survey of almost 6,000 adult Canadians, commissioned by the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA), found that fewer than two in 10 (or 17 percent) recall having taken courses in personal financial management in elementary school. Furthermore, one-quarter of adult Canadians do not have any savings for the future, and one in 20 have been victims of investment fraud.

"Many young Canadians leave high school with very weak financial skills and little knowledge of the financial realities they will face. As a result, they make costly mistakes with serious long-term consequences. We want to give them a tool that will help them manage their finances and avoid financial problems in the future," said FCAC Commissioner Menke.

FCAC will launch the new resource, in English and French, on the Agency's Web site in the fall of 2008.

FCAC ensures compliance with consumer protection laws, and monitors compliance with the codes of conduct and public commitments that apply to banks and federally incorporated trust, loan and insurance companies. FCAC also provides consumers with accurate, objective information about financial products and services, and informs Canadians of their rights and responsibilities when dealing with federally regulated financial institutions.

BCSC is the independent provincial government agency responsible for regulating trading in securities in British Columbia.

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