Canada ranks among top three countries worldwide for youth financial literacy

News Release

For immediate release
May 24, 2017  
Ottawa, Ontario  

Canadian youth are among the world’s top-performing students in terms of financial literacy, according to a global report published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The financial literacy results of the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), a triennial worldwide survey measuring competencies among 15-year-olds, were released today.

Canadian students exceeded the OECD average in performing tasks associated with advanced levels of financial literacy. Compared to the OECD average of 78 percent, 87 percent of Canadian students performed tasks associated with at least the minimum level of financial literacy required to participate fully in modern society. Overall, Canada ranked second, tied with Belgium, out of all 15 countries and economies participating in the PISA financial literacy assessment.

Canadian youth are forming good saving and spending habits early in life, which correlates to positive behaviour in young adulthood and beyond. For instance, the majority of Canadian students reported saving money regularly.

The survey focused on knowledge and skills gained, for the most part, in schools. However, the results also indicate extracurricular factors that help strengthen financial literacy. Students with experience handling their own money matters—for example, those who work odd jobs or have their own bank account—demonstrated stronger financial literacy skills.

Notably, the PISA findings indicate that discussing money matters with parents is associated with higher financial literacy. Canadian students who did so once or twice a week scored highest.

Encouraging discussions between parents and their children is an important element of FCAC’s financial literacy efforts. Through its national strategy for financial literacy, FCAC works in collaboration with the provinces, the National Steering Committee on Financial Literacy, financial literacy networks and other public and private sector stakeholders to engage with Canadians in workplaces, schools, and community organizations at all stages of life.

FCAC funded the financial literacy assessment, which The Council of Ministers of Education of Canada (CMEC) administered in schools in the seven provinces that opted to participate.


“I am very pleased by Canada’s PISA results. They demonstrate the importance of learning about money matters at home, at school, and through hands-on experience—such as earning money and having a bank account. These factors set the foundation for our youth to become financially responsible adults.”

Jane Rooney, Financial Literacy Leader, Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

“The PISA results show that our teachers and parents are doing an excellent job of educating young people about money. This is very good news, because financial literacy should not be an afterthought in education—it’s vital to planning the future and establishing a young person’s autonomy.”

The Honourable Doug Currie, Chair of CMEC and Minister of Education, Early Learning and Culture for Prince Edward Island

“Preparing students with the knowledge and skills to make responsible informed decisions about personal finances, the local and global economy and the results of their choices as consumers is essential to student success and a stronger economy. That’s why our government has made it a priority since 2011 to provide Ontario’s students with a variety of opportunities to build their financial literacy skills. The Ontario curriculum will continue to be enhanced with embedded learning about financial literacy.” 

Mitzie Hunter, Ontario Minister of Education

Quick Facts

  • Canadian 15-year-old students achieved a mean score of 533 in financial literacy, 44 points above the OECD average.

  • On average, students with a bank account had higher financial literacy than students who did not have one. According to PISA, 78 percent of 15-year-old Canadian students held bank accounts. This is significantly higher that the OECD average of 56 percent.

  • Four out of five Canadian students said if they did not have enough money to buy something they really wanted, they would either save up to buy it, or would not buy it.

  • In October 2016, Canada ranked third (tied with Norway) internationally on overall levels of financial literacy, according to the OECD/INFE International Survey of Adult Financial Literacy Competencies.

  • Seven Canadian provinces participated in PISA’s Financial Literacy Assessment in 2015: British Columbia; Manitoba; Ontario; New Brunswick; Nova Scotia; Prince Edward Island; and Newfoundland and Labrador. Canada will again take part in 2018.

Associated Links


Lynne Santerre
Media Relations Officer
Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

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