FCAC releases Progress Report on Canada’s National Research Plan on Financial Literacy 2016-2018 

News release

April 26, 2018
Ottawa, ON

The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) today released the Progress Report on Canada’s National Research Plan on Financial Literacy 2016-2018. The purpose of this report is to share important findings with financial literacy practitioners and researchers in order to help advance collective efforts to improve the financial well-being of Canadians. The report includes research findings about the importance of financial confidence as a complement to financial knowledge; ways of applying insights from behavioural economics to enhance financial literacy interventions; and efforts to develop culturally-relevant financial literacy resources for Indigenous Canadians as well as many other important findings. 

This report is the culmination of the leadership role played by FCAC in advancing evidence-based research on financial literacy. This effort was preceded by the release of Canada’s National Research Plan on Financial Literacy 2016-2018, and the formation of the National Research Sub-Committee, whose members spearheaded the projects outlined here. 

Some key findings

  • Canada ranks third globally on financial knowledge, attitudes and behaviour. Eighty-five percent of Canadians rate their financial knowledge as average or above, however, only 61 percent are able to answer five of seven (70 percent) of financial knowledge questions correctly. 
  • Money is the main source of stress for many Canadians. More than half of Canadian adults are interested in accessing financial education through their workplace. The most highly-sought programs are those that teach about how to plan and how to save. 
  • Indigenous Peoples face unique barriers to their financial well-being. These barriers need to be addressed in the design, delivery and measurement of financial literacy interventions. 
  • Financial knowledge on its own is not enough to lead to financially desirable behaviours. Financial confidence is a key complementary factor that contributes to financial behaviours and financial well-being.
  • It is important for students to learn to manage money early in life. For example, students that have bank accounts and students who discuss money matters with their parents once or twice a week score better on a financial literacy assessment compared to their peers who do not. 
  • Targeted financial literacy interventions delivered through a mobile application increases knowledge and confidence related to budgeting among non-budgeters. These interventions also enable non-budgeters to begin budgeting. 


“This report shines a light on the foundational and exceptional work of FCAC’s Research Sub-Committee to advance the collective base of evidence for financial literacy in Canada. This formidable body of work will help set the direction of future research. The report also details the concrete applications these findings can have for both practitioners and researchers as they develop new financial literacy interventions. As such, it is a unique blueprint for progress in financial literacy going forward.”

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

Associated links


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Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

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