Remarks for Jane Rooney: Announcement of collaboration on financial literacy pilot for Indigenous Peoples


October 1, 2018
Ottawa, ON

(check against delivery)

Good morning everyone. Miigwetch!

Thank you for being here today. I would like to begin by acknowledging that the land on which we gather is the traditional unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishnaabeg People.

And a special thank you to you, Brent, for joining us here today, and for making this project possible. Thank you to the Right Honorable Paul Martin, for joining us, and to Simon Brascoupe for emceeing this event.

I’m so excited to be a part of today’s announcement, because it represents a major milestone for the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, where I work, but it’s also consistent with the Government’s commitment to advancing reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples. My mandate is to strengthen the financial literacy of all Canadians. My team and I do this through building knowledge, skills and confidence to help people make the best financial decisions for themselves. We also do this by coordinating and collaborating our efforts with those of organizations from all sectors, and from across the country.

When we undertook nation-wide consultations that led to the launch of the National Strategy for Financial Literacy, we learned that for any initiative to be successful, it must be designed in collaboration with the population it serves. 

During our consultations, Indigenous Peoples indicated that financial education is a priority, and that it complements other training programs that exist such as pre-employment and essential skills training. 

At the same time, we know from our research and consultations that the financial literacy needs vary greatly across communities and across the country. Clearly, there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

When I asked my team to start compiling an inventory of existing financial literacy programs, we discovered there are several programs and initiatives across the country focused on financial literacy for Indigenous Peoples. But, as Brent has described, there was a gap when it came to comprehensive long-term programs for adults. We also heard from stakeholders that adding a financial literacy component to existing education programs, such as those offered at Seven Generations Education institute, could better meet the needs of adult learners. 

Those findings motivated me to organize a roundtable discussion last winter to bring together experts and discuss how we can address those needs. Together we agreed to create the Financial Literacy Working Group for Indigenous People to:

  • share information, 
  • collaborate to develop new programs and initiatives, and 
  • identify research priorities. 

I’m very pleased that our working group members are here today. Thank you for all that you do to help strengthen financial literacy!

One of the objectives of our working group is to undertake financial literacy initiatives that are community-driven, created for and with Indigenous Peoples. And that’s where today’s pilot project comes in.

The goal of this project is to develop, test and refine, a comprehensive, longer-term financial education program for adults. The partners—Seven Generations Education Institute, Martin Family Initiative, ABC Life Literacy and FCAC—are fine-tuning the curriculum, and we will test it in Seven Generations classrooms in Kenora, starting in early 2019.

Of course, the success of this initiative depends on our ability to listen to feedback from students and teachers, evaluate and measure our results, and alter the program accordingly. We hope to create a flexible program that can be adapted to a variety of needs. We know that flexibility will be key to the program’s success, and hopefully, its wider application in Indigenous communities and learning centres across Canada.

Thank you to our partners for collaborating with FCAC and to the members of our working group. Together, we will make a difference!

Thank you.

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