Speech by Commissioner Judith Robertson for the Launch of Financial Literacy Month


November 1, 2022 
Virtual event, Ottawa, Ontario

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Welcome to the launch of Financial Literacy Month. 

We are excited to be hosting this national event with participation from our partners and stakeholders across the country. 

I am speaking to you from the National Capital Region, and it is my pleasure to acknowledge that this is the traditional, unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishnaabeg People. 

I also respectfully acknowledge the ancestral territory of all the First Nations people, Inuit and Métis with whom we share this land.

As most of you know, FCAC’s mandate is to protect consumers of financial products and services. 

We do this by supervising federally regulated institutions and by strengthening the financial literacy of Canadians. 

Financial Literacy Month is a prime example of this important work.  

This month-long campaign brings together organizations and individuals from across the country that share a commitment to advancing financial literacy in Canada. 

And like all of our most important financial literacy initiatives, your strong support and engagement are the main reason for its success.

The National Financial Literacy Strategy we launched last year is another example of us working in concert toward our common goal.

The National Strategy introduced the idea that everyone in the financial ecosystem shares responsibility for helping Canadians achieve positive financial outcomes.  

Your enthusiastic support of the National Strategy has been incredibly gratifying and motivating.  Thank you.

We are the ecosystem – each of us. 

We represent community groups, the financial industry, government, regulators, researchers and more. 

Together, we shape and influence the environment in which consumers make financial choices, and together we will make that environment better for Canadians. 

The theme for this year’s Financial Literacy Month is “Managing Money in a Changing World.”

We know that Canadians are adapting to many changes and are facing many challenges in this uncertain environment.

Throughout the month, FCAC will advance the National Strategy’s vision of building financial resilience, with a particular focus this year on managing debt.

Managing debt is one of the key consumer building blocks identified in the National Strategy that has been proven to lead to financial resilience.

In a few minutes, you will hear from Dr. Supriya Syal, FCAC’s Deputy Commissioner, about the launch of a Measurement Plan for the National Strategy.  

This is an important initiative that will guide the ecosystem as we monitor our collective progress in achieving the goals of the National Strategy. 

But first, I have the privilege of introducing our guest speaker, Tiff Macklem, the Governor of the Bank of Canada who will share his insights on the broader economic environment and the importance of helping Canadians understand the economy and their finances, particularly in these complex and changing times.

Governor Macklem speaks

Governor Macklem has certainly given us deeper insight into the state of the economy and what it means for Canadians.

I’ll pick up on Governor Macklem’s invitation for us all to collaborate more effectively, and why that matters. 

Our area of focus for Financial Literacy Month—managing debt—addresses both individual Canadians and the financial ecosystem in which they operate. 

The high level of household debt is a well-known problem in Canada that has developed over many years.  

A combination of low interest rates, greater access to credit and economic issues exacerbated by the pandemic, has resulted in Canadian households being among the most highly indebted in the world.  

Given this context, and the current economic environment, we—the ecosystem—must find new and better ways to help Canadians achieve positive financial outcomes. 

FCAC’s National Financial Literacy Strategy provides a roadmap.  

It calls for us to work together, to build a more inclusive, accessible, effective financial ecosystem for all Canadians.

This is a shared responsibility that requires collective action. 

Real change will come only when we combine our expertise, experience, and efforts.

The National Strategy sets out the priorities for barriers that we must reduce, and actions we must take, to support positive financial outcomes for consumers. 

Since the National Strategy was launched, you have demonstrated your commitment to this new approach and have devoted countless hours as volunteers to the cause.

Let’s build on that great work, and take the actions we know will lead to better financial outcomes for Canadians. 

Together, we can make change that counts.  

But how will we know if we are making progress?

To answer that question, I will now hand you over to Dr. Supriya Syal to introduce the FCAC Measurement Plan. 

But first, I’d like to offer one last thank you to everyone who helped us develop the Measurement Plan over the past year. 

Your expertise and insights were very important to us, and thank you for sharing them so generously.

And now, over to you, Supriya!

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