Financial Literacy Newsletter - November 2018

From: Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

Invest in your financial well-being!

A word from the Leader

Welcome to the Financial Literacy Month (FLM) 2018 Edition of the Financial Literacy Newsletter! November marks the 8th annual Financial Literacy Month, and our theme this year is “Invest in Your Financial Well-being.” This is the time of year when we mobilize and work together with stakeholders to offer activities and to raise awareness of the importance of financial literacy.

I encourage you to check out the FLM 2018 webpage to find out more and get involved.  We will be updating this page regularly as the month progresses. You can also follow along with the themes. Our weekly sub-themes are as follows:

  • Week 1 (November 1 to 3) - Invest in your financial well-being
  • Week 2 (November 4 to 10) - Have a plan to pay off your debt
  • Week 3 (November 11 to 17) - Make informed decisions
  • Week 4 (November 18 to 24) - Start good habits early
  • Week 5 (November 25 to 30) - Take control of your finances

This edition of the newsletter has articles on the Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP), the Canada Disability Savings Grant and Bond, and the Little Black Book of Scams. There’s also an article about Canadians’ ongoing relationship with debt, and one about a program for high school teachers and students being run by the University of Waterloo.

If there’s something in this newsletter that you enjoy, please share it with your network, and remember to connect with us on social media via our Facebook and Twitter accounts – we’re also on YouTube, Instagram and LinkedIn.

As always, I encourage you to check out the various tools and resources that we have available on our website!

Jane Rooney
Financial Literacy Leader

If you’ve received this email from a friend and would like to subscribe to our e-mail list, click here.

What’s new

FCAC resources

FCAC is now on Instagram, follow us for tips to better manage your money!

Recent blog posts:

Mark your calendar:

  • This month is Financial Literacy Month 2018: This year’s theme is “Invest in your financial well-being” (contact us at for more information)
  • November 26 to 27: FCAC’s National Research Symposium in Toronto
  • November 26: release of research reports
  • Find events and activities the financial literacy community is offering across Canada in the Canadian Financial Literacy Database (or submit your own)

Invest in your financial well-being with a Registered Disability Savings Plan and the Canada Disability Savings Grant and Bond

Did you know that more than 177,000 Canadians have a Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP)? Since 2008, RDSPs have been helping Canadians with severe and prolonged disabilities and their families save for the future.

Financial Literacy Month focuses on activities and events aimed at helping all Canadians learn how to manage their personal finances successfully. If you have a disability, this month is an excellent opportunity to learn more about how the Government of Canada can help you make your money work for you and your future with an RDSP.

If you are part of the support network for a person with a severe and prolonged disability, this is a learning opportunity for you as well; you can learn how to help them or their legal guardian open an RDSP on their behalf to help enhance their long-term financial security.

The rules and the details

To become a beneficiary of a RDSP, you or the person you support, must:

  1. be a Canadian resident
  2. be eligible for the disability tax credit
  3. have a valid Social Insurance Number and
  4. be younger than 60 years old

With a RDSP, Canadians can get up to $3,500 per year from the Canada Disability Savings Grant, which is a matching grant that depends on the beneficiary's family income and personal contribution made to the plan. The lifetime maximum for grants is $70,000. For low to modest income Canadians, the Government pays up to $1,000 per year from the Canada Disability Savings Bond with a lifetime maximum of $20,000. No personal contributions to the RDSP are required to receive the bond.

Eligibility for the Government grant and/or bond ends by December 31st of the year in which a beneficiary turns 49; however, Canadians can invest up to $200,000 (not including government grant and bond) into a plan until the end of the calendar year that the beneficiary turns 59.

In addition to personal contributions, saving in a RDSP enables a beneficiary to receive money from the federal government—up to a lifetime maximum of $90,000 in grants and bonds. As of June 30, 2018, the Government of Canada has contributed a total of $2.89 billion in grants and bonds to RDSPs over the last decade.

Whether it is you or someone you are legally responsible for who has a disability, this November, make opening a RDSP the next chapter in your financial literacy. Government and personal funds invested in a RDSP can improve the quality of life for a person with a disability and have a significant positive impact on their future

For more information on RDSPs, and the Canada Disability Savings Grant or Bond, visit:

Get to know Canada’s first vertical bank note

Canada’s new $10 bank note will soon start to appear in cash transactions.

This is the first vertical note issued by the Bank of Canada. It will be rolled out gradually, starting at the end of November, and will circulate alongside the other polymer $10 bank notes already in circulation. 

Here’s what you need to know about the new $10 note.

It pays to check

As with Canada’s other polymer notes, the new $10 note has bold security features that ensure Canadians can use it with confidence. That’s why the Bank issues new notes – to stay ahead of counterfeiting threats and to keep pace with advances in technology.

But remember, bank notes are only secure if you check them. The security features on Canada’s vertical $10 note are quick and easy to check:

  • Feel the smooth, unique texture of the note. It’s made from a single piece of polymer with some transparent areas
  • Feel the raised ink on the front of the note, namely on the portrait, the word “Canada” and the large number ‘10’ at the bottom
  • Look at the detailed metallic images and symbols in and around the large transparent window
  • Look at the pattern in the eagle feather. Tilt the note to see the colour shift from gold to green
  • Flip the note to see the elements inside the large window repeated in the same colours and detail on the other side

Watch a video on the security features or explore the note’s security features online.

A human rights story

This bank note acknowledges the past and continuing efforts towards achieving rights and social justice for all Canadians. The front features a portrait of iconic Canadian Viola Desmond. She is the first Canadian woman to be featured on a regularly circulating bank note.

The back of the bank note carries Desmond’s story into the present with an image of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights—the first museum in the world solely dedicated to the evolution, celebration and future of human rights.

Learn more about the design of this bank note.  And keep an eye out for the new $10 starting later this month!

Follow the Bank on Twitter (@bankofcanada) for the latest news about Canadian bank notes.

The Bank of Canada Museum presents a new exhibition, A Noteworthy Woman, from November 30, 2018 to May 12, 2019. The exhibition explores the theme and imagery on Canada’s new $10 bank note and highlights the life and work of Viola Desmond, the first Canadian woman on a regular bank note.

Free Admission
Open 10:00 to 17:00
Tuesday through Sunday

Bank of Canada Museum
30 Bank Street, Ottawa, ON

Turn the tables on fraudsters

Protecting yourself against fraud doesn’t have to be difficult. It can be fun and instructive. The very first step is to know what you’re up against so you can recognize the red flags that signal a fraudster is at work.  

The Little Black Book of Scams will help you do just that. It’s a treasure trove of information on 12 of the most commons scams that target Canadians right now. You’ll learn about fake online pharmacies, false miracle cures, emergency scams and many more.

Emergency scams are those that target grandparents in order to prey on the love and concern they have for their grandchildren. In this type of scam you would typically receive a phone call from someone claiming to be your grandchild, saying they're in trouble and need money immediately. They might claim they were in a car accident, got into trouble with the police, or have difficulties returning home from a foreign country. The caller also swears you to secrecy, claiming they’re embarrassed and don't want other family members to find out what's happened. Scammers count on your desire to quickly help a loved one in need.

It is so easy to fall for this scam! But if you know about it, you can be more skeptical and protect yourself.

If you receive a call like this, take time to verify the story. Call the child's parents or friends to find out about his/her whereabouts and ask the caller questions that only your loved one would be able to answer.

Scammers make a living out of crafting these sophisticated traps. Take a few minutes to learn how to protect yourself.

Find advice about other common scams in the Little Black Book of Scams. Order your own free copy online.

Many Canadian workers in precarious financial situation

Although two-thirds of Canadians feel as though they are in a better financial position than a year ago, many still struggle with high levels of debt and still have a long way to go in the goal to achieve financial wellness. That’s according to the Canadian Payroll Association’s (CPA’s) tenth annual survey of employed Canadians, released this past September.

The survey, which queried more than 5,000 Canadian workers from across all sectors, revealed some startling findings. Despite some positive gains in overall household incomes and full time employment, some 44% of working Canadians report it would be difficult to meet their financial obligations if their pay cheque was delayed by even a single week.

Debt continues to be a major challenge for Canadians, with 40% indicating that they overwhelmed by their level of debt. This figure is up 5% from last year. What’s more, more than one-third of survey respondents say their debt load increased over the year (up to 34% from 31% the year previously).

Higher living expenses (27%) and unexpected expenses (20%) remain the top two reasons for increased spending, and most (96%) anticipate their cost of living will increase over the coming year.

Despite the long-term risks of undersaving, carrying high debt, and their perception of an improved financial picture, working Canadians are not waking up to the harsh realities of what could happen in a sudden shift of financial circumstances.

Significant changes, such as an economic downturn or an increase in interest rates by the Bank of Canada, could have a dramatic impact on workers ability to save, manage debt and plan for retirement. This severe risk continues to be bolstered by inaction on the part of Canadian workers — they are not taking advantage of the strong economy and improved financial conditions as an opportunity to alleviate their debt and take control of their financial situation.

There is also a surprising avoidance displayed when assessing respondents’ level of comfort discussing finances. Fully 47% indicate they would be uncomfortable talking about debt with a colleague or peer.

This challenging financial picture should also be a wakeup call for Canadian employers. Currently, 46% of employees say financial stress is impacting their workplace performance. This number could get much worse if employees are put under additional financial strain.

There are many steps that Canadians and employers can take to help improve their overall financial wellness, or that of their employees. The CPA offers an array of practical resources, including videos and guidelines, designed to help Canadians take stock of their financial situation, better understand their financial options and take steps towards improvement. Visit to access even more results from the CPA’s employee survey, as well as a host of great free resources to support financial wellness.

Financial Literacy in the Classroom: hacking financial literacy for students

The School of Accounting and Finance (SAF) at the University of Waterloo established their Financial Literacy in the Classroom and the Financial Literacy Competition (FLC) in 2012 to assist in educating and promoting financial responsibility among high school students.

The program – the brainchild of Professor Grant Russell (retired), who was then with the School of Accounting and Finance – began as a small-scale partnership with high school teachers of grade 9 and 10 classrooms in the Waterloo region. Developed in collaboration with Business Studies teachers within the Waterloo region and the Waterloo Catholic District School Board, the aim of the program is to offer students the opportunity to build confidence and competence in making financial decisions as they prepare for a healthy financial future.

The FLC:

  •  Provides an incentive for secondary school students to learn more about personal and business finance
  •  Assists secondary schools in delivering and integrating financial literacy education into the Ontario curriculum
  •  Fosters the interest of secondary school students in the disciplines of finance, accounting, and business and
  •  Creates a talented pool of secondary school students who will be confident in their financial security and well-being in dealing with an increasingly complex world of finance

Now in its fifth year, the program continues to grow, and the competition is now open to grade 9, 10, and 11 students enrolled in high schools across Canada. The competition schedule has also been increased to twice yearly, with one taking place in May and another in December to accommodate both fall and spring semesters. The next competition is taking place on December 5, 2018.

While the competition remains the heart of the program, resources on financial literacy are now available to everyone, not just competitors and they aim to expand these resources in the coming months. These open resources focus on financial topics in the areas of banking, investments, credit, income management and budgeting, economics, accounting, home ownership, post-secondary education financing and ethics and fraud awareness, and are available in two primary online formats:

  1. Quizzes and
  2. Workbooks

“We’re excited to see the Ontario curriculum building a financial literacy component into the Careers and Civics course for grade 10s,” says Tracy Hilpert, Director, Financial Literacy in the Classroom. “Up until now, the program has partnered primarily with business teachers, because of the obvious connection, but now, with the financial support of our sponsor, we are looking forward to building new connections in schools to help bring these resources and opportunities to more teachers and students than ever before.”

Interested in finding out more?  Visit Financial Literacy in the Classroom to start exploring the program resources (with no obligation to register for the competition!)

Questions about Financial Literacy in the Classroom and the Financial Literacy Competition can be directed to or visit the SAF website.

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: