2023 Building better financial futures challenge

The Building Better Financial Futures Challenge is a post-secondary student paper competition designed to promote the creation of actionable, evidence-based, solutions to current financial challenges faced by vulnerable communities.

The 2023 Building Better Financial Futures Challenge has now closed. The 2024 Building Better Financial Futures Challenge is now open for submissions. Competition details can be found at:

Student competition guidelines for the 2024 Building Better Financial Futures Challenge - Canada.ca.

Outcome: A top and runner-up paper were each selected from the undergraduate and graduate categories.

Selected Papers

Graduate Category

Top: Improving financial literacy education for Canadian youth in remote regions: Professional development and support for teachers

Author: Stephanie Dean

Affiliation: Faculty of Education & Social Work, Thompson Rivers University

Summary: Canadian youth who live in remote regions have less access to professional financial resources and support. The paper proposes a professional development program to train high-school teachers in remote regions on financial concepts, products, and services.

Runner-up: Measuring financial literacy to understand preparedness for retirement

Author: Ekaterina Kalantyrski

Affiliation: Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics, University of Guelph

Summary: Many Canadians are not investing enough for the kind of retirement that they would prefer. This paper proposes the development of a retirement-related financial literacy measure that will help to determine to what degree a consumer is prepared for their retirement.

Undergraduate Category

Top: Pedagogical solution to financial illiteracy in Canada: Increasing the accessibility of higher education

Authors: Hannah Muriel Robb Burrows & Floor Nusselder

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, Queen’s University

Summary: To reduce financial barriers that discourage individuals from accessing higher education, this paper proposes a module-based financial application program that strives to inform high school students about available financial aid and scholarships. Through the proposed program, students will learn the necessary financial literacy and application skills that may change intentions about enrolling in higher education (particularly for low-income individuals), in addition to benefits such as the importance of savings, ultimately having downstream effects that improve overall financial literacy rates.

Runner-up: 23% and counting, but not ‘one size fits all’: Helping Canada’s immigrants strengthen their financial knowledge

Author: Avneet Bhabra

Affiliation: Desautels Faculty of Management, McGill University

Summary: Newcomers to Canada make up 23% of the total population —a population that will continue to grow rapidly. To promote newcomer’s inclusion within the Canadian financial system, the paper proposes the integration of multilingual chatbots on banking websites (e.g., translating into the most common languages spoken by newcomers) as well as the adoption of a goals-based financial literacy curriculum that focuses on long-term savings goals.


Any findings, views or opinions expressed in the papers are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, or the policy or position of any department of the Government of Canada.

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