Archived - Minister of State (Finance) Announces Appointment of Canada’s First Financial Literacy Leader
April 15, 2014 – Ottawa, Ontario – Department of Finance
Minister of State (Finance) Kevin Sorenson today announced the appointment of Jane Rooney, a seasoned policy maker in domestic and international financial literacy issues, as Canada’s first-ever Financial Literacy Leader, building on the Harper Government’s ongoing initiatives to protect consumers. Minister Sorenson made the historic announcement at a local Ottawa school where he helped mark Talk With Our Kids About Money Day, a day created by the Canadian Foundation of Economic Education and sponsored by BMO Financial Group.
Canada is recognized worldwide as a leader in financial literacy. From the creation of the Task Force on Financial Literacy, to the dedication of November as Financial Literacy Month thanks to a Private Member’s bill by James Rajotte, Member of Parliament (Edmonton–Leduc), the Harper Government continues to lead with today’s appointment of a Financial Literacy Leader. The Task Force on Financial Literacy provided a number of recommendations, including the appointment of a Financial Literacy Leader, in an effort to help ensure Canadians are fully equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to make responsible financial decisions.
The Financial Literacy Leader Act provides for the appointment of a Financial Literacy Leader within the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada. The Financial Literacy Leader’s mandate will be to collaborate and coordinate activities with stakeholders to contribute to and support initiatives that strengthen the financial literacy of Canadians.
The Harper Government has endeavoured to improve financial literacy by engaging stakeholders to better understand the unique challenges faced by seniors, and under the leadership of the Financial Literacy Leader it will consult on the development of a national financial literacy strategy that specifically responds to the needs of seniors.
- The position of Financial Literacy Leader was established through the Financial Literacy Leader Act in March 2013, thus implementing the top recommendation of the Task Force on Financial Literacy.
- The Leader’s mandate is to collaborate and coordinate activities with stakeholders to contribute to and support initiatives that strengthen the financial literacy of Canadians.
- In addition to creating the Financial Literacy Leader, the Government has designated November as Financial Literacy Month, with the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada playing a lead role in this area, in addition to its enforcement and monitoring mandate in financial consumer protection.
- The Government has also taken steps to update the existing financial consumer protection framework with several key measures:
- Mandating an effective minimum 21-day, interest-free grace period on all new credit card purchases when a customer pays the outstanding balance in full and introducing a fee summary box;
- Reducing the maximum cheque hold period to four days from seven days for cheques of less than $1,500 and providing consumers with timelier access to the first $100;
- Banning unsolicited credit card cheques;
- Requiring that federally regulated financial institutions offer products and services on an opt-in basis only, where consumers have sufficient disclosure about the terms and conditions before accepting; and
- Introducing new requirements for prepaid cards issued by federally regulated financial institutions requiring them to disclose to consumers relevant information at appropriate points in time (the regulations come into force on May 1, 2014).
Office of the Minister of State (Finance)
Department of Finance
Ms. Rooney joined the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) in 2002, and since 2008 has been Director, Financial Literacy and Consumer Education. In this role she directed and implemented two national, separately funded education programs—one with a focus on financial literacy that helps Canadians increase their financial knowledge and confidence in managing their personal finances; the second on consumer education which aims to increase consumers’ knowledge and awareness of financial products and services, as well as their rights and responsibilities in this area.
The innovative approach taken by Ms. Rooney and her financial literacy team earned them a 2010 Public Service Award of Excellence for the successful development of the popular The City: A Financial Life Skills Resource, a simulated online world that offers an interactive, engaging and fun way for students to learn about money.
Ms. Rooney is a member of a number of committees working on financial literacy within Canada and abroad. She is the Chair of the Government of Canada’s Interdepartmental Committee on Financial Literacy. She is also Canada’s representative on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) International Financial Education Network and on the OECD’s Advisory Board for the International Network on Financial Education.
Her previous work experience includes almost eight years as a policy analyst at the Canadian Payments Association, the organization that developed and operates the Canadian payments system. In that capacity, Ms. Rooney was a member of a number of Canadian committees that examined payment policy issues.
Ms. Rooney holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Carleton University.
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