Canada and the Province of British Columbia
The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) was established in 2001 as an independent federal government body to protect and inform consumers of financial services. The Minister of Finance’s 2007 budget speech recognised financial literacy for young people and adults as a priority. In that budget, the Government of Canada allocated funding over two years to financial literacy, mandating FCAC to strengthen financial skills among youth. In its 2008 budget, the Government of Canada provided additional ongoing funding to FCAC to support efforts to improve financial literacy in Canada.
As a federal regulator, FCAC has no formal role in public schooling. It can undertake public information and education campaigns, but these are of limited reach outside of public school systems. The challenge, therefore, was to extend financial education initiatives that would be effective and engaging for schools, teachers and students, without encroaching on provincial and territorial education jurisdiction.
The surveys undertaken by FCAC showed that many teachers are uncomfortable teaching financial life skills because they are not confident in their own financial literacy. Drawing on the advice of the British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC) partners, FCAC addressed this challenge in the following two ways.
First, through the provision of material that is comprehensive and contains all the information teachers need to conduct the activities. Links and notes provide additional information for teachers who wish to access it. A teacher training plan was developed to deliver training through workshops or electronically via webcasts and web conferencing using a train-the-trainer model. Second, through training specialists that deliver the training through web conferences and on-line self-directed training and the teacher champions deliver workshops in person at teacher conferences, professional development sessions and in school workshops that they coordinate.