As recently reported by SEDI, on June 20th, the Honourable Ted Menzies, Minister of State (Finance), took the first step toward fulfilling the federal government’s commitment to appoint a national Financial Literacy leader to spearhead the development of a national strategy to build the financial literacy of Canadians.
This position was recommended by the federal Task Force on Financial Literacy in its 2011 report and promised in the subsequent 2011 federal budget, but action was delayed by the slow passage of the necessary legislation, the Financial Literacy Leader Act, which finally received Royal Assent in March 2013.
The Financial Literacy Leader will be tasked with clear leadership and coordination on national financial literacy initiatives and the development of a broad national financial literacy strategy. They will report to both the Minister of Finance and to Parliament through the Commissioner of the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC).
SEDI considers the appointment of a Financial Literacy Leader to be positive for two reasons.
First, it is an important step toward the development of a comprehensive national financial literacy strategy. While attempts have been made by FCAC, the Financial Literacy Action Group, SEDI and others to coordinate diverse financial literacy research, programs, and policy initiatives across the country, these efforts have been hampered by the lack of a mandated champion and budget to support real cross-sectoral, national coordination. The new Leader will have the mandate and budget to fill this gap.
Second, the new leader has been tasked by the federal government to develop a national strategy that places particular emphasis on seniors and vulnerable groups such as Aboriginal people, youth, immigrants and low-income Canadians. This shows that the government has listened to the voices of SEDI and other community stakeholders who have underscored the need for targeted strategies to assist vulnerable and low-income groups, for whom generic approaches and programs are often not as effective.
The deadline for interested candidacies to submit their CV is July 22, 2013.