Saturday, November 30, 2013

New Financial Literacy Site for Educators, Parents, and Students

In early November we posted a resource blog on Financial Literacy - November is Financial Literacy Month in Canada, and we thought we’d just share some sites / resources that contain useful materials for educators and consumers. Well, a new site has just been released by the Investor Education Fund (IEF, an Ontario Securities Commission initiative, and the same people who brought you the Get Smarter About Your Money sites) -

Along with the site, the IEF also released province-wide survey / study on Parental interest in financial literacy, with some interesting results and figures:
  • more than one-quarter (28 per cent) of parents believe financial education is not currently offered in high schools and more than half (53 per cent) said they don't know if it is offered or not - Financial Literacy was introduced into the Ontario curriculum 2012
  • only 4 out of 10 parents believe their teens are prepared to manage money after high school
  • 84% of parents and 70% of high school students want ļ¬nancial learning in the classroom

Saturday, November 16, 2013

TDSB "Educational Gaps" Map

This one is for the TDSB-focused reader, the Globe and Mail has just published an interesting interactive map - it combines Statistics Canada data on median family income in Toronto neighbourhoods with grade score data from the Education Quality and Accountability Office. The map shows what most of us would expect to see, schools concentrated in higher-income neighbourhoods show a higher rate of compliance with the provincial standards. But for those of us who live in Toronto we'll find that there are some interesting outliers - actualy more like a unique data set, specifically north Scarborough. These pockets traditionally known as Milliken and Agincourt are on the low-end of the median total income range, but have a high concentration of schools that successfully meet provincial standards.

Also worth mentioning is A tale of two schools: The correlation between income and education in Toronto, a Globe and Mail article comparing a well-to-do Toronto neihbourhood school and a low income / primarily immigrant Toronto neighbourhood school. Still doesn't explain the north Scarborough scenario...perhaps another data variable would help shed some light on this...

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Financial Literacy...Some Noteworthy Resources for Educators

November is Financial Literacy Month in Canada, and we thought we’d just share some sites / resources that contain useful materials for educators and consumers.

ABC Life Literacy Canada

ABC Life Literacy Canada is a non-profit organization with a pretty broad vision and mission. One of its Programs and Initiatives sections is Money Matters, a financial literacy and education savings program for adult learners. It has some useful resources, tools, tips and activities to help adults who need to work on money management and simple financial literacy. This group of adults encompasses a wider range of Canadians than one would suspect, as captured in an Ipsos Reid backgrounder on money management and Canadians, e.g.:
Seven in Ten (72%) Canadians Not Fully Confident Their Math and Money Management Skills Will Help them Plan for a Secure Financial Future Four in
Ten (38%) Canadians Say They Don’t Put Anything Away for Savings on a Monthly Basis, Average is $211 a Month

Canadian Centre for Financial Literacy (CCFL)

The Canadian Centre for Financial Literacy (CCFL) was launched in 2008, this CCFL is a division of the national, charitable organization SEDI. Dedicated to supporting financial literacy capacity across Canada, this site would be useful to for the teen / high school student. The CCFL also has a blog and one of its categories is Financial Literacy Matters, with the most recent post featuring a financial literacy comic book produced for older youth by the Healthy Aboriginal Network.

Canadian Education Association

Financial Literacy resources available / published Education Canada, the Canadian Education Association’s online magazine.

Financial Literacy: Getting Beyond the Markets
An article by Jim Stanford, and economist with the Canadian Auto Workers. Stanford takes a more holistic approach to the concept of financial literacy, moving beyond the obvious “individual responsibility” marker and also connecting it to financial systems with a causes and solutions lens, e.g.: is fantasy to hope that greater knowledge on the part of individual investors could somehow stabilize the workings of macro financial markets. Financial literacy can be a welcome addition to curriculum, but it should focus on the causes and potential solutions to Canadians’ financial problems, including an honest look at the financial industry, rather than encouraging them to accept an unfair, unequal world, and then adjust themselves to it.
Also worth noting is an online publication by Stanford, in conjunction with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Economics For Everyone - a primer aiming to provide a non-technical introduction to economics.

Online ATM Helps Youth Smarten Up About Spending
An article focusing on the money management experiences of a typical teen. Published in Education Canada, the Canadian Education Association’s online magazine.

Canadian Foundation for Economic Education (CFEE)

The CFEE was established in 1974. A nationwide, non-profit, non-partisan organization, it provides a resource unit for money management, and a subsite dedicated to youth - Money and Youth: A Guide to Financial Literacy. It also contains resources for entrepreneurs, newcomers, and student resources like Labour: Markets, Laws, and Unions. The very 90’s look of the site is unfortunately deceiving, this is not an abandoned site, the content is good, the site design itself just desperately needs to be updated. And the Board of Directors captures a wide range of professionals from across Canada.

Get Smarter About Your Money

Get Smarter About Your Money is published and maintained by the Investor Education Fund (a non-profit established by the Ontario securities Commission, it contains a wealth of programs and tools to help consumers financially navigate most every big stage of life. One of the unique features of this site is the Life Events section, providing detailed information on all of life’s key events, like getting an education - a real wealth of resources.

Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO)

The Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario has a couple of noteworthy publications regarding financial literacy.

Educational Financial Literacy: Organizations on the ground and making a difference
Offers a very comprehensive list of Canadian sites with a focus on educational financial literacy.

Financial Literacy of Low-income Students: Literature Review and Environmental Scan
A HEQCO research publication.

Junior Achievement

Junior Achievement claims to be the world's largest organization dedicated to educating students about workforce readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy through experiential, hands-on programs. But hey have been around since 1919, and they have been partnering with educators to deliver financial literacy in the classroom.

Money As You Grow

Money As You Grow. A US focus, this site was built on the recommendations of the President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability. This site offers offers 20 age-appropriate financial lessons—with corresponding activities, and delivers the materials in the context of life “milestones”. For example, milestones for 6-10 year olds includes activities to make choices, compare prices, etc..

Money As You Learn

Money As You Learn is a companion site to Money As You Grow. It provides a US K-12 focus, but delivers some useful teaching tips and plans for teachers. It provides tools to integrate personal finance into the teaching of Mathematics and English, and it splits the resources by the following grade groupings: K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12. The resource was built on the recommendation of the President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability.

Ontario Ministry of Education

Financial Literacy Education in Ontario Schools section for teachers- providing links to curriculum examples, including a video on the many ways financial literacy is integrated in the curriculum.

Backgrounder of Government’s Announcement Regarding the Introduction of Financial Literacy into the curriculum l

Working Group on Financial Literacy
Financial literacy will be integrated into the curriculum in September of 2011. The initiative was a key recommendation of the Curriculum Council and the report of the Working Group on Financial Literacy, will teach students about about saving, spending, investing and managing money, and will be taught from grades 4 to 12.

Practical Money Skills Canada

Practical Money Skills Canada site has some good resources. It has a section for educators, with lesson plans, largely aimed at older youths. The flag for me, this site is part of Visa's financial literacy program. But I’ll leave it up to you.

Task Force on Financial Literacy in Canada

Recommendations for financial literacy education that were made to the federal Minister of Finance. Access the full report (


Two of our older posts on Financial Literacy: