Ontario Rolls Out Financial Literacy Pilot Program

After petitioning local officials late in 2016, Ontario students in Grade 10 and up will score a victory for their financial literacy preparedness with the launch of a new pilot education program by the provincial Ministry of Education. 

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Students’ financial expectations are increasingly at odds with financial realities. Nearly 3‐in‐4 (73%) expect to own a home within the next 10 years, going against estimates by Statistics Canada, where only 42% of 25 to 29 year‐olds were found to be homeowners. A large percentage of students believe that they will be better off financially than their parents: the average survey respondent expected to earn $90,735 in 10 years; roughly three times the average income of 25 to 29 year‐olds with post‐secondary degrees ($31,648) according to Statistics Canada’s 2006 Census data.

However, in many cases young Canadians are not “walking the walk” when it comes to financial behaviours. Many lack the financial behaviours that are important to future success:

  • Less than half (44%) keep a budget to record income and expenses. Very few respondents, 1‐in‐10 (12%) have written financial plans.
  •  Nearly 4‐in‐10 (38%) respondents admit they do not know how much they earned and spent in the last month. 13% of respondents have shared financial passwords or PINs, while 6% have been the victim of fraud or ID theft.
  • A majority does not know the interest rate on their bank account (58%), nor did they shop around for their banking services (65%).
  • 37% pay monthly banking fees, but only 62% know how much those fees cost.

Student leaders have cited the gap between advanced theoretical knowledge of subjects such as economics, and real-world competencies based in the practical realities of money management. Programs such as this one will help Ontarians improve their financial management skills at a critical time in their lives.

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