FINANCIAL EDUCATION GACES ARE UNDER FIRE: The Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses (CFIB) and its member banks are calling for an end to government financial education funding.
CFIB’s president, Chris Lewis, says the government is using a flawed model for the financial education grant.
“We have a number of issues, we are having problems with this program, and we have a very long time to go,” Lewis said.
“It’s a very inefficient system, where we are getting a $1,000 grant to the first person to apply and that’s it.
It’s not really a fair allocation of funding.”
Lewis said the federal government has been failing to invest in education for years and has to start taking steps now.
“The government is not investing in education,” he said.
He said the CFIB has been pushing for an overhaul to the financial literacy program.
“There’s not a lot of support for financial literacy programs, so we need a complete overhaul of it,” he added.
“They’ve failed the Canadian public on this.”
The CFIB is calling on the federal and provincial governments to invest more in financial literacy, a federal government policy it says is necessary to increase literacy levels and improve financial literacy.
The federal government said last week it was reviewing its financial literacy grant program.
But in its 2017-18 budget, the government announced a $250 million investment in financial education.
But that was only to start the process.
CFBB says that is not enough.
“This money should go directly to people who are the most at-risk for the future,” Lewis says.
“People who have already got a debt, people who have had some of the worst periods in their lives.”
He says the current system of financial education is broken.
“Our government has made billions in this program over the past four decades and yet the vast majority of Canadians are still going to be left in a state of financial insecurity,” he says.
He also says the Canadian Financial Literacy Centre has warned that a lack of funding in the current financial literacy funding program is putting people at risk.
“I think it’s time for the government to take a serious look at financial literacy,” Lewis added.
According to the CFBB, there are nearly 10,000 organizations across Canada that offer financial education services, ranging from the basic financial literacy course to specialized financial education courses.