Control, Sufficiency, and Social Support Lessons from Low-income Canadians about Financial Wellbeing

This report examines how diary participants achieve the financial wellbeing that they have. The evidence we found is that low-income people work very hard to manage their finances. They endeavor to control their finances so that, as one participant said, their finances don’t control them. They must prioritize needs and wants because there is not enough for both. One participant talked about her goal of having a ‘little bit more’ than her needs so that there was a little extra for savings or small purchases or trips. Finally, we saw that family and friends are terribly important for achieving financial wellbeing because social supports can provide loans, gifts, and emotional support. Having a low-income means that banks offer few financial supports. Of course, family and friends also make demands.

Canadian Financial Diaries

The Canadian Financial Diaries Research Project is using the financial diaries methodology to understand the financial dynamics of vulnerable Canadians in a rapidly changing socio-economic context. This includes understanding the barriers and opportunities that people face in trying to improve their financial and overall well-being.

The website shares research insights and news about the project as the different phases of research are synthesized. 



The Regulation of Group Plan RESPs and the Experiences of Low-Income Subscribers

Through the Group RESP Research and Education Project, SEED Winnipeg, Momentum (Calgary), the Legal Help Centre of Winnipeg, and an interdisciplinary research team studied the regulation of group plan RESPs and the experiences of low-income subscribers, and developed public legal education materials to support low-income RESP subscribers in understanding and making informed decisions about their RESP investments. This report presents the research component of this project.

This report shows that group plan RESPs are complex, and while they can be beneficial, participation in a group plan may be detrimental to a subscriber's financial well-being if the plan is not well aligned with the subscriber's needs. Low-income subscribers continue to be significantly represented in RESPs held by group plan promoters.



Indigenous Financial Empowerment through Enhancing Capability and Inclusion

Strengthening Banking in Inner-cities: Practices & Policies to Promote Financial Inclusion for Low-Income Canadians

Choosing Financial Services Where the Options are Limited: A Report on a Survey of Financial Service Choice of Residents in Inner-city Neighbourhoods in Toronto, Vancouver & Winnipeg

Struggling to Make Ends Meet: Using Financial Diaries to Examine Financial Literacy Among Low-Income Canadians

“There Are No Banks Here.” Financial & Insurance Exclusion in Winnipeg’s North End