Turning aces into assets

Ontario has just become the first province to open its legal gambling market to private internet gaming providers. As of April 4, 2022, Ontarians can play casino-style games online and place bets on sports, including single games, through sites regulated by iGaming Ontario. According to the provincial regulator, the launch of iGaming marks the triumph “of a legal internet gaming market” over “its previous grey market standing.” But as with all forms of gambling, this development has a dark side. It was only a matter of time before Ontario expanded its gambling market—not because of popular demand, but because the provincial government is addicted to gambling money and is eager to seize any opportunity to get more of it, regardless of the costs to the people it is supposed to protect.

This report provides the background of gambling in Ontario, outlines the new risks with iGaming and offers four policy options.



How to build financial health in Native communities

American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) peoples have long faced barriers to asset building. More than half of AI/AN populations are un- or underbanked, financial services often don’t operate on reservations, and access to capital is difficult. Native peoples have been excluded from financial wealth accumulation through government asset stripping, industry redlining, and simple neglect, thanks to historic (and ongoing) discrimination, exclusion, and racism baked into government and private-sector policies. Solutions are within reach.

Recently, the Financial Security Program, the Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition, Inc (ONAC), and the Center for Native American Youth hosted an event featuring Native leaders representing various geographies, experiences, and tribal affiliations. The group discussed experiences in building assets and Indigenous perspectives on generational financial wealth. Finally, the speakers gave recommendations on how foundations, corporations, non-profits, and others can partner with tribal governments and Native-led nonprofits to build financial wealth in Native communities.

ONAC has produced a “List of Eighteen Suggestions to Better Support Native Practitioners Administering Asset Building Programs in their Communities”. 



101 solutions for inclusive wealth building

Having wealth, or a family’s assets minus their debts, is important not just for the rich— everyone needs wealth to thrive. Yet building the amount of wealth needed to thrive is a major challenge. Nearly 13 million U.S. households have negative net worth. Millions more are low wealth; they do not have the assets or liquidity needed to maintain financial stability and invest in themselves in the present, nor are they on track to accumulate the amount of wealth they will need to have financial security in retirement.
Together, these groups represent at least half of all U.S. households.

This report examines what it will take to create truly shared prosperity in the United States. It is focused on solutions that would grow the wealth of households in the bottom half of the wealth distribution, and it explores reparative approaches to building the wealth of Black, Indigenous, and other people of color (BIPOC).



Guidance on digital delivery of financial education

Innovative uses of digital technologies in the delivery of financial education can serve multiple complementary objectives and effectively support the building blocks of financial education. This Guidance was developed to assist policy makers in deciding when to adopt digital delivery, and how to effectively design and implement digital financial education initiatives, by offering non-binding actionable directions. It builds on the work undertaken by the OECD and its International Network on Financial Education, including the G20/OECD-INFE Policy Guidance Note on Digitalisation and Financial Literacy and international comparative analyses on how public authorities design, deliver and evaluate digital financial education initiatives, notably in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The report on digital delivery of financial education design and practice builds on over 70 case studies from members of the OECD International Network on Financial Education, contributes to a better understanding of how public authorities worldwide are designing, delivering and evaluating digital financial education initiatives, and prepares forthcoming work on the development of high-level international guidance on the digital delivery of financial education. 



Action-oriented public health resources on financial wellbeing and financial strain

Improving people’s financial circumstances has never been more critical. Disadvantaged population groups have experienced even higher levels of financial strain and poor financial wellbeing during the pandemic. This has negatively impacted their physical and mental health.

To support efforts to build back better and fairer communities in the wake of COVID-19, the Centre for Healthy Communities led an international collaborative, participatory, multi-method project to develop resources to support action on financial strain and financial wellbeing. These resources were designed for practitioners and decision-makers working in organizations and governments in a wide variety of sectors and jurisdictions.

This project resulted in an action-oriented Public Health Framework on Financial Wellbeing and Financial Strain and a companion Guidebook of Strategies and Indicators.

These resources are meant to support organizations and governments acting on any area related to financial strain and financial wellbeing, such as education, employment, or social safety net, to name a few. The Framework, which draws on health equity and health-in-all-policy principles, presents 17 evidence-informed high-impact areas for governments and organizations to intervene. The Guidebook offers evidence-informed targets and strategies for initiatives, as well as sample indicators for monitoring and assessment for each of those 17 entry points for action.



2022 Budget submission

Prosper Canada has submitted a budget to highlight that a plan is needed to ensure that vulnerable people are not made to repay unmanageable CERB/CRB debts, to pay back the income people lost when their refundable tax benefits were clawed back because of CERB, and to guarantee that CRB and CWLB are not clawed back from refundable tax credit payments in the 2021 and 2022 tax years.  



Protecting aging investors through behavioural insights

This report identifies behaviourally informed techniques dealers and advisers can use to encourage their older clients to provide the necessary information for enhanced investor protection measures.



Access to Identification for Low-income Manitobans

Government-issued identification (ID) is essential to gain access to a wide range of government entitlements, commercial services and financial systems. Lack of ID on the other hand, represents a critical barrier that prevents low-income Manitobans from accessing these services and benefits, and ultimately results in further marginalization and deepening poverty. Other provinces are now recognizing that ID is necessary to navigate the modern world and are doing something to support those who fall through the cracks.

A new study, Access to Identification for Low-Income Manitobans researches what can be done to address these challenges and offers recommendations to reduce barriers to ID for low-income Manitobans.



Hunger, Poverty, and Health Disparities During COVID-19 and the Federal Nutrition Programs’ Role in an Equitable Recovery

The health and economic crises brought on by the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has made the federal nutrition programs more important than ever. An unacceptably high number of people in America do not have enough to eat, and it is likely that the economic recovery for families who struggle to put food on the table will take years.


Recovery will be particularly challenging for those groups that have suffered disproportionate harm from COVID-19. Inequities, also referred to as disparities, “adversely affect groups of people who have systematically experienced greater obstacles […] based on their racial or ethnic group; religion; socioeconomic status; gender; age; mental health; cognitive, sensory, or physical disability; sexual orientation or gender identity; geographic location; or other characteristics historically linked to discrimination or exclusion.”



Household Food Insecurity in Canada, 2017-2018

Food insecurity – inadequate or uncertain access to food because of financial constraints – is a serious public health problem in Canada, and all indications are that the problem is getting worse.

Drawing on data for 103,500 households from Statistics Canada’s Canadian Community Health Survey conducted in 2017 and 2018, we found that 12.7% of households experienced some level of food insecurity in the previous 12 months. There were 4.4 million people, including more than 1.2 million children under the age of 18, living in food-insecure households in 2017-18. This is higher than any prior national estimate.



Economic Abuse: Coercive Control Tactics in Intimate Relationships

This infographic explores 3 forms of economic abuse and associated tactics used to coercively control intimate partners.

These abusive tactics are compounded by economic systems that systemically oppress groups including Black, Indigenous, and people of colour; people with disabilities; people with precarious immigration status; and gender-oppressed people.

Economic abuse consists of behaviours to control, exploit, and sabotage an individual’s resources. It limits the individual’s independence and autonomy.

Compared to financial abuse which usually only focuses on money, economic abuse includes a more expansive range of behaviour that affects things like employment, food, medicine, and housing. 

Economic abuse is often used to coercively control individuals, such as intimate partners. It occurs in conjunction with further forms of abuse, like physical and sexual violence. Economic abuse can make it more difficult for survivors to escape violence since they may not have the resources to secure long-term housing and employment while meeting basic needs for themselves and potentially their children.



Survey on savings for persons with disabilities

Residents in Canada who have a severe and prolonged mental or physical disability are eligible for the Disability Tax Credit (DTC). This opens the door to other programs, one of which is the RDSP.

Less than one-third of eligible residents in Canada (up to age 59) have a Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP)—about 31.5% in 2020.

To understand why more eligible residents in Canada do not have an RDSP, Employment and Social Development Canada asked Statistics Canada to conduct the Survey on Savings for Persons with Disabilities. Its goal was to collect data from residents in Canada who were eligible for an RDSP but did not open one.

These respondents included both persons with disabilities and family members or others who care for persons with disabilities, since the holder of the plan may not be the same person as the beneficiary in all cases.

These data show that, in general, eligible residents in Canada lack information about the RDSP, with many not being aware it exists and a substantial portion reporting not having enough information or money to open one.



A guide to protect yourself against investment fraud

Today’s investment landscape offers such a range of products, investing tools, and information that the average investor may feel overwhelmed. As advancements in technology continue to accelerate, new online investing platforms and opportunities are showing no signs of slowing down any time soon.


And as the world of investing continues to innovate, so do the tactics of fraudsters when designing and carrying out scams against unsuspecting victims.


In this guide, we discuss investment fraud and some key things you should know before investing, including helpful tips to protect yourself from investment scams.

 



Mapping the road toward increased accessibility to the child tax credit

Last year, the expanded Child Tax Credit (CTC) helped to lift nearly four million children out of poverty and provided economic relief to millions of struggling households. However, many first-time and lapsed filers from underserved and vulnerable populations missed out on these critical benefits. Locating and serving eligible low-income youth, formerly incarcerated individuals, people experiencing homelessness, immigrants, survivors of domestic violence, and isolated tribal populations has presented a challenging opportunity to free tax prep service providers across the country. 

This research highlights the key findings and recommendations to increase the accessibility to the CTC. 



15 percent of Canadians are ‘underbanked’ — here’s what that means and why it’s a barrier to equitable recovery

Research shows that 15 percent, or close to five million Canadians, are underbanked, and three percent are completely unbanked, meaning that they have very limited or no access to financial services within the traditional banking sector. 

Ironically, underbanked individuals often come from low-moderate income backgrounds which put them at a higher need for accessible financial services. However, factors like low credit scores, high credit card fees, and non-sufficient fund fees are major barriers that shut Canadians out from banks.

Instances of explicit racism while banking, which include being handcuffed when trying to open a bank account, have further diminished the trust in banks for many Black, Indigenous and people of colour.  



Annual report 2021

AFN's 2021 Annual Report gives a high level review of our work last year, including some snapshots into the place-based initiatives in our regions. Across our regions, AFN is working with grantmakers on collaborative efforts to advance equitable wealth building and economic mobility.

One example the Annual Report highlights is the Bay Area Small Business Vulnerability Mapping Project. Last year, Bay Area AFN worked with the Urban Displacement Project to develop an online mapping tool highlighting vulnerable businesses owned by people of color. The multistage process also explores the feasibility of a permanent infrastructure for collecting data, monitoring business health, and recommending policies.



Understanding Systems: The 2021 report of the National Advisory Council on Poverty

Canada’s National Advisory Council on Poverty’s second Annual Report, Understanding Systems, is the first report to provide a glimpse into poverty since COVID-19.

Based on community engagements with Canadians and provinces/territories over the last year, the Council has recommended five broad strategies to reduce poverty in Canada.

The pillars of the strategy are as follows:

  1. Indigenous prosperity
  2. Equity
  3. Dignity
  4. Prevention and early intervention
  5. Income from employment and government benefits

In a recent webinar, three Council members shared what strategies can make the greatest impact. Read more to learn about the key takeaways from the discussion.



Annual report of credit and consumer reporting complaints: an analysis of complaint responses by Equifax, Experian and TransUnion

This report summarizes the information gathered by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) regarding certain consumer complaints transmitted by the CFPB to the three largest nationwide consumer reporting agencies - Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.



Children’s savings accounts: a core part of the equity agenda

Education after high school, or postsecondary education (PSE), is an important determinant of individuals’ future opportunities, as well as their health and even lifespan. Children’s Savings Accounts (CSAs) are programs that aim to increase access to PSE by building parents’ and children’s educational expectations and a “college-bound identity” starting early in children’s lives. CSAs are a vital part of the equity agenda that remain critically important even as other strategies are put in place to broaden postsecondary access.

CSAs programs provide children with savings accounts and financial deposits for the purpose of education after high school or other asset building. CSA program designs, enrollment procedures, and financial incentives vary widely across the U.S. CSAs have been flourishing at the local, city, and state levels over the past two decades.

CSAs’ unique value comes down to programs’ financial investment in children coupled with their capacity to bring children and families into frequent contact with information about planning for PSE, savings, and high expectations for the future.

 

 



Household food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic

This study presents data on levels of household food insecurity in the 10 provinces from the September to December 2020 cycle of the Canadian Community Health Survey. In this survey, household food security status within the previous 12 months was measured using a scale that has been routinely used to monitor levels of household food insecurity in Canada. This provided the ability to draw comparisons with pre-pandemic levels.

Both before and during the pandemic, certain population groups were more vulnerable to food insecurity in their household. They included people with lower levels of education, those who rent their dwelling, those in lone-parent-led households and those in households reliant on social assistance as their primary source of income. Compared with the pre-pandemic period of 2017/2018, levels of household food insecurity were either unchanged or slightly lower in fall 2020 among groups vulnerable to food insecurity.



Singles in deep poverty neglected by pandemic supports

In 2020, the federal government spent over $160 billion on COVID-19 pandemic response measures. These expenses were critical in supporting recently unemployed workers and affected businesses in a time of uncertainty. However, supports through programs like the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) were not extended to those who had less attachment to the labour market, such as a large proportion of social assistance recipients.

This pattern of exclusion has continued with the more recent Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit, which was created to support workers affected by new pandemic-related shutdowns, and not people who were already living in deep poverty before the pandemic.

The pandemic benefits are intended to support people during a specific time of crisis — but what about those who have been living with low and insecure incomes for decades? This report analyzes the welfare incomes of 53 example households, divided into four types, focusing here on unattached singles considered employable, as they are the most likely to be living in poverty.



Insights from the Ontario Financial Empowerment Champions Project and the Financial Empowerment and Problem Solving Project: How financial empowerment services are helping Ontarians build financial health

In 2016, Prosper Canada partnered with the Ontario government and nine non-profit organizations through the Ontario Financial Empowerment Champions and Financial Empowerment and Problem Solving projects, to pilot delivery of community financial help services for low-income Ontarians.

Third-party evaluations of both projects confirmed that the services provided addressed an unmet need, reduced client financial stress, and improved client financial outcomes. They also confirmed that almost all service users would recommend the services to others.



Eyeing the ID: Bio-metric Banking for Saint John

NB Social Pediatrics and the Saint John Community Loan Fund recently surveyed 157 New Brunswick and Nova Scotia residents about their experiences with finances, banking, and ID to better understand if biometrics or ID banks could be effective solutions for people living without ID.

 Eyeing the ID: Bio-metric Banking for Saint John identifies access to identification, as well as stringent identification requirements as the most prevalent barriers to receiving services in the community and were also inherently linked to other barriers, such as housing and finances. For example, lack of address was identified as a barrier to accessing an ID because government agencies require a mailing address to send ID documents to customers, but lack of ID is also directly linked to precarious housing because you often need ID to be placed on local subsidized housing lists, and to set up power and utilities. Cyclical barriers to services could be improved by addressing ID requirements and making ID more accessible.

The top three solutions identified to mitigate ID barriers were biometrics, ID banks, and an ID acquisition service.

Also available in French: Un regard sur l’identification : Services bancaires à identification biométrique à Saint John

 



Ethnography of vulnerable newcomers’ experiences with taxes and benefits

This report presents the findings of an ethnographic research project undertaken by researchers at the Accelerated Business Solutions Lab (ABSL) at the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). It is the second of a series of ethnographic reports on the experiences of vulnerable populations. The objective of this study is to develop the CRA’s understanding of newcomers’ experiences as they first encounter the Canadian tax and benefit system. These findings illuminate potential directions for improving tax and benefit information and services available for newcomers.



The Role of Credit Unions in Providing Alternatives to Payday Lending

High levels of household indebtedness in Canada has been a concern for policymakers at all levels of government over the past decade. As the economic costs of COVID-19 grow, household indebtedness becomes a faster growing and increasingly more serious concern.
 
While responsive government policy, such as the federal government’s Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), has curbed some short-term impacts on indebtedness, the program was developed to fill a temporary gap. The most vulnerable households are low-income households with limited access to credit, who frequently turn to high cost payday lending for financial relief. While regulations on the payday lending industry have increased substantially, low-income Canadian households remain left with few, if any, practical alternatives.
 
The low-income households in greatest need of alternatives are the financially excluded, specifically the underbanked and the unbanked.
 
At the same time, it is important to recognize that not all payday loan clients are in low-income households. A 2016 report by the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada states that close to 40% of payday loan borrowers have household income of $55,000 or greater and 20% having income of $80,000 or greater.
 
Thus, payday loan borrowers are not a homogeneous group.
 
Some Canadian credit unions have developed payday loan alternatives for the financially excluded, however, these more reasonably priced loans are only accessed by a very small portion of would-be payday loan clients.
 
The objective of this research is to review the alternative payday loan products currently offered by Canadian credit unions, to identify the barriers to offering more payday loan alternatives, and to make recommendations to expand the offerings.



Welfare in Canada, 2020

Maytree released the 2020 edition of the Welfare in Canada report. For each province and territory, this report provides data and analysis on the total welfare income that households receiving social assistance would have qualified for in 2020, including COVID-19 pandemic-related supports.

Welfare in Canada is a series that presents the total incomes of four example households who qualify for social assistance benefits in each of Canada’s provinces and territories in a given year.

Welfare in Canada, 2020 looks at the maximum total amount that a household would have received over the course of the 2020 calendar year, assuming they had no other source of income and no assets. Some households may have received less if they had income from other sources, while some households may have received more if they had special health- or disability-related needs.

The report looks at:

  • Social assistance program eligibility tests for assets and earned income;
  • How welfare incomes vary across Canada;
  • The components of welfare incomes in each province and territory;
  • Long-term changes in welfare incomes in each province and territory; and
  • The adequacy of welfare incomes in each province compared to poverty and low-income thresholds.

In addition, this year the report includes a new section that looks at the adequacy of welfare incomes in each province over time, an analysis that hearkens back to past reports prepared by the National Council of Welfare. Also, please note that this report measures the adequacy of welfare incomes relative to both the Market Basket Measure (MBM) – Canada’s Official Poverty Line – and the Deep Income Poverty threshold (MBM-DIP), which is equivalent to 75 per cent of the MBM. This analysis will replace the low-income threshold comparisons in future reports. We hope these additions will be helpful for those using the report.

In each jurisdiction, the total welfare income for which a household is eligible depends on its specific composition. For illustrative purposes, this resource focuses on the welfare incomes of four example household types:

  1. Unattached single considered employable;
  2. Unattached single with a disability;
  3. Single parent with one child, age two; and
  4. Couple with two children, ages ten and 15.



Financial Coaching Initiative: Results and Lessons Learned

In 2015, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau launched the Financial Coaching Initiative, a pilot program that provided financial coaching services to veterans and economically vulnerable consumers. Professional coaches were embedded into 60 host sites across the country, where they provided free, one-on-one help to consumers to address their personal financial goals. A range of organizations served as host sites, such as one-stop career centers, social services organizations, and legal aid groups.

Over four years, the Financial Coaching Initiative served over 23,000 consumers, demonstrating that financial coaching can be successfully implemented at scale in many different settings for a wide range of consumers.

This report and summary brief describe the basic structure of the Initiative, present data about the program’s results, and summarize key lessons learned for practitioners and organizations interested in coaching. 



Gathering a Bundle for Indigenous Evaluation


This guide brought together by the Indigenous Learning Circle (ILC) in Winnipeg's North End details how to conduct an Indigenous-grounded evaluation process. While not a comprehensive guide to complete an evaluation, the Bundle builds upon what is understood about evaluation and provides a guide that can be used in planning, designing, implementing and reporting based upon Indigenous values and principles.  The Bundle provides a common understanding of the purpose of evaluation; how it can be beneficial for community; and Indig­enous principles, values, considerations, and methods that could be used in the design and implementation of evaluation. It can be used by community organizations and staff to understand evaluation and increase communi­ty members’ capacity to actively participate in evaluation efforts in their programs and organ­izations.




The Comeback Generation: Pandemic is inspiring Gen Z to build financial resilience

The coronavirus pandemic has tested the limits of Canadians over the past 20 months. What began as a health crisis quickly morphed into an economic crisis, with the spread of COVID‑19 shocking large segments of the economy and leaving many without paycheques. While no generation has been unaffected by the pandemic, the economic impact was distributed unevenly. Many younger Canadians in Generation Z, or Gen Z, have had their education disrupted, career plans changed, and financial prospects diminished largely because they are overrepresented in the highly affected service sector, according to a new survey by the Canadian Bankers Association (CBA).

The survey was published to mark Financial Literacy Month, which takes place each November, and found that more than half (53 per cent) of Gen Z respondents (aged 18‑25) felt the pandemic upended their financial security, with that number rising to 73 per cent for those in less stable financial situations. At the same time, nine‑in‑ten (88 per cent) Gen Zers are feeling optimistic about their financial futures, and nearly all of them (98 per cent) are actively making plans to strengthen their financial resilience.

"Gen Z was dealt a disproportionately tough hand during the pandemic, but it has also shown incredible resilience in channeling its natural gifts for perseverance, adaptability and motivation," says Neil Parmenter, President and CEO, Canadian Bankers Association. "Despite the setbacks, younger Canadians are eager to forge ahead, be prepared for the unexpected and build bright futures as our economy recovers."



Who Doesn’t File a Tax Return? A Portrait of Non-Filers

The Canada Revenue Agency administers dozens of cash transfer programs that require an annual personal income tax return to establish eligibility. Approximately 10–12 percent of Canadians, however, do not file a return; as a result, they will not receive the benefits for which they are otherwise eligible.

In this article, we provide the first estimates of the number and characteristics of non-filers. We also estimate that the value of cash benefits lost to working-age non-filers was $1.7 billion in 2015. Previous literature suggests either a rational choice model of tax compliance (in which the costs of filing are weighed against its benefits) or a more complex behavioural model.

Our study has important consequences for policy-making in terms of the administrative design and fiscal costs of public cash benefits attached to tax filing, the measurement of household incomes, and poverty rates.



Pilot Study: Buy Now, Pay Later Services in Canada

The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) has published a pilot study on the use and understanding of Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) services in Canada as part of the Agency’s research on emerging consumers trends.

Similar to instalment loans, BNPL services allow consumers to purchase goods and services and pay for them over time, either by spreading their payments out into equal, smaller instalments, or by delaying their payments.

Among those surveyed, 34% indicated that they were familiar with these services, and 8% indicated that they had used at least one such service between September 2019 to March 2021. The most common items purchased this way included furniture or appliances (39%), electronics (32%), and clothing and fashion (23%); however, some consumers used the services for household essentials (8%) and groceries (5%). As these findings are based on a small sample, additional research is needed to establish a more comprehensive picture of how Canadians use and understand BNPL services.



Start at the Beginning; a Person-Centered Design and Evaluation Framework for Policies to Boost Household Cashflow and Beyond

The financial hardships households faced in the midst of the pandemic reveals the scale of the precarity that millions of households were experiencing well before the crisis began. This highlights the urgency of the need to reimagine our system of benefits—both public and private—to effectively and equitably support households to recover from this pandemic and build security for the future.

The Aspen Institute Financial Security Program (Aspen FSP)’s Benefits 21 initiative is dedicated to integrating and modernizing the American system of benefits to ensure all households have financial security and can live economically dignified lives.



The Financial Resilience and Financial Well-Being of Canadians with Low Incomes (detailed)

The financial resilience and financial well-being of Canadians with low incomes: Insights and analysis to support the financial empowerment sector detailed report, provides data and insights on the financial impact of the pandemic on Canadians with low incomes and their financial health, resilience and financial well-being in June 2021 compared to June 2018. The report is authored by Seymour Management Consulting Inc., the leading independent authority on financial health in Canada. Data levers the Seymour Financial Resilience Index ™ and five years’ of national longitudinal Financial Well-Being studies data. 

 

The report, commissioned by Prosper Canada and the ABLE Financial Empowerment Network, is relevant for Governments, Financial Institutions, NPOs, organizations and leaders working to help improve the financial well-being of Canadians. It paints a stark picture on the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on low-income Canadians and those who are more financially vulnerable. The Index, with a pre-pandemic baseline of February 2020, is complemented with targeted analysis of June 2021 and June 2018 Financial Well-Being studies. Data also relates to impacts on well-being dimensions and challenges in accessing support from Financial Institutions and NPOs. 

 

Read the summary report, The Financial Resilience and Financial Well-Being of Canadians with Low Incomes (summary)



Countervailing Power: Review of the coordination and funding for financial counselling services across Australia

In 2019, the Australian Government committed to additional actions to improve the financial outcomes of Australians, including undertaking an immediate review of the coordination and funding of financial counselling services that disadvantaged Australians rely on. 

The review noted the benefits of financial counselling to the community, including early intervention and prevention of further financial hardship, advocacy support, and referral to other services for complex issues. The review also highlighted the challenges faced by the financial counselling sector, including increasing demand, fragmented delivery, and the array of complex situations and financial products that can lead to financial hardship. 

The review:

  • Assessed whether existing financial counselling services adequately support clients’ current, emerging or changing needs, including areas such as small business and natural disasters;
  • Explored the most efficient and appropriate way to deliver financial counselling services;
  • Considered how to improve the coordination and consistency of delivery of financial counselling services across all jurisdictions in Australia;
  • Recommended options for improving the predictability and sustainability of funding financial counselling services, including by drawing on successful international funding models and considering options for industry funding; and
  • Considered how the use of data can inform policy, service delivery and demand trends.



National Financial Empowerment Champions Project: Summary Report

The National Financial Empowerment Champions (NFEC) Project supported leading non-profit community organizations and their local partners to develop, implement and scale proven financial empowerment (FE) interventions across Canada with the aim of improving the financial well-being of over one million Canadians.

This summary report captures the objectives, outputs, outcomes and lessons learned from the NFEC Project. A detailed Evaluation Framework and Evaluation Insights are also available.



Medical-Financial Partnerships: Cross-Sector Collaborations Between Medical and Financial Services to Improve Health

Financial stress is the root cause of many adverse health outcomes among poor and low-income children and their families, yet few clinical interventions have been developed to improve health by directly addressing patient and family finances. Medical-Financial Partnerships (MFPs) are novel cross-sector collaborations in which health care systems and financial service organizations work collaboratively to improve health by reducing patient financial stress, primarily in low-income communities. This paper describes the rationale for MFPs and examines eight established MFPs providing financial services.



Encouraging tax filing at virtual clinics

In 2020, The Behavioural Insights Team partnered with United Way and Oak Park Neighbourhood Centre to develop and test an email intervention to increase participation in tax filing clinics. An "active choice" email (sample email) significantly increased response rate and attendance to virtual clinics.



Asset resilience of Canadians, 2019

Canadians were more asset resilient just prior to the pandemic than they were at the turn of the millennium. That resilience continues to be tested as we enter the second year of the pandemic.

For the purposes of this article, a household is asset resilient when it has liquid assets that are at least equal to the after-tax, low-income measure (LIM-AT) for three months.

To be deemed asset resilient in 2019, a person living alone would require liquid assets of approximately $6,000. A household of four would require $12,000 or $3,000 per person to meet the minimum LIM-AT threshold for three months.

Recent Statistics Canada data have shown that savings rose sharply during the pandemic, despite the economic upheaval, and that those in the lower income quintiles have seen their income rise as a result of government support programs, such as the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).

Although the data in this release predate the pandemic, they provide an important benchmark to monitor the economic well-being of Canadian households during a time of unprecedented change.



A statistical portrait of Canada’s diverse LGBTQ2+ communities

Statistics Canada presents a demographic and social profile of Canada's diverse LGBTQ2+ communities based on published analyses. Much of the data in this release focus on LGB Canadians (lesbian, gay, bisexual), since Statistics Canada has been collecting detailed information on these communities since 2003.



Low-income persistence in Canada and the provinces

Each year, some Canadians fall into low income, while others rise out of it. For example, over one-quarter (28.1%) of Canadians who were in low income in 2017 had exited it by 2018. This study examines the low income exit rate in Canada—an indicator that can be used to track the amount of time it takes for people to rise out of low income. Although a potential surge in low income in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic was avoided by temporary government support programs, the rising long-term unemployment rate in 2021 suggests a possible increase in poverty and low-income persistence in the future.



Increasing education savings for families living on low incomes: An outcome harvest evaluation

Momentum is a changing-making organization located in Calgary, Alberta that works with people living on low incomes and partners in the community to create a thriving local economy for all. In 2008, Momentum launched the StartSmart program to support families living on low incomes to open Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs) to access free government education savings incentives such as the Canada Learning Bond (CLB). Momentum subsequently partnered with community agencies and advocated for systems level change in order to reach more families and scale up CLB uptake. 

This report captures the collective efforts and outcomes of Momentum and community partners regarding increasing the Canada Learning Bond (CLB) uptake in Canada, as well as lessons learned.

The report highlights include:

  • Momentum and community partners efforts contributed to more than doubling the CLB uptake rate in Calgary (from 20% to 52%)
  • Through Aspire, Momentum trained over 350 community staff and volunteers from over 80 community agencies to deliver the StartSmart program
  • Policy successes (such as changing social housing rules to accommodate RESP savings) were achieved and some failures (cancellation of the provincial ACES grant) were experienced
  • Policy changes are still required to see significant uptake of the CLB. See Momentum's recent publication Public Policy Options to Better Enable Education Savings by Families on Low Incomes



Partnering for impact: From crisis to opportunity (Case studies of corporate-nonprofit partnerships during COVID-19)

This report delves into one of the community investment trends that emerged during the pandemic: innovative partnerships. This research follows the Wake Up Call study, released in the Fall of 2020, and continues to answer the question of: how can corporate philanthropy do better, and do more?

Answers emerge through nine case studies, representing various initiatives that are either entirely new, have undergone significant change during the pandemic, or have achieved unprecedented growth. Each case study provides invaluable insights for companies looking to achieve greater impact through their partnerships. 

Imagine Canada conducted close to 40 interviews with the individuals involved in the partnerships, complemented by documentary evidence collected in 2020-21. The case studies involve partners from leading companies and social impact organizations, such as Cisco, AstraZeneca, RBC, CanadaHelps, and Second Harvest.  



Evaluation of the Financial Empowerment and Problem Solving Project: Final Report

The Province of Ontario, through the former Ministry of Community and Social Services (now known as the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services (MCCSS)) entered into a contract with Prosper Canada (PC) in 2015 to fund the Financial Empowerment and Problem Solving (FEPS) pilot project. The FEPS project provided individualized financial counselling to low income program participants along with educational workshops and free tax clinics. An evaluation of the FEPS pilot found that the project exhibited some promising practices and was well received by clients. Building off of the findings from pilot, in 2017 the former Ministry of Community and Social Services (MCSS) entered into a four-year agreement with PC to fund the program at four delivery sites.



Evaluation of the Financial Empowerment Champions Project: Final Report

The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services (MCCSS) with funding from Ontario Works (OW) contracted with Prosper Canada (PC) in 2016 to launch the Financial Empowerment Champions (FECs) project. The project intends to build capacity (e.g., embed financial empowerment (FE) interventions) within communities and provide individualized FE services to individuals with low income. This final evaluation report includes the following lines of evidence: linked administrative data from MCCSS (Social Assistance Management System (SAMS)), FECs sites and PC; a pre-service and a postservice survey; and interviews with FECs staff, management and community partner organizations. The evaluation was initiated in August 2017 and the final data was collected in June 2020.



The Well-Being and Financial Well-Being of Canadians: financially vulnerable households the most challenged

This brief discusses how more financially vulnerable Canadians are most challenged based on the Seymour Financial Resilience Index TM. This E-Brief builds on Statistics Canada Canadians' Well-being in Year One of the COVID-19 Pandemic report and Seymour’s February 2021 Index Release Summary.



Workers receiving payments from the Canada Emergency Response Benefit program in 2020

The Canada Emergency Response Benefit program (CERB) was introduced to provide financial support to employees and self-employed workers in Canada who were directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This article examines the proportion of 2019 workers who received CERB payments in 2020 by various characteristics. CERB take-up rates are presented by industry, earnings group in 2019, sex, age group and province, as well as for population groups designated as visible minorities, immigrants and Indigenous people. Some factors that help explain differences in take-up rates among these groups of workers are also examined.



Ganohonyohk (Giving Thanks): Indigenous Prosperity

The Ganohonyohk/Prosperity Research Project explored how seven Indigenous Friendship Centre communities in Ontario understood the concept of prosperity. The guiding research question of “How do urban Indigenous Friendship Centre communities in Ontario view a prosperous/wealthy life?” was used to gauge the meaning of prosperity through a community driven lens.

This strength-based research explores culturally appropriate approaches to urban Indigenous prosperity and considers the role of Friendship Centres in promoting prosperity. It concludes that approaches to Indigenous prosperity need to be context-specific and allow for self-determination in establishing communities’ priorities.



Household economic well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic, experimental estimates, fourth quarter 2020

A highlight of some of the findings reported in this briefing:

  • Disposable income declined for most households in the fourth quarter of 2020, with the largest losses for the lowest-income earners (-10.2%).
  • Compensation of employees—of which wages and salaries make up the largest share—was up in the fourth quarter.
  • The most pronounced wage losses were experienced by the lowest-income (-5.3%) and the youngest (-3.1%) households, as many people in these households work in industries or jobs hard hit by the pandemic.
  • There was a decline in COVID-19-specific support measures and a significant rise in EI benefits in the fourth quarter of 2020.
  • Overall consumption expenditure was down in 2020 compared with 2019.
  • Net saving for many households declined as their disposable income decreased and consumption edged up.
  • The debt-to-income ratio increased the most for households in the lowest income quintile.

 



The effects of child tax benefits on the income of single mothers

The financial resources available to families with young children are an important factor affecting child development, and they can have long-term impacts on socioeconomic outcomes in adulthood.

This article summarizes the findings of a new study using Statistic Canada’s data and analyzes the effects of expanding child tax benefits on after-tax income among single mothers, in the context of the 2015 reform to the Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB) and the 2016 introduction of the Canada Child Benefit (CCB).



Gender differences in employment one year into the COVID-19 pandemic: An analysis by industrial sector and firm size

An important aspect of the impact of COVID-19 is its disproportional impact across gender. This Insights article proposes a year-over-year approach that compares employment from March 2020 to February 2021 to their March-2019-to-February-2020 counterparts. It uses the Labour Force Survey to study gender gaps patterns in employment by industrial sector (goods or services) and firm size.



Impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on productivity growth in Canada

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how production occurs in the economy in two ways. One is the full or partial closure of non-essential activities such as travel, hospitality, arts and entertainment, personal services, airlines, etc. The other is the widespread shift from in-office work to working from home. This Insights article depicts labour productivity growth in Canada and its sources by industry during the COVID-19 pandemic in order to examine the implications these changes may have had on the productivity performance of the economy.



Food Insecurity amid the COVID-19 Pandemic: Food Charity, Government Assistance, and Employment

To mitigate the effects of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the federal government has implemented several financial assistance programs, including unprecedented funding to food charities. Using the Canadian Perspectives Survey Series 2, the demographic, employment, and behavioural characteristics associated with food insecurity in April–May 2020 was examined. One-quarter of job-insecure individuals experienced food insecurity that was strongly associated with pandemic-related disruptions to employment income, major financial hardship, and use of food charity was found, yet the vast majority of food-insecure households did not report receiving any charitable food assistance. Increased financial support for low-income households would reduce food insecurity and mitigate negative repercussions of the pandemic.



Economic impact of COVID-19 among Indigenous people

This article uses data from a recent crowdsourcing data initiative to report on the employment and financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on Indigenous participants. It also examines the extent to which Indigenous participants applied for and received federal income support to alleviate these impacts. As Canada gradually enters a recovery phase, the article concludes by reporting on levels of trust among Indigenous participants on decisions to reopen workplaces and public spaces.



Federal Spending on First Nations and Inuit Health Care

An analysis of provincial/territorial health care funding and funding for First Nations and Inuit by Indigenous Services Canada through the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch.

This report provides an analytical overview of federal and provincial/territorial government health spending for the First Nations and Inuit population.



A labour market snapshot of South Asian, Chinese and Filipino Canadians during the pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the varying labour market experiences and outcomes of diverse groups of Canadians.

To mark Asian Heritage Month, Statistics Canada is providing a profile of the employment characteristics of the three largest Asian populations in Canada: South Asian, Chinese and Filipino Canadians.

Results from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) show that South Asian men are much more likely to be employed than South Asian women, that Chinese Canadians have higher average hourly wages than other visible minority groups, and that Filipino women have among the highest employment rates of all groups, with many working on the front line in the health care sector during the pandemic.

Unless otherwise stated, all data in this article reflect the population aged 15 to 69 during the three months ending in April 2021, and are not seasonally adjusted.



Labour Force Survey, April 2021

April Labour Force Survey (LFS) data reflect labour market conditions during the week of April 11 to 17.



The Wealth of Unattached Men and Women Aged 50 and Older, 1999 to 2016

The evolution of the wealth, assets and debts of various groups of Canadians since the late 1990s has been documented in several studies. Yet little is known about the evolution of the wealth holdings of unattached men and women aged 50 and older, who make up a large part of the population. This study assesses how the wealth holdings of unattached men and women aged 50 and older evolved from 1999 to 2016 using data from the Survey of Financial Security of 1999, 2005, 2012 and 2016, and fills this information gap.



The Economic Reality of The Asian American Pacific Islander Community Is Marked by Diversity and Inequality, Not Universal Success

By most measures of economic success—whether it be income, education, wealth or employment—Asian Americans are doing well in the United States, both when compared to other communities of color as well to White households. But while these measures of success are noteworthy, the way they are collected, analyzed and presented all too often masks the disparate financial situations of the dozens of ethnic subgroups categorized as “Asian American.”

This brief explores some of the misconceptions that feed into broadly held beliefs that all members of the AAPI community are part of one large homogenous and successful group.



Innovations in Financial Capability: Culturally Responsive & Multigenerational Wealth Building Practices in Asian Pacific Islander (API) Communities

The Innovations in Financial Capability report is a collaborative report by National CAPACD and the Institute of Assets and Social Policy (IASP) at Brandeis University’s Heller School for Social Policy and Management, in partnership with Hawaiian Community Assets (HCA), and the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA). This survey report builds upon the 2017 report Foundations for the Future: Empowerment Economics in the Native Hawaiian Context and features the financial capability work of over 40 of our member organizations and other AAPI serving organizations from across the US. IASP’s research found that AAPI leaders are adopting innovative multigenerational and culturally responsive approaches to financial capability programming, but they want and need more supports for their work.



Measuring the Financial Well-Being of Hispanics: 2018 Financial Well-Being Score Benchmarks

This report provides a foundational set of benchmarks of the financial well-being of Hispanics ages 18 and older in the United States in 2018, as measured by the CFPB Financial Well-Being Scale, that practitioners and researchers can use in their work. The benchmarks were developed using data from the FINRA Foundation’s 2018 National Financial Capability Survey. This report specifically shows financial well-being score patterns for Hispanic adults by socio-demographics, financial inclusion, safety nets, and financial literacy factors. The report highlights key findings in the data and the implications for organizations that are planning to use the benchmarks.



Report – Social and economic impacts of COVID-19 on transgender and non-binary people in Canada

A survey led by researchers at Western University explores the experiences of trans and non-binary Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic. Initial research from the Trans PULSE Canada survey highlighted that many trans and non-binary Canadians will avoid seeking necessary health care because of a fear of discrimination. The survey findings also show that trans and non-binary Canadians had disruptions in primary health care, mental health care and gender-affirming care during the pandemic, and a high frequency of interruptions to hormone regimens. They also found that twice as many trans and non-binary people reported that they stopped accessing mental health support than those who started accessing support. The team also looked at the social and economic impacts of the pandemic and found that a majority of trans and non-binary people in Canada are experiencing negative financial and social impacts of COVID-19. Almost 60 per cent of respondents said they their access to trans and non-binary social spaces has decreased.



Canada’s Charities & Nonprofits

This infographic shows the size, scope, and economic contribution of charities and nonprofits across Canada.



Non-Profit Organizations and Volunteering Satellite Account: Human Resources Module, 2010 to 2019

In 2019, non-profit organizations (NPOs)—serving households, businesses and governments—employed 2.5 million people, representing 12.8% of all jobs in Canada. The employment share ranged between 12.4% and 12.8%, increasing during the 2010-to-2019 period.

While the economic and social landscape of Canada is very different at the time of this release than it was in 2019, these data provide a valuable baseline to better understand the potential impacts of COVID-19 in later reference years.



Financial Anxiety and Stress among U.S. Households: New Evidence from the National Financial Capability Study and Focus Groups

The economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis has brought to light the deeply rooted financial struggles that many Americans face. This paper shows that even before the pandemic, a
substantial share of households was already anxious and stressed about their personal finances. The greatest levels of anxiety and stress were expressed by women, young adults,
those with lower income, those with more financially dependent children, those who are not married, and those who are unemployed. In this paper, factors likely contributing
to high levels of financial anxiety and stress are analyzed.



The economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis has brought to light the deeply rooted financial struggles that many Americans face. This paper shows that even before the pandemic, a
substantial share of households was already anxious and stressed about their personal finances. The greatest levels of anxiety and stress were expressed by women, young adults,
those with lower income, those with more financially dependent children, those who are not married, and those who are unemployed. In this paper, factors likely contributing
to high levels of financial anxiety and stress are analyzed.

From Relief to Resilience: Reimagining Investments

The events of 2020 revealed unvarnished truths that demand that philanthropic organizations take action to build economic well-being for all. This long-overdue moment emphasizes the critical need for strategies that provide a range of support to women and Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and Asian people, who are struggling due to deep financial disparities. Today’s disparities are built on, and exacerbated by, long-standing inequities created by structural racism, sexism, and classism, which have limited financial security and overall well-being for those affected. This brief responds to the urgency of this moment, reimagining and building on past recommendations to map more just paths to economic resilience moving forward.



Intersectionality and Economic Justice

Widespread financial precarity for women of color with disabilities existed before the pandemic. Rooted in existing systemic inequities, COVID worsened the situation and created new access barriers.  Race, gender, and disability impact financial stability in complex ways.  Having a disability may increase living costs and limit economic opportunities.  At the same time, women of color face significant disparities in education, income, employment, financial services, and wealth.  Faced with institutional barriers that limit earning and wealth building, disabled women of color are more likely to be unbanked, use alternative financial services, have medical debt, lack access to affordable health care, and experience food insecurity.  Given these challenges and the dire need to address them, this webinar explored:

  • What immediate changes are needed to help increase the financial stability of disabled women of color?
  • What can we do on-the-ground and systemically to better include disabled women of color and move toward intersectional economic justice?



Employment Insurance, February 2021

February Employment Insurance (EI) statistics reflect labour market conditions as of the week of February 14 to 20.

Ahead of the February reference week, non-essential businesses, cultural and recreation facilities, and in-person dining reopened in many provinces, subject to capacity limits and various other public health requirements. Public health measures were relaxed in Quebec, Alberta, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick on February 8, although a curfew remained in effect in Quebec. Measures were loosened in many regions of Ontario on February 10 and 15, although stay-at-home orders remained in place in the health regions of Toronto, Peel, York and North Bay Parry Sound. In Manitoba, various measures were eased on February 12. In contrast, Newfoundland and Labrador reintroduced a lockdown on February 12, requiring the widespread closure of non-essential businesses and services.



A snapshot: Status First Nations people in Canada

This is a custom report produced in collaboration between the Assembly of First Nations and Statistics Canada. It includes a variety of social and economic statistics for Status First Nations people living on and off reserve and includes comparisons with the non-Indigenous population.



Urban, Rural, and Northern Indigenous Housing

This report examines Indigenous housing in urban, rural, and northern areas, an expression which is taken to refer to Indigenous housing in all areas of Canada other than on reserves. This report is intended to provide an analysis of unmet Indigenous housing need and homelessness in these areas, and of government spending to address those issues. The report ends with a range
of estimated costs for addressing housing need to various extents under various programs.
This report was prepared at the request of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities (HUMA).



Impact of the COVID-19 Crisis on Montreal “Cultural Communities”

This exploratory study aims to better understand the challenges experienced by members of cultural communities in Montreal, particularly the most disadvantaged groups, during the COVID-19 pandemic in the Spring of 2020.



Unconnected: Funding Shortfalls, Policy Imbalances and How They Are Contributing to Canada’s Digital Underdevelopment

In an effort to understand the challenges and opportunities facing civil society and community organizations working to improve the quality of Canada’s internet, the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) commissioned research firm The Strategic Counsel to conduct a qualitative and quantitative assessment of stakeholder perceptions of the nation’s digital philanthropy landscape.
The research results show that digital development in Canada is underfunded, piecemeal, ad hoc and unorganized despite stakeholders sharing many of the same goals. The research results show that digital development in Canada is underfunded, piecemeal, ad hoc and unorganized despite stakeholders sharing many of the same goals – the connecting of Canadians to the internet in an affordable and reliable manner so that they can comfortably and knowledgeably participate in an increasingly digital economy and society. The research also found that these goals and the challenges surrounding them have only become more pressing with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, a global crisis that has pushed nearly every aspect of our daily lives online.



Barriers to Digital Equality in Canada

Internet is an essential service. As technology increasingly shapes our world, it is important that Canadians can keep up with the rapid changes, latest skills and emerging industries. Unfortunately, not every resident of Canada is able to access these opportunities to unlock a potentially brighter future.

AIC and ACORN partnered to undertake research with low and moderate income Canadians, in order to uncover the barriers to digital equity that exist in Canada today and shine a light on the urgent need to tackle these barriers to ensure equal access to digital opportunities.



National Report on High Interest Loans

ACORN Canada undertook a study focusing on high interest loans, especially when taken online. For the purpose of the study, high interest loans were defined as loans such as payday loans, installment loans, title loans etc. that are taken from companies/institutions that are not regular banks or credit unions.

The study was conducted to examine the experience of lower-income consumers in the increasingly available online high-cost credit markets.

The study was divided into three phases - conducting a literature review and webscan which was undertaken by Prosper Canada; legislative scan to understand the regulatory framework; and a national survey to capture experiences of people who have taken high interest loans, especially online.



Ongoing Impacts of the COVID-19 Crisis on the Charitable Sector

While most charities have been able to adapt and innovate to continue to offer services and programs to their communities since the onset of the pandemic, the situation remains challenging. For the vast majority of organizations, the constraints and uncertainty of the pandemic, paired with social distancing mandates, are driving significant shifts to organizational priorities. Nearly a year since the onset of the pandemic, the COVID-19 crisis continues to have a significant impact on demand, capacity, and revenue, and is influencing staffing decisions and volunteer contributions.

The crisis is dramatically changing how many organizations operate. Findings from Imagine Canada's second COVID-19 Sector Monitor study show the ongoing effects of the pandemic on the charitable sector.  



The relationship between COVID-19 pandemic and people in poverty: Exploring the impact scale and potential policy responses

This research project aims to identify the relationship between COVID-19 pandemic and poverty in Vancouver, by analyzing how the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed people into poverty and the impact of COVID-19 on people already living in poverty. Several examples of COVID-19 recovery policies and projects being implemented elsewhere that could support people experiencing poverty in Vancouver are also provided.



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.

The Differential Impact of the Pandemic and Recession on Family Finances

This report summarizes the results of a follow-up survey with nineteen low- and modest-middle income Winnipeggers, undertaken in June through September 2020. These respondents were drawn from the 29 Canadian Financial Diaries (CFD) participants who completed a year-long diary in 2019. The results of the survey illustrate that low- and moderate-income earners are feeling stressed with increased expenses and uncertainty about future economic stability.

Children’s Savings Account: Survey of Private and Public Funding 2019

Children’s Savings Account (CSA) programs offer a promising strategy to build a college-bound identity and make post-secondary education an achievable goal for more low- and moderate-income children. CSAs provide children (starting in elementary school or younger) with savings accounts and financial incentives for the purpose of education after high school. Beyond their financial value, CSAs are associated with beneficial effects for children and parents, including improved early child development. child health, maternal mental health, educational expectations, and academic performance. Many of these benefits are strongest for children from low-income families.

This report shares a snapshot of the scale and makeup of the funding for the CSA field in 2019. It follows similar AFN reports on CSA funding in 2014-2015 and 2017 and captures the following data on CSA programs’ financial support in calendar year 2019:

  • Private and public financial investments.
  • Private and public in-kind contributions.
  • Intended uses of funds.



Proposals for a Northern Market Basket Measure and its disposable income

As stated in the Poverty Reduction Act, the Market Basket Measure (MBM) is now Canada’s Official Poverty Line. The Northern Market Basket Measure (MBM-N) is an adaptation of the MBM that reflects life and conditions in two of the territories – Yukon and Northwest TerritoriesNote. As with the MBM, the MBM-N is comprised of five major components: food, clothing, transportation, shelter and other necessities. The MBM-N is intended to capture the spirit of the existing MBM (i.e., represent a modest, basic standard of living) while accounting for adjustments to the contents of the MBM to reflect life in the North.

This discussion paper describes a proposed methodology for the five components found in the MBM-N, as well as its disposable income. This discussion paper also provides an opportunity for feedback and comments on the proposed methodology of the MBM-N.



Investing and The COVID-19 Pandemic: Survey of Canadian Investors

The Investor Office conducted this study to further our understanding of the experiences and behaviours of retail investors during the COVID-19 Pandemic. The study explored several topics including the financial preparedness, savings behaviour, financial situations, changing preference, and trading activity of retail investors. Key findings include that 32 per cent of investors have experienced a decline in their financial situation during the pandemic while 16 per cent have experienced an improvement. Half of investors have not done any trading during the pandemic, but of those who have been trading, 63 per cent have increased their holdings.



Canadians’ Well-being in Year One of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Given the scope and the diversity of the reports and studies that examined the impacts of the pandemic on well-being, it can be challenging to absorb and understand all the ways in which quality of life has been affected by COVID-19. The well-being literature offers an approach that may help.

This report brings together diverse findings that illuminate changes in quality of life since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and provides valuable insights through examining these results through a well-being lens. Several widely used frameworks exist to describe the dimensions of well-being, such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Framework for Measuring Well-Being and Progress.



Financial Well-Being: A Conceptual Model and Preliminary Analysis

Based on an extensive literature review and re-analysis of existing qualitative data, this report offers a working definition and an a priori conceptual model of financial well-being and its possible determinants. Using survey data from Norway (2016), ten regression models have been conducted to identify the key drivers of financial well-being and enhance the understanding of the underlying mechanisms responsible for the unequal spread of well-being across the population. The preliminary analyses in this report were consistent with both the definition and the model, albeit with some nuances and unexplained effects.

The empirical analysis identified three sub-domains of financial well-being. It was found that all three measures share three behaviours as their main drivers: ‘active saving’, ‘spending restraints’ and ‘not borrowing for daily expenses’. Also, ‘locus of control’ stood out as an important explanatory variable, with significant impacts on all three levels of well-being. Beyond that, some distinguishing characteristics were identified for each of the measures.

Measuring Health Equity: Demographic Data Collection in Health Care

The Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network (Toronto Central LHIN) provided financial support to establish the Measuring Health Equity Project and has called for recommendations on health equity data use and a sustainability approach for future data collection.

This report describes the journey Toronto Central LHIN and Sinai Health System have taken to embed demographic data collection in hospitals and Community Health Centres. It also summarizes the potential impact of embedding demographic data collection into Ontario health-care delivery and planning. And finally, it describes the use of this data, the lessons learned, and provides recommendations for moving forward.



Building Understanding: The First Report of the National Advisory Council on Poverty

In August 2018, the Government of Canada announced Opportunity for All – Canada's First Poverty Reduction Strategy. The Strategy included a commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goal's target of reducing poverty by 20% by 2020 and 50% by 2030. Opportunity for All included the adoption of the Market Basket Measure (MBM) as Canada's Official Poverty Line and the creation of the National Advisory Council on Poverty (Council) to report on progress made toward the poverty reduction targets.

This is the first report of the National Advisory Council on Poverty. It continues Canada's discussion on poverty by bringing forward the voices of individuals with lived expertise of poverty. It details progress toward our poverty targets and recommends improvements to our poverty reduction efforts.



Study: A labour market snapshot of Black Canadians during the pandemic

In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, many Canadians, including Black Canadians, have experienced significant economic hardship, while others put themselves at risk through their work in essential industries such as health care and social assistance.

Statistics Canada looked at how the 1 million Black Canadians aged 15 to 69 are faring in the labour market during one of the most disruptive times in our economic history. Analysis of the recent labour market situation of population groups designated as visible minorities is now possible as a result of a new question added to the Labour Force Survey (LFS) in July 2020.

Unless otherwise stated, all data in this release are unadjusted for seasonality and are based on three-month averages ending in January 2021.



Aboriginal Peoples Survey: Data tables, 2017

New data tables on the labour activities of Indigenous Peoples are now available.

Data are from the 2017 Aboriginal Peoples Survey and include information on labour force status, job satisfaction, skills training, skills that limit job opportunities, job permanency, part-time or full-time job status, mismatch of skills for current job, disability status and disability severity class, by Indigenous identity, age group and sex.

Data are available for Canada, the provinces (Atlantic provinces combined) and the territories.



Longitudinal Immigration Database: Asylum claimant and immigrant economic region tables, 2018

Tables on the income and mobility of immigrants by economic region, and a table on asylum claimant economic outcomes, are now available. These tables use data from the Longitudinal Immigration Database.

 



Aspects of quality of employment in Canada, February and March 2020

The labour market in Canada has experienced unprecedented changes over the last 12 months. Entire sectors of the economy have been subject to temporary restrictions on business activities as a result of public health measures aimed at limiting the spread of COVID-19. At the same time, many workers have seen changes in working conditions, such as teleworking, reduced work hours and greater job insecurity.

From mid-February to mid-March 2020, the 2020 Survey on Quality of Employment (SQE) collected information on aspects of job quality in Canada from the perspective of workers. Estimates reflect employment characteristics before the full onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and contribute to establishing a baseline for future analysis of quality of employment in Canada. Unless otherwise stated, the analysis focuses on the 23.5 million workers who were employed in February or March 2020 or who had last worked in 2018 or after, and excludes unpaid family workers.



Longitudinal Immigration Database: Immigrant children and census metropolitan area tables, 2018

The most recent 2018 data from the Longitudinal Immigration Database (IMDB) indicate that immigrant children make a significant contribution to Canadian society and the Canadian economy over time. Although immigrant children (32.2%) are more than twice as likely as non-immigrant children (15.4%) to live in low-income households, factors such as the opportunity to be educated in the Canadian system and an increased proficiency in the official languages help immigrant children attain wages in adulthood similar to those of their Canadian-born peers.

This analysis connects the characteristics of immigrants who came to Canada as children with their adulthood socioeconomic outcomes in 2018, such as participation in postsecondary education and median wages. The IMDB provides a long-term perspective on immigrants and their socioeconomic outcomes in Canada, offering details on how immigration is shaping Canada's future. In addition, these data from 2018 contribute to baseline estimates in preparation for future research on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on immigrant children, including immigrant children admitted during the pandemic, their adjustment period and their long-term socioeconomic outcomes in adulthood.



Financial Education Affects Financial Knowledge and Downstream Behaviors

This study covers the rapidly growing literature on the causal effects of financial education programs in a meta-analysis of 76 randomized experiments with a total sample size of over 160,000 individuals. The evidence shows that financial education programs have, on average, positive causal treatment effects on financial knowledge and downstream financial behaviors. Treatment effects are economically meaningful in size, similar to those realized by educational interventions in other domains and are at least three times as large as the average effect documented in earlier work. These results are robust to the method used, restricting the sample to papers published in top economics journals, including only studies with adequate power, and accounting for publication selection bias in the literature. The study concludes with a discussion of the cost-effectiveness of financial education interventions.



The TIAA Institute-GFLEC Personal Finance Index (P-Fin Index)

The TIAA Institute-GFLEC Personal Finance Index (P-Fin Index) measures knowledge and understanding that enable sound financial decision making and effective management of personal finances among U.S. adults. The P-Fin Index is an annual survey developed by the TIAA Institute and the Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center, in consultation with Greenwald & Associates. It is unique in its breadth of questions and its coverage of the topics that measure financial literacy. The index is based on responses to 28 questions across eight functional areas: earning, consuming, saving, investing, borrowing/managing debt, insuring, comprehending risk, and go-to information sources.



Growing household financial instability: Is income volatility the hidden culprit?

On March 9th, 2018, leading American and Canadian researchers and policy makers from all sectors gathered in Toronto to explore the question: Growing household financial instability: Is income volatility the hidden culprit? The policy research symposium was an invitational event co-hosted by the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) and Prosper Canada. Its purpose was to shine a light on an issue that has gained prominence in US economic and policy circles but was just emerging as a topic for exploration in Canada in the context of
growing household financial instability.

This report summarizes key insights, conclusions and next steps from the symposium in the hopes that it will inform, catalyse and support further action on this issue. To view the conference agenda and links to all conference presentations, please see Appendix 1. Presentation videos can be found online at
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLC0J2kAG0MZZ5gd_6ZaHjqqEcenL2jCtP



Yukon Poverty Report Card 2020

This report was released as part of public education movement Campaign 2000's annual assessment of child and family poverty in Canada, providing an overview of the following key issues relating to poverty in Yukon:

  • the housing crisis and the challenge of food insecurity with a focus of the disproportionate impact on children and youth, Indigenous peoples, and others.
  • an overview of previous initiatives and ongoing work that can be leveraged to support a comprehensive approach to reducing poverty in the Yukon.
  • a description of some successful community-driven initiatives that are supporting improvements in the health and wellness of Yukoners.
  • ten recommendations including several policy proposals to improve the health and wellness of children, youth, and families specifically.



NWT Market Basket Measure

The Market Basket Measure (MBM) is a national measure of low income based on the cost of a fixed basket of goods that represents a modest, basic standard of living.  It includes the cost of food, clothing and footwear, transportation, shelter, and other expenses for a reference family of two adults (aged 25 to 49) and two children (aged 9 and 13).

The Northwest Territories Market Basket Measure (NWT-MBM) adjusts the clothing portion of the national basket to better represent life in the North.  This has been used to calculate the NWT-MBM for regional centres across the NWT.



The Cost of Poverty in the Atlantic Provinces

This report costs poverty based on three broad measurable components: opportunity costs, remedial costs and intergenerational costs. The authors state that these costs could potentially be reallocated, and benefits could potentially be realized if all poverty were eliminated. The total cost of poverty in the Atlantic region ranges from $2 billion per year in Nova Scotia to $273 million in Prince Edward Island. It is close to a billion in Newfoundland and Labrador, $959 million, and $1.4 billion in New Brunswick. These costs represent a significant loss of economic growth of 4.76% of Nova Scotia’s GDP to 2.9% in Newfoundland and Labrador. The impact on Prince Edward Island’s GDP is 4.10%, and 3.71% in New Brunswick.
The purpose of this costing exercise is to illustrate the shared economic burden of poverty, and the urgency that exists for Atlantic Canadian governments to act to eradicate it.



Distributional and Fiscal Analysis of a National Guaranteed Basic Income

Several parliamentarians requested that the PBO prepare a distributional analysis of Guaranteed Basic Income using parameters set out in Ontario’s basic income pilot project, examine the impact across income quintiles, family types and gender, and identify the net federal revenue increase required to offset the net cost of the new program. This analysis also accounts for the behavioural response.



Roadblocks and Resilience

This report, Roadblocks and Resilience Insights from the Access to Benefits for Persons with Disabilities project, provides insights on the barriers people with disabilities in British Columbia face in accessing key income benefits. These insights, and the accompanying service principles that participants identified, were obtained by reviewing existing research, directly engaging 16 B.C. residents with disabilities and interviewing 18 researchers and service providers across Canada. We will use these insights to inform development and testing of a pilot service to support people with disabilities to access disability benefits.

The related journey map Common steps to get disability benefits also illustrates the complexities of this benefits application process. 

This journey map illustrates the process of applying for the Disability Tax Credit.

The journey map Persons with Disability (PWD) status illustrates the process of preparing for and applying for and maintaining Persons with Disabilities Status and disability assistance in B.C.



Housing insecurity and the COVID-19 pandemic

CFPB released their first analysis of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on housing in the United States. Actions taken by both the public and private sector have, so far, prevented many families from losing their homes during the height of the public health crisis. However, as legal protections expire in the months ahead, over 11 million families — nearly 10 percent of U.S. households — are at risk of eviction and foreclosure.



Disability Inclusion Analysis of Lessons Learned and Best Practices of the Government of Canada’s Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

This report provides the findings of research conducted to assist Employment and Social Development Canada in identifying good or best practices and lessons learned from the response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada.

Conducted in partnership with the DisAbled Women’s Network of Canada (DAWN), this research helps us better understand how diverse people with disabilities in Canada have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the effects of government COVID-19 measures on diverse people with disabilities in Canada.



Overcoming Digital Divides Workshop Series: Framing Paper

Canada’s digital divide has often been narrowly defined as the gap that exists between urban and rural broadband internet availability — Canadian urban centres have significantly greater internet subscription levels at faster speeds than rural communities.(Government of Canada, 2019). The cost of building new internet infrastructure in less developed areas continues to impede equitable access to sufficient internet services.

This series aims to engage people living in Canada, industry, academia and policymakers to advance a deeper, more nuanced understanding of the circumstances that precipitate the conditions that shape digital inequities in Canada. Through expert panel discussions and thoughtful participatory dialogue, the series aims to drive toward innovative solutions to greater digital inclusion across Canada. The series will be presented in six parts, each tackling a specific theme with unique concerns. The series will also build on intersectional connections across themes while identifying new issues and impacted communities. 



Homeless Shelter Flows in Calgary and the Potential Impact of COVID-19

Social distancing and self-isolation are two of the key responses asked of citizens during a pandemic. For people without a home, this advice is rather more difficult to follow. This article uses daily data describing the movements of 36,855 unique individuals who used emergency homeless shelters in Calgary over the period 1 January 2014–31 December 2019. The use of emergency shelters is characterized by large flows from and into the broader community and smaller flows between individual shelters. Between admissions of new people into the shelter system and multiple re-admissions of current clients, there were an average of 43,613 movements between the community and between shelters each month. The size of these flows provide a measure of the extent to which people reliant on homeless shelters are exposed to the risk of transmission of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). 



Cross Canada Check-up (updated March 2021)

Canada ranks consistently as one of the best places to live in the world and one of the wealthiest. When it comes to looking at the financial health of Canadian households, however, we are often forced to rely on incomplete measures, like income alone, or aggregate national statistics that tell us little about the distribution of financial health and vulnerability in our neighbourhoods, communities or provinces/territories.

The purpose of this report is to examine the financial heath and vulnerability of Canadian households in different provinces and territories using a new composite index of household financial health, the Neighbourhood Financial Health Index or NFHI.

This report is an update of Cross Canada Check-up: Provincial/territorial findings from Canada's Neighbourhood Financial Health Index published in 2018.