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.



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.



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.



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. 



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.



Strengthening Canada’s External Complaint Handling System

Canada’s external complaint handing structures and processes play a critical role in levelling the playing field for consumers and financial service providers, helping to offset the inevitable imbalance of power between large financial institutions and individual consumers. Prosper Canada welcomes the opportunity to provide recommendations for strengthening what is currently a weak and inadequate alternative dispute resolution system.



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.



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.



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.  



Make Change that Counts: National Financial Literacy Strategy 2021-2026

The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada’s (FCAC’s) mandate is to protect Canadian financial consumers and strengthen financial literacy. 

The National Strategy is a 5-year plan to create a more accessible, inclusive, and effective financial ecosystem that supports diverse Canadians in meaningful ways. The National Strategy is focused on how financial literacy stakeholders can reduce barriers, catalyze action, and work together, to collectively help Canadians build financial resilience.



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.



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).



Designing a remote financial help service

Amidst the COVID-19 lockdown, community service agencies across Canada have had to rapidly adapt the way they engage and support people in the community. ​ A growing number of Canadians need (or soon will need) support as they deal with the financial strain brought on by an unprecedented global pandemic. ​Community agencies would like to help connect people to support and there is increased interest in how to deliver that support remotely. ​

Over a nine-month period beginning mid 2020, and with funding from Capital One, Prosper Canada worked alongside service design firm Bridgeable and community agencies in Manitoba, British Columbia, and Ontario to study the remote delivery of financial help services in each setting. The research was followed by a period of learning, sharing and data collection reflected in the reports and toolkit published here.



Reports
These slide decks describe the goals and outcomes of this project.
Socialization deck: Supporting the design of a remote financial help service (Bridgeable)

Client Journey maps
These journey maps offer a visual explanation of the process used by the 3 participating community agencies offering one-on-one client support.
Family Services of Greater Vancouver
SEED Winnipeg
Thunder Bay Counselling

Toolkit
This toolkit was developed in collaboration with community partners, and shares tools for coaches and clients in the virtual one-on-one process.
Virtual service delivery tools (Toolkit)

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.



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.



Cash Back: A Yellowhead Institute Red Paper

This report looks at how the dispossession of Indigenous lands nearly destroyed Indigenous economic livelihoods and discusses restitution from the perspective of stolen wealth.



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.



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.

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.

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.



Impacts of the Covid-19 Pandemic on Women: Report of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have been profound and far-reaching. Beyond endangering the health of Canadians, the pandemic has worsened inequalities among groups of people. Women, girls and gender-diverse people have faced unique challenges during the pandemic.

The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada take various actions to assist women, girls and gender-diverse people during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Many recommendations relate to improving women’s health and labour force participation. Some recommendations focus specifically on women’s paid and unpaid care work. The Committee also recommends interventions to help reduce trafficking and violence against women.



Budget 2021: A Recovery Plan for Jobs, Growth, and Resilience



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.



2020 Second Annual Report of the Disability Advisory Committee

In November 2017, the Minister of National Revenue, the Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, announced the creation of the Disability Advisory Committee to provide advice to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) on interpreting and administering tax measures for persons with disabilities in a fair, transparent and accessible manner. The committee’s full mandate is attached as Appendix A. Key disability tax measures are described in Appendix B.

Our first annual report, Enabling access to disability tax measures, was published in May 2019. Since that time, we believe there has been important progress with respect to the administration of and communications about the disability tax credit (DTC). Our second annual report describes in detail the many improvements that the CRA has introduced over the past year in response to the recommendations in our 2019 report. These changes are summarized in “The Client Experience” on the following pages.

Section 1 of this second annual report presents a review of the 42 recommendations made in our first annual report. Each recommendation summarizes the relevant context and associated follow-up actions.

Section 2 covers the new areas of conversation during the second year of our mandate. Selected topics focus, for example, on DTC data, concerns of Indigenous peoples and eligibility for a registered disability savings plan.

Section 3 includes the appendices, which provide details not covered in the text.



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.



Opportunity for All – Canada’s First Poverty Reduction Strategy

Canada is a prosperous country, yet in 2015 roughly 1 in 8 Canadians lived in poverty. The vision of Opportunity for All – Canada's First Poverty Reduction Strategy is a Canada without poverty, because we all suffer when our fellow citizens are left behind. We are all in this together, from governments, to community organizations, to the private sector, to all Canadians who are working hard each and every day to provide for themselves and their families.

For the first time in Canada's history, the Strategy sets an official measure of povertyCanada's Official Poverty Line, based on the cost of a basket of goods and services that individuals and families require to meet their basic needs and achieve a modest standard of living in communities across the country.

Opportunity for All sets, for the first time, ambitious and concrete poverty reduction targets: a 20% reduction in poverty by 2020 and a 50% reduction in poverty by 2030, which, relative to 2015 levels, will lead to the lowest poverty rate in Canada's history.

Through Opportunity for All, we are putting in place a National Advisory Council on Poverty to advise the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development on poverty reduction and to publicly report, in each year, on the progress that has been made toward poverty reduction.

The Government also proposes to introduce the first Poverty Reduction Act in Parliament in Canada’s history. This Act would entrench the targets, Canada's Official Poverty Line, and the Advisory Council into legislation.



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.



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.



2021 Reports of the Auditor General of Canada to the Parliament of Canada – Report 4 – Canada Child Benefit

A report from Auditor General Karen Hogan concludes that the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) managed the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) program so that millions of eligible families received accurate and timely payments. The audit also reviewed the one-time additional payment of up to $300 per child issued in May 2020 to help eligible families during the COVID‑19 pandemic.

The audit noted areas where the agency could improve the administration of the program by changing how it manages information it uses to assess eligibility to the CCB. For example, better use of information received from other federal organizations would help ensure that the agency is informed when a beneficiary has left the country. This would avoid cases where payments are issued on the basis of outdated information. To enhance the integrity of the program, the agency should request that all applicants provide a valid proof of birth when they apply for the benefit.

The audit also raised the concept of female presumption and noted that given the diversity of families in Canada today, this presumption has had an impact on the administration of the Canada Child Benefit program.



Creating Change: Momentum’s Contribution to High-Cost Credit Reform in Alberta

As part of Momentum’s systems change planning process that was grounded in both participant and community experience, the issue of payday loans and other forms of high-cost credit (e.g., pawn, installment, rent-to-own, title and car loans) emerged as a priority issue for Momentum to address the financial barriers for people living on low incomes to exit poverty and build sustainable livelihoods.
To evaluate its work for high-cost credit reform in Calgary and Alberta in the period of 2012 to 2019, an outcome harvest was conducted. This evaluation reflects the collective efforts of multiple partners, identifies outcomes achieved as well as Momentum’s contribution to these outcomes.



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.



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. 



Family violence in Canada: A statistical profile, 2019

Family violence in Canada: A statistical profile is an annual report produced by the Canadian Centre for Justice and Community Safety Statistics at Statistics Canada as part of the Federal Family Violence Initiative. Since 1998, this report has provided data on the nature and extent of family violence in Canada, as well as an analysis of trends over time. The information presented is used extensively to monitor changes that inform policy makers and the public.



COVID-19 in Canada: A One-year Update on Social and Economic Impacts

This summary provides highlights on the work the Agency has and is undertaking using existing and new data sources to provide critical insights on the social and economic impacts of COVID-19 on Canadians. It covers the first year of the pandemic from March 2020 to March 2021.



Study: Association between food insecurity and stressful life events among Canadian adults

The COVID-19 pandemic and the related business closures and lockdowns have given rise to a series of unprecedented socioeconomic and health-related challenges, one of which is increasing food insecurity.

Throughout the pandemic, Statistics Canada has continued to collect and release data on food insecurity in Canada—including exploring the link between food insecurity and mental healthfinancial stability and Indigenous people living in urban areas.

This study looks at the characteristics of food insecure Canadians, focusing on how losing a job, suffering an injury or illness, or a combination of events can increase the risk of food insecurity. This release compares the food security outcomes of two different subpopulations: those who had experienced a stressful life event and those who had not.



Social Determinants of Health: The Canadian Facts (2nd edition)

Social Determinants of Health: The Canadian Facts, 2nd edition, provides Canadians with an updated introduction to the social determinants of our health. We first explain how living conditions “get under the skin” to either promote health or cause disease. We then explain, for each of the 17 social determinants of health:

  1. Why it is important to health;
  2. How we compare on the social determinant of health to other wealthy developed nations; and
  3. How the quality of the specific social determinant can be improved.

Improving the health of Canadians is possible but requires Canadians to think about health and its determinants in a more sophisticated manner than has been the case to date. The purpose of this second edition of Social Determinants of Health: The Canadian Facts is to stimulate research, advocacy, and public debate about the social determinants of health and means of improving their quality and making their distribution more equitable.



10: A Guide for a Community-Based COVID-19 Recovery

Our cities and communities are where people live. It is here we see the effects of public policy and it is here where we will address the issues that matter most to Canadians. The choices made today will impact Canada’s recovery from COVID-19. If we want a future where our cities are thriving, we need to work together to achieve a collective community-based response. We are all in this together and it will take all of us in a community to find our way through.

If you are a community leader, such as a mayor, an elected official, a business leader, a community activist, or a concerned citizen, this guide was written for you. We created it to be accessible and easy to use, with five sections and links to resources throughout.



Trends in Intergenerational Income Mobility and Income Inequality in Canada

In this paper, administrative Canadian tax data are exploited to compute measures of intergenerational income mobility at the national, provincial and territorial levels. This work provides detailed descriptive evidence on trends in social mobility. Five cohorts of Canadians, born between 1963 and 1985, are observed as teens living with their parents and again as adults in their late 20s and early 30s.



Economic Security Programs Reduce Overall Poverty, Racial and Ethnic Inequities

Economic security programs such as Social Security, food assistance, tax credits, and housing assistance can help provide opportunity by ameliorating short-term poverty and hardship and, by doing so, improving children’s long-term outcomes. Over the last half-century, these assistance programs have reduced poverty for millions of people in the United States — including children, who are highly susceptible to poverty’s ill effects.

At the same time, barriers to opportunity, including discrimination and disparities in access to employment, education, and health care, remain enormous and keep poverty rates much higher for some racial and ethnic groups than others. While government programs have done much to narrow these disparities in poverty, further progress will require stronger government efforts to reduce poverty and discrimination and build opportunity for all.



Testing the use of the Mint app in an interactive personal finance module

To advance understanding of effective financial education methods, the Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center (GFLEC) conducted an experiment using Mint, a financial improvement tool offered by Intuit, whose financial products include TurboTax and QuickBooks. This study measures Mint’s effectiveness at improving students’ financial knowledge, attitudes, and behavior. Students at the George Washington University participated in a half-day budgeting workshop and were exposed to either Mint, which is a real-time, automated platform, or Excel, which is an offline, static tool. 

The authors found that participation in both workshops was associated with improved preparedness to have conversations about money matters with parents, a greater sense of financial autonomy, and an increased awareness of the importance of budgeting, but that participants in the Mint workshop were more likely to have a positive experience using the budgeting tool, to feel confident that they could achieve a financial goal, and to be engaged in budgeting one month after the workshop. Results show that even short financial education interventions can meaningfully influence students’ financial attitudes and behavior and that an interactive tool like Mint may have advantages over a more static tool like Excel. 



The Inequality of Poverty

This report explores the connections between low income, poverty and protected characteristics, how these can shape the experience of poverty, and whether this can result in a similar inequality in terms of when and how poverty premiums are incurred. COVID-19 has thrown light on the link between insecure work, low incomes and protected characteristics, with an opportunity for this link to be formally recognised. The pandemic, and the economic consequences look likely to throw many more people into poverty, and this poverty is falling hardest on those with protected characteristics.

Investing in Financial Coaching with a Racial Equity Lens

In this moment, it is pivotal for philanthropy to support communities of color in achieving financial well-being. Combined with systems-change efforts that would create fairer economic opportunities and conditions, financial coaching is a vital component of providing needed support. Through background information, case stories, and key investment considerations, this brief focuses on financial coaching with a racial equity lens as an important strategy for helping people of color achieve equitable outcomes.



The COVID-19 pandemic and Indigenous people with a disability or long-term condition

This paper uses crowdsourced data to provide an overview of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the health, service access, and ability to meet basic needs of Indigenous participants with disabilities or long-term conditions. Changes in overall health and mental health are examined by disability type, age group and sex. The most commonly reported service disruptions since the start of the pandemic are also presented.

The crowdsourcing data reflected health and other disparities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous participants with a disability or long-term condition. Indigenous participants were more likely to report worsened overall health and mental health, service disruption, and a greater impact on their ability to meet essential needs.



Report on the Charities Program 2018 to 2020

The charitable sector is a major social and economic force, offering vital services to Canadians and people around the world. The Canada Revenue Agency's Charities Directorate employs an education-first approach and client-centric philosophy. It aims to promote compliance with the charity-related income tax legislation and regulations in order to support charitable giving and development of the sector, while protecting charities and the public from abuse.

This report provides an update on the Directorate’s activities over the past two years, including the initial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.



State of Fair Banking in Canada 2020: Borrower and Lender Perspectives

The DUCA Impact Lab defines fair banking as any financial product or service that lives up to the following set of principles:

  • Pricing is clear, transparent, and well understood
  • Pricing is representative of the cost of funds, cost of administration and risk, rather than what the market will bear
  • It is clear to all parties how any personal data is being used by the lender
  • Personal data is only used for purposes agreed to by both the borrower and lender
  • The terms and conditions, including penalties and the rights of each party are clearly explained and well understood by both lender and borrower
  • Products are only recommended that will bring the borrower closer to their expressed goals
  • The borrower is clear on what the institution will do (and not do), with deposits to earn a return
  • The assessment of risk is objective, transparent and not prejudicial
  • Financial institution recommendations are not biased towards in-house product recommendations
  • Products empower consumers when they need access to financial services, not just when they do not

Their Fair Banking 2020 report presents data on the following areas:

  • Debt load and its impact on Canadians
  • Financial confidence
  • Divide between borrowers and lenders
  • How financial products are priced
  • Poor credit and ability to access to financial product and services
  • Demographic snapshot: People of colour and Indigenous Canadians

 



Pandemic to Prosperity – January 21, 2021: One year after the first announcement of Covid on U.S. soil

The National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC) developed the Pandemic to Prosperity series. It builds on NCoC’s data infrastructure and advocacy network developed for its national Civic Health Index, with The New Orleans Index, which informed many public and private decisions and actions post-Katrina. This series is designed to enable a solid understanding of the damage to lives and livelihoods as the pandemic continues to unfold, as the United States enters the era of vaccines, and the nation grapples with new shocks and stressors such as disasters and civil unrest; it will also examine aspirational goals around strong and accountable government, functioning institutions from child care to internet access to local news availability, effective civic participation, and outcomes for people by race regarding employment, health, housing, and more. With each new report in the series, indicators will change as the recovery transitions. This report highlights mostly state-level metrics with breakdowns by race, gender, and age where available, relying on both public and private data sources.



Together BC: British Columbia’s Poverty Reduction Strategy

 British Columbia’s Poverty Reduction Strategy, sets a path to reduce overall poverty in B.C. by 25% and child poverty by 50% by 2024.

With investments from across Government, TogetherBC reflects government’s commitment to reduce poverty and make life more affordable for British Columbians. It includes policy initiatives and investments designed to lift people up, break the cycle of poverty and build a better B.C. for everyone.

Built on the principles of Affordability, Opportunity, Reconciliation, and Social Inclusion, TogetherBC focuses on six priority action areas:

  • More affordable housing for more people
  • Supporting families, children and youth
  • Expanding access to education and training
  • More opportunities, more jobs
  • Improving income supports
  • Investing in social inclusion



Mapping Toronto’s Digital Divide

This report analyzes Toronto's home internet and device access, quality, affordability, and usage, during pandemic closures of businesses, schools, and community organizations.

Read this report to help you:

  • Understand the demographics and geographies of who is not connected or cannot afford home internet in Toronto, with comparisons to provincial and national data, how they get online, and where in Toronto they live. 
  • Unpack the digital divide beyond basic access: speed, affordability, quality, and devices per household member.
  • Identify gaps in existing programs and services meant to close the digital divide.



Food insecurity and mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic

Canadians living in households that experienced food insecurity (insecure or inadequate access to food because of financial constraints) during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic were significantly more likely to perceive their mental health as fair or poor and to report moderate or severe anxiety symptoms than Canadians in food-secure households. Approximately one in seven Canadians (14.6%) were estimated to live in a food-insecure household in May 2020.

This study, released in Health Reports, is the first to examine the association between household food insecurity and self-perceived mental health and anxiety among Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic. The study also estimated that 9.3% of Canadians living in food-insecure households reported having recently accessed free food or meals from a community organization.



Tax Time: An opportunity to Start Small and Save Up

This paper provides a description of how having liquid savings contributes to people’s financial stability and resiliency, and the unique opportunity that tax time offers to begin saving for the short and longer term. Starting to save or continuing to save when receiving a tax refund may lead to longer term financial well-being. 

This paper also provides a few examples of how Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) programs creatively used Bureau tools, resources and technical assistance to encourage savings as well as some of the results they reported. It provides insights from a subgroup of the programs in the cohort that collected additional information from consumers on their intent to save, the various types of accounts into which they saved, and the goals they were striving for by saving. Finally, this paper offers recommendations on some strategies that can be employed to increase people’s interest and commitment to saving during the tax preparation process. 



2019 Financial Literacy Annual Report

The 2019 Financial Literacy Annual Report of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau highlights the Bureau’s Start Small, Save Up campaign, the Office of Financial Education’s foundational research, in conjunction with the Office of Older Americans, to understand the pathways to financial well-being, the Office of Servicemembers Affairs’ Misadventures in Money Management online training program, the Office of Older Americans’ Managing Someone Else’s Money guides, and the Office of Community Affairs’ Your Money, Your Goals toolkit, along with other direct to consumer tools, community outreach channels, and areas of research.



Planning for tax-time savings

This report presents the results of a large-scale field experiment that the tax preparation company H&R Block (the Company) conducted in collaboration with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (the CFPB). The field experiment investigated whether customers could be encouraged, through consumer communications with and without the offer of a small financial incentive, to use a savings feature on a prepaid card to save a portion of their tax refunds from all sources, including state and federal refunds. The CFPB was particularly interested in whether consumers who receive the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) would be receptive to messages about saving. 



2020 Financial Literacy Annual Report

The 2020 Financial Literacy Annual Report details the United States' Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection's financial literacy strategy and activities to improve the financial literacy of consumers. Congress specifically charged the Bureau with conducting financial education programs and ensuring consumers receive timely and understandable information to make responsible decisions about financial transactions. Empowering consumers to help themselves, protect their own interests, and choose the financial products and services that best fit their needs is vital to preventing consumer harm and building financial well-being. Overall, this report describes the Bureau’s efforts in a broad range of financial literacy areas relevant to consumers’ financial lives. It highlights our work, including the Bureau's:

  • Response to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Pivot to financial resilience
  • Start Small, Save Up campaign
  • Foundational research to understand the pathways to financial well-being
  • Misadventures in Money Management online training program
  • Managing Someone Else’s Money guides
  • Your Money, Your Goals toolkit
  • Paying for College tool
  • Direct to consumer tools, community outreach channels, and areas of research



Retirement Security and Financial Decision-making: Research Brief

A growing number of retirees are not experiencing the expected gradual reduction in spending after they retire. This report summarizes the findings of a Bureau study into whether people who retired between 1992 and 2014 had the income, savings, and/or non-housing assets to maintain the same level of spending for at least five consecutive years after retiring. The study found that about half of people who retired between 1992 and 2014 had income, savings, and/or non-housing assets to maintain the same spending level for five consecutive years after retiring. In addition, the Bureau found that the ability to maintain the same spending level in the first five years in retirement was associated with large spending cuts in later years. The study helps identify ways to protect retirees from overspending their savings in early retirement.



Debt Relief Options in Canada – Long Term Outcome Comparison

This research report compares the long-term financial outcomes of Canadians, based on a study comparing consumers who used a debt management program (DMP), bankruptcy (BK), or a consumer proposal (CP) to obtain relief from debt.



Financial Life Stages of Older Canadians

This study, commissioned by the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) and conducted by the Brondesbury Group, provides some insights on the knowledge that older Canadians have about the financial realities of retirement and how they would apply that knowledge earlier in life if they are able to do so. The top financial concerns and main financial risks of older Canadians are identified for each life stage and how they are being managed are discussed.



Behavioural insights: key concepts, applications and regulatory considerations

There are numerous factors that influence the decisions that people make. Behavioural insights (BI) recognizes this and, through a combination of psychology, economic and more recently other behavioural research, examines how people are often neither deliberate nor rational in their decisions in the way that traditional models, strategies and policies assume.

Behavioural insights recognize how people actually behave versus traditional economic and market theory of people as rational actors. This report discusses how leading practitioners and regulators around the world are using behavioural insights to address issues in capital markets and improve outcomes for investors and market participants.



Encouraging Retirement Planning through Behavioural Insights

This research report identifies behaviourally informed ways that government, regulators, employers, and financial institutions can encourage retirement planning.

Thirty different initiatives and tactics that could be implemented by a variety of stakeholders to encourage retirement planning are proposed, and interventions are organized around four primary challenges people face in moving from having the intention to create a retirement plan to the action of making a plan: (1) it’s hard to start, (2) it’s easy to put off, (3) it’s easy to get overwhelmed and drop out, and (4) it’s hard to get the right advice.

 

The report also includes the results of a randomized experiment that evaluated several of the approaches proposed in the report. This report was published as part of the Ontario Securities Commission’s strategy and action plan to respond to the needs and priorities of Ontario seniors.



Cash Value: How The Financial Clinic Puts Money into the Pockets of Working Poor Families

Practitioners engaged in the nascent field of financial development lack a shared system of tracking and analyzing customer progress toward financial security. Practice leaders—ranging from direct service organizations such as the Chicago-based LISC to NeighborWorks America of Washington, D.C.—define customer progress by their individual outcomes frameworks. But without uniform outcomes measures to assess our customers’ progress—and thus, our own performance—the field as a whole is handicapped. Many factors contribute to this problem, two being most prominent: organizations are grounded in distinct theories of change, are funded by a variety of sources with their own expectations, and lack of clarity about how to measure aspects of our work.

Change Matters Volume 2: Assets

This is the second brief in a new series from The Financial Clinic. Change Matters leverages the data gathered through our revolutionary financial coaching platform, Change Machine, alongside the voices, wisdom, and lived experiences of Change Machine customers. We hope that our action oriented analysis will lead to positive social change. We believe we have a responsibility to ask the right questions, to use our data for good, and to inspire products, practice, and policy innovations that centralize the needs of the working-poor in building economic mobility.



The Pivotal Role of Human Service Practitioners in Building Financial Capability

This report shares remarks by Mae Watson Grote, Founder and CEO of The Financial Clinic, at the Coin A Better Future conference in May 2018.

The journey from financial insecurity to security, and eventually, mobility—what we conceptualize and even romanticize as the quintessential American experience—is one that far too often ensnares people at the insecurity stage, particularly those communities or neighborhoods that have historically been marginalized and deliberately excluded from the traditional pathway towards prosperity. Fraught with debt and credit crises, alongside a myriad of predatory products and lending practices, to a sense of stigma and shame many Americans feel because of their economic status, financial insecurity involves navigating a world on a daily basis where everyday needs are at the mercy of unjust and uncontrollable variables.



Effective Programs and Policies for Promoting Economic Well-Being

This report was originally developed to support the work of Feeding America and its member food banks in exploring interventions that support households’ economic well-being. Such strategies can be valuable not only for organizations serving households facing food insecurity, but for agencies and organizations serving families with low incomes and other vulnerable populations. This report reflects this broadened audience, and we thank Feeding America for their support in helping us develop this report.



Overcoming Poverty Together 3: The New Brunswick Economic and Social Inclusion Plan 2020-2025

The new Economic and Social Inclusion plan for New Brunswick builds upon progress accomplished over the past 10 years. It includes nine priority actions divided into three pillars:

  • Income Security: includes actions addressing improvements to social assistance, changes to the Employment Standards Act and an increase of the capacity and sustainability of social enterprises.
  • Co-ordination of Programs and Services: includes actions towards a review of government programs, services and tax policies targeted to low-income individuals, and the implementation of a One-Stop-Shop service to help New Brunswickers access information and navigate government and community programs and services.
  • Inclusion and Healthy Communities: includes actions bringing improvement to mental and addictions services, the development of regional transportation plans, work with partners to provide inclusive opportunities for recreation activities for New Brunswickers on a low income, and the development of food programs in all schools.

The objective of the plan is to reduce income poverty by at least 50 per cent by 2030, in line with the objectives of Opportunity for All, Canada’s first poverty reduction strategy, and those of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainability of the United Nations.



State of the Child Report 2020: Protecting Child Rights in Times of Pandemic

The 2020 State of the Child Report includes six recommendations and gives a snapshot of some of the challenges New Brunswick children and youth will have to overcome as the province moves forward and juggles the new realities of public health measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while respecting child rights.



State of the Child Report 2019

This report's release was part of Child Rights Education Week and also in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). 2019 was declared the International Year of Indigenous Languages by the United Nations.

The report contains an overview of some of the serious challenges facing New Brunswick children and youth, including more than 200 statistics presented in the report’s Child Rights Indicators Framework. A special emphasis was placed on education rights.

Some of the concerning findings revealed in the report include:

  • nearly half of youths in poverty feel socially excluded;
  • half of all youths have no one they look up to; and
  • one in four youths with special needs does not feel that they belong at their school.



Financial Literacy and Wellness Among U.S. Women: Insights on Underrepresented Minority Women

The 2020 TIAA Institute-GFLEC Personal Finance Index (P-Fin Index) survey was fielded in January 2020 and included an oversample of women. This enables examining the state of financial literacy and financial wellness among U.S. women immediately before the onset of COVID-19. A more refined understanding of financial literacy among women, including areas of strength and weakness and variations among subgroups, can inform initiatives to improve financial wellness, particularly as the United States moves forward from the pandemic and its economic consequences.



The long-term labour market integration of refugee claimants who became permanent residents in Canada

Although refugee claimants seek asylum in Canada for humanitarian reasons, their labour market outcomes play a crucial role in their successful integration, which is why it is important to monitor the degree of labour market success achieved by refugee claimants. This study compares the long-term labour market outcomes of refugee claimants who eventually became permanent residents in Canada (RC-PRs) with those of government-assisted refugees (GARs) and privately sponsored refugees (PSRs), as well as with refugee claimants who did not become permanent residents in Canada (RC-NPRs).



Millennials and money: Financial preparedness and money management practices before COVID-19

Millennials (individuals age 18–37 in 2018) are the largest, most highly educated, and most diverse generation in U.S. history

This paper assesses the financial situation, money management practices, and financial literacy of millennials to understand how their financial behaviour has changed over the ten years following the Great Recession of 2008 and the situation they were in on the cusp of the current economic crisis (in 2018) due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 Findings from the National Financial Capability Study (NFCS) show that millennials tend to rely heavily on debt, engage frequently in expensive short- and long-term money management, and display shockingly low levels of financial literacy. Moreover, student loan burden and expensive financial decision making increased significantly from 2009 to 2018 among young adults.



Financial wellness: What is it? How do we make it happen?

Achieving financial wellness takes more than just financial resources. It also requires the ability to make good financial decisions and engage in sound money- management practices. To inform policies and programs that promote financial wellness—including those sponsored by employers—the TIAA Institute and the Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center held a roundtable discussion featuring a range of experts. This report presents the key findings and recommendations that emanated from the discussion. To learn more about the roundtable itself, visit TIAA Institute events page.



Launch of the OECD/INFE 2020 International Survey of Adult Financial Literacy

This report provides measures of financial inclusion including elements of financial resilience and a newly-created score on financial well-being.

Twenty-six countries and economies, including 12 OECD countries, participated in this international survey of financial literacy, using the 2018 OECD/INFE toolkit to collect cross-comparable data. The survey results report the overall financial literacy scores, as computed following the OECD/INFE methodology and definition, and their elements of knowledge, behaviour, and attitudes.

The data used in this report are drawn from national surveys undertaken using and submitted to the OECD as part of a co-ordinated measurement exercise; as well as data gathered as part of the OECD/INFE Technical Assistance Project for Financial Education in South East Europe.



The poverty premium: a customer perspective

Fair By Design and Turn2Us (in the United Kingdom) commissioned this research to explore recent changes in the poverty premium landscape, to understand if they are having any impact on the cost of premiums, or the number of people who pay them. Importantly, we did this through the lens of the low-income customer in order to hear first-hand how they experience these extra costs; how they see the problems with the current system; how they respond to initiatives and interventions designed to reduce poverty premiums; and the changes they feel would make the most difference to them and their household.

This research report:

  • Describes recent initiatives to reduce the poverty premium and reviews any evidence of what works.
  • Re-calculates the level and types of poverty premiums paid by low-income households in 2019. We focus on high-cost credit use, energy tariffs and insurance (specifically home contents, car and specific item insurance) because our previous work identified these as potentially the most harmful to low-income households (Davies et al, 2016; Davies and Finney, 2017).
  • Looks in detail at the financial difficulties experienced by low-income households, their impact on individuals and families, and the things that prevent low-income households from getting a better deal.
  • Sets out ‘user-led’ solutions and ideas that people living in poverty feel could help to reduce the extra costs they pay.



How to really build financial capability

Recent years have seen an explosion in interventions designed to improve financial outcomes of participants. Yet on-the-ground evidence suggests that not all financial education programs are equally successful at achieving this aim.

This paper examines the difference between interventions that work, and those than do not. It attempts to answer the question: “How do you actually build financial capability?” In doing so, we aim to help interested parties enhance the effectiveness of their programs and policies by providing them with evidence-based recommendations to drive positive outcomes in participants.