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



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.



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.



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.

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.



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.



National Strategies for Financial Education: OECD/INFE Policy Handbook

Financial education has become an important complement to market conduct and prudential regulation and improving individual financial behaviours a long-term policy priority in many countries. The OECD and its International Network on Financial Education (INFE) conducts research and develops tools to support policy makers and public authorities to design and implement national strategies for financial education.

This handbook provides an overview of the status of national strategies worldwide,  an analysis of relevant practices and case studies and identifies key lessons learnt. The policy handbook also includes a checklist for action, intended as a self-assessment tool for governments and public authorities.



OECD/INFE Toolkit for measuring financial literacy and financial inclusion

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is an international organisation establishes evidence-based international standards and finding solutions to a range of social, economic and environmental challenges.

The OECD/INFE Toolkit includes a financial literacy questionnaire that captures the financial literacy of diverse populations, first piloted in 2010. In 2015/16 around 40 countries and economies participated in an international survey of adult financial literacy competencies; using data collected using this toolkit.

The OECD/INFE financial literacy and financial inclusion measurement toolkit incorporates:

  • Methodological guidance.
  • A questionnaire designed to capture information about financial behaviour, attitudes and knowledge, in order to assess levels of financial literacy and financial inclusion.
  • A list of the questions included in the questionnaire, and information about whether they will be used to create core financial literacy scores used in previous OECD reports (Annex A).
  • Guidance on how to create the financial literacy scores (Annex A).
  • Guidance on briefing interviewers (Annex B) and discussion around online surveys (Annex C).
  • A checklist for countries wishing to submit data to the OECD (Annex D).



The Common Approach

The Common Foundations are a minimum standard for how to do impact measurement without prescribing a particular tool or approach. This can help to overcome a widespread challenge of grantmakers, donors, lenders and investors imposing impact measurement approaches on the social purpose organizations that they give money to. They do this for assurances that the impact measurement is of a sufficient quality and comparability. The Common Foundations solves part of this problem. Funders can require social purpose organizations to demonstrate that the are doing all five essential practices while leaving the social purpose organization to choose which tools and approaches to use.

In addition to the quick guide, videos, key documents, and a self-assessment are provided as tools to meet the standard of impact measurement in Canada.

 



Data literacy training

Statistics Canada presents a learning catalogue to share knowledge on data literacy. Data literacy is the ability to derive meaningful information from data. It focuses on the competencies involved in working with data including the knowledge and skills to read, analyze, interpret, visualize and communicate data as well as understand the use of data in decision-making.

Their aim is to provide learners with information on the basic concepts and skills with regard to a range of data literacy topics. The training is aimed at those who are new to data or those who have some experience with data but may need a refresher or want to expand their knowledge.



Indicators for Financial Empowerment: Learnings from the National Financial Empowerment Champions Project

This resource offers a set of common indicators that community organizations can use to measure the reach and impact of their financial empowerment (FE) programming. It is intended for any community organization that works to foster greater financial well-being for economically disadvantaged Canadians.

This resource compiles the key performance indicators (KPIs) and presents them for use by community organizations beyond the National Financial Empowerment Champions (FECs) partners. The KPIs have been refined in response to partners’ feedback and in recognition of developments in the FE field, ensuring that the definitions reflect current and best practices in the field of financial empowerment/financial literacy in Canada and the USA.