Free Financial Coaching Pilot Program Launched for People with Low Incomes in Toronto

24 June 2015
Toronto, June 24, 2015 – Today, national charity Prosper Canada, the City of Toronto, a consortium of leading investment companies, and three financial planning professional associations announced a new pilot program offering free financial coaching for people living on low incomes in Toronto.

The MPower Money Coaching Program was developed by Prosper Canada and is being delivered in partnership with City of Toronto, Employment & Social Services. The program helps participating low-income individuals to identify, plan for and achieve personal financial goals. Participants are supported by volunteer professional financial planners trained to provide financial coaching to people with low-incomes.

The MPower Money Coaching Program’s goals over the next year are to:

  • Enable 100 low-income participants to:
    • Set financial goals and develop a financial action plan
    • Build a personal/household budget
    • Increase their savings and reduce debt
    • Access help to file taxes if required
    • Improve their credit score.
  • Provide 50 financial advisors with the opportunity to use their skills to give back to their communities.
“This is a unique collaboration, with partners from all sectors working to ensure people at all income levels have access to neutral, high quality help with their finances when they need it ,” said Elizabeth Mulholland, CEO of Prosper Canada. “Collaborations like this are the key to achieving our financial empowerment goal -- ensuring all Canadians are financially capable and have access to the financial products, services and advice they need to prosper.”

“All Canadians benefit from access to expert help in building a financial plan and tackling financial challenges,” said Carol Lynde, President and COO, Bridgehouse Asset Managers, who helped to initiate the program. “Through this program, the investment industry is helping to make sure that people who might not normally receive this help, can get the expert support they need to build a stronger financial future.”

The program is timely given that nearly one in six Canadian families have a net worth of $0 or less and nearly one in four have no financial savings or investments at all. Currently, there are few sources of trained and qualified support available to people on low-incomes seeking help to manage financial problems and build a sound financial plan.

"We are pleased to be part of this innovative initiative. Financial coaching is a valuable addition to the services we provide to residents seeking employment and represents a proven way to strengthen their overall financial well-being.” said Phil Eisler, Director, Toronto Employment & Social Services.

Financial coaching has been proven in the United States to help people living on low incomes build their financial capability and improve their financial well-being over time. The MPower Money Coaching Program is a one year pilot initiative designed to explore the feasibility of mobilizing professional financial planners as volunteer financial coaches in Canada.

The pilot program is funded by a consortium of companies including: AGF, Bridgehouse Asset Managers, Dynamic Funds, Franklin Templeton Investments, IA Clarington Investments Inc., Sun Life Global Investments, Zavitz Insurance and non-profit, The Investment Funds Institute of Canada. Volunteers from the financial planning community have been recruited with the help of three professional associations – Advocis, the Financial Planning Standards Council, and Independent Financial Brokers of Canada.

Learn more about

Prosper Canada

Prosper Canada, is a national charity dedicated to expanding economic opportunity for Canadians living in poverty through program and policy innovation. Prosper Canada works with government, business and community partners to develop and promote financial policies, programs and resources that remove barriers and help more Canadians to prosper. The Prosper Canada Centre for Financial Literacy is co-founded and supported by TD Bank Group. To learn more about Prosper Canada and the Prosper Canada Centre for Financial Literacy, please visit www.prospercanada.org.

Toronto Employment & Social Services

Employment and Social Services provides employment supports, financial benefits and social supports to people living in Toronto. Our Employment Centres are open to all Toronto residents, and our staff provide a range of services including helping people with:

  • finding a job or the training they need to find work,
  • accessing financial benefits available through the Ontario Works program, and
  • connecting to health, housing, childcare and other social services.
To learn more about Toronto Employment & Social Services please visit www.toronto.ca/tess.

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Media Contacts

Prosper Canada
Julie McFayden
Manager, Marketing & Communications
416-665-2828 ext. 231
jmcfayden@prospercanada.org

City of Toronto Employment & Social Services Division
Phil Eisler, Director, Employment & Social Services
416-397-7313
peisler@toronto.ca

Bridgehouse Asset Managers
Sheila Hogan
Product & Marketing Communications Manager
416-306-5698
sheila.hogan@bridgehousecanada.com