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Financial counselling supports overall health and well-being

25 March 2019
Author: Wendy Abbott-Serroul
Alice’s story

Alice* came to the Thunder Bay Counselling (TBC) office distraught, overwhelmed and defeated. She had not been receiving any direct income for some time and was relying on friends and family to help her to pay rent, food and health expenses. Alice’s challenges had been exacerbated when she was no longer able to continue being self-employed as a result of increasing effects of a disability.  

Alice had been referred to clinical counselling in order to help her manage the stress of her circumstances. Working parallel with the clinical counsellor financial counselling was able to help Alice understand her situation, and articulate her needs and goals. Through this assessment it was determined that her age made her eligible for both Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Old Age Security (OAS). She was assisted in gathering the necessary information required in order to apply for both those benefits. Alice also was at a disadvantage in that she did not have a bank account. She was overwhelmed at the array of options and services, and the process of navigating the systems felt complicated and challenging to understand.

Thunder Bay Counselling used the tools available to research and choose an account suitable for her. Alice was also not alone when she went to open her account. Her counsellor accompanied her to the financial institution and supported her through the process in person. Beyond helping Alice file her income taxes that would allow her to apply for her benefits, her counsellor also recognized that there were still previous taxes for a number of years to be filed. TBC continues to work with Alice to help her get her taxes up to date, and as financial resources become available, will ensure that she has established a budget and plan that meets her needs so that she won’t be in a position of feeling hopeless or helpless both emotionally and financially again.

Thunder Bay Counselling is the leading provider of personal and workplace support services. They are one of five Ontario Financial Empowerment Champions aiming to improve the financial well-being of 50,000 individuals living on low incomes.

*Name has been changed to protect client's identity


Wendy Abbott-Serroul is the Senior Marketing and Communications Manager at Prosper Canada. She works closely with the entire organization to identify communications needs and supports the efforts to increase awareness and the profile of Prosper Canada.

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