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Financial Help Project
22 November 2023
In April, we released the report
Missing for those who need it most: Canada’s financial help gap
, which details the relative lack of affordable, appropriate and trustworthy financial help available to people living on low incomes.
Through research and key informant interviews with government, private companies and community financial service providers, we learned that, despite having much more complex and urgent financial problems than middle- and high-income people, people with low incomes have very little access to affordable supports that take their needs into account. Without these supports, they risk being plunged into even further financial stress.
Since publishing the report, we have met with stakeholders from federal and provincial governments, banks, credit unions, insurance companies, community organizations and others to present our findings and discuss potential solutions for all sectors to help close this gap. We have been thrilled with the positive response to our outreach and the interest in this work and have been growing the list of organizations helping to guide this work.
We have also researched what other jurisdictions (namely the US, the UK, Australia and New Zealand) have addressed these issues and how their governments and institutions approach serving vulnerable groups. Notably, three of four of these countries have national support for community-delivered financial help services, which we believe is a key opportunity for Canada.
In the coming months, we will continue our research and work with stakeholders to refine a list of solutions for government, the private sector and community to close the financial help gap for people with low incomes. It is clear from our research that there is no magic bullet to solve this problem and that ensuring Canada has a more supportive financial services ecosystem will take concerted efforts from all sectors.
In 2024, we will publish a solutions report and continue to work with all sectors to identify opportunities to advance and implement these solutions with the goal of creating a more supportive financial services sector for people with low incomes that will better help them to improve their financial health and resilience.