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Help is on the way for 1 million financially struggling Canadians

30 May 2024
In the excitement surrounding the 2024 Federal Budget, many Canadians may not have noticed a commitment in Chapter 3 that will be a game changer for many low- and moderate-income Canadians who have been hit the hardest by the ongoing affordability crisis.
This commitment outlines a $60 million investment over the next 5 years to expand community-delivered financial help services across Canada to build the financial stability and health of 1 million low- and moderate-income Canadians and connect them to $2 billion in income benefits they are eligible for, but not receiving.
Since 2016, fourteen of Prosper Canada’s community partners have been delivering free, year-round, tax filing, benefit assistance, and one-on-one financial help services tailored for people with low and moderate incomes. Together, these organizations have helped over 750,000 people to rebuild their financial stability and health and connected them to over $1.26 billion in additional income.
These services were a critical lifeline during the pandemic and are even more urgently needed today due to the double impact of inflation and elevated interest rates on the already overstretched budgets of Canada’s over 3.85 million low-income individuals. Community partners report surging demand for their services since last winter and some have been forced to turn away as many as 200 hundred people a week, even though their staff are working to the limit.
Despite this, and independent evaluation showing them to be relevant, needed, effective and recommended by 96% of surveyed service users, these services have all been tenuously funded and at risk of disappearing any time.
The 2024 Federal Budget changed all of this.
Presently, Prosper Canada is working with Employment and Social Development Canada on a plan to stabilize existing services and roll out a national Request for Proposals to select and fund community financial help service providers in every region of Canada for the next 4+ years. Assuming planning and related approvals proceed as anticipated, Prosper Canada expects to issue a formal call for proposals from interested community non-profit organizations in Q4 2024-25. 
Detailed selection criteria will be shared publicly then, but the focus will be on the delivery of tax filing help, benefit assistance, and one-on-one financial coaching and problem solving, as well as coordination with other service providers and targeted efforts to reach key underserved populations.
As a result of this federal investment, struggling Canadians will have someone they can call for free, trustworthy, financial help no matter where they live in Canada.
Anchor financial empowerment organizations and collaboratives across Canada will provide services directly, but also pioneer service innovations will help build partnerships and capacity in rural, remote and Indigenous communities, and generate insights and advice that financial institutions and governments can use to remove barriers and build financial inclusion.
Community financial help providers will also have stable multi-year funding for services that are no longer “pilots,” but firmly established programs that substantially reduce the structural market gap in trustworthy and affordable financial help for low- and moderate-income Canadians.
Most importantly, 1 million Canadians with low/moderate incomes will get the help they need to stabilize financially, get back on track, and build their financial resilience for the future.
In today’s environment, it is commonplace and easy to criticize governments for all the ways they may fall short. In this case, however, the federal government has stepped up admirably with a direct and powerful response to the unmet financial help needs of struggling Canadians and deserves credit and our thanks.
Interested in receiving the funding call for proposals when it is released? Please provide a contact person and email address to Dawn Phonsavath at
Interested in sharing this funding opportunity with your nonprofit members? We would love to hear from United Ways, associations and networks that are interested in helping us to spread the word. Please email Galen MacLusky, Director of Frontline Programs at