As Canada’s first-ever Financial Literacy Leader, I am privileged to work with many passionate and dedicated individuals representing the public, private, and non-profit sectors across the country. Our common goal is to increase Canadians’ financial knowledge, skills, and confidence.

Because financial literacy is a lifelong endeavour and a shared responsibility, everyone has a part to play. My role as Leader is to ensure that financial literacy efforts are coordinated and focused in the areas where Canadians need them most, taking into account factors such as age and social background.

Now is the time

As November is Financial Literacy Month in Canada, there is no better time to talk about the financial hurdles that Canadians face, and the solutions that exist to help them overcome these challenges. Whether it is ensuring that financial education is part of academic curricula in our schools, helping Canadians to lower their debt and increase their savings, highlighting what to look out for when shopping for a mortgage, providing guidance on how to make the most out of investment choices, planning effectively for retirement, or where to reach out for help — financial literacy is now at the forefront of Canadians’ and policy-makers’ minds.

“Because financial literacy is a lifelong endeavour and a shared responsibility, everyone has a part to play.”

We are all faced with an increasingly complex financial marketplace. To help Canadians with the many choices and decisions that confront them, my team and I have been focused on developing a national strategy for financial literacy that is inclusive, relevant, and accessible for all Canadians. Since June, we have heard from hundreds of individuals and organizations on the issues that impact seniors, Aboriginal peoples, newcomers to Canada, low-income Canadians, children, and young Canadians. We have also heard many success stories and potential solutions that could be applied nationally to tackle some of the recurring issues.

Making use of your resources

In setting and achieving the goals of the national strategy, I look forward to working with Canada’s first National Steering Committee on Financial Literacy. Its members are influential individuals with deep experience in financial education. They will act as champions of the national strategy when it is launched in 2015 and lead efforts in their respective sectors.

Until then, I urge all Canadians to take a few moments this November to learn more about and tackle a financial challenge that they are facing. If you have questions that remain unanswered, or if you just need a few tools to guide you in better managing your financial situation, check out the newly launched Canadian Financial Literacy Database to find the resources and events that meet your needs and interests across the country.