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Credit Education Week Canada 2010 – Some Final Thoughts

Two weeks ago was Credit Education Week in Canada. Now if you are like me and don’t live in Ontario, you may not have heard a great deal, but the more I have looked into Credit Education Week, the more impressed I have become with this initiative. For those of you who haven’t heard of this event previously, from what I can tell it is essentially a public awareness campaign.

From all appearances this is a national event, although I made a number of calls and inquiries throughout Alberta and couldn’t find anyone who knew anything about it. Now I did find it interesting that I only heard about this event third hand from a colleague who practices in Ontario, as I am very active in the financial community and make an effort to stay on top of local and national news as it pertains to the economy, and personal finance, and I had no idea this event had taken place. So for now it appears to largely be based in Toronto and other major centers, and is supported by many major players across the financial community. It is designed to “empower the public to make wise financial choices by placing tools and resources at their fingertips,” and promised to teach “everything you need to know about managing your money and taking control of your financial future.” An excellent goal and something that is definitely a need in the economic climate we all live.

There were many efforts made to accomplish this vision and many free events designed to address key topics in all stages of Canadian financial life, including:

  • A National essay contest;
  • University Campus fairs;
  • Credit Education Trade Show;
  • Gala Dinner featuring Stephen Lewis; and
  • A professional development day that is designed to allow the financial professionals an opportunity to become more familiar with the services and products available, the value offered by the government agencies, and existing services designed to increase their clients’ ability to advocate for themselves.

This year’s them was “The Language of Money,” and the focus was on new Canadians. As part of this theme, Credit Canada and Capital One Canada released the results of an Angus Reid poll they conducted in an effort to better understand issues faced by new Canadians. There were some interesting findings. For example, new Canadians are significantly more likely to use words such as stable, accessible, and honest to describe our financial system, where the general population is more likely to use words such as frightening, in decline and confusing. While I don’t want to focus on the specific results of this survey, as interesting as I find them, I really just wanted to make mention of the conference itself and acknowledge the efforts of everyone involved.

Clearly we live in a time where the need for credit education is unmatched and I, for one, would like to commend Capital One, Credit Canada and the Ontario Association of Credit Counselors and all the others involved for their efforts as they try to make sure people everywhere better understand “The Language of Money.” My only hope is, that as this initiative grows deeper roots, there is a way to expand conferences like this into some of the smaller centers in the country. It is through initiatives such as this that Canadians will become more familiar with the resources available, be better educated about finances in general, and hopefully be able to prepare themselves for any economic uncertainties that may continue to exist.

About the Author: This article has been written by Barton K. Goth, a licensed Trustee in Bankruptcy, member of the Canadian Association of Insolvency and Restructuring Professionals, and a managing editor of the Trustee Talks article series.