Financial literacy must improve for Indigenous Canadians says government agency

Ulukhaktok in Canada’s Northwest Territories. How can financial literacy be improved in communities like this one? (Eilís Quinn/Eye on the Arctic)
A government agency will set up a working group to improve financial literacy amongst Indigenous Canadians,  a population which they say faces “unique barriers to financial well-being.”

“It is important for all Canadians to have the knowledge, skills and confidence to navigate a rapidly changing financial marketplace,” said Lucie Tedescothe commissioner of the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, in a news release on Tuesday.

“I anticipate tremendous cooperation and partnership as this working group lays a foundation for improving the financial well-being of Indigenous Peoples.”

Need for community-driven programs

The working group is being set up to work on new programs and research areas, as well as supporting community-driven financial literacy programs for Indigenous communities.

The group will be co-chaired by Simon Brascoupé, vice president, Education and Membership, of AFOA Canada (formerly the Aboriginal Financial Officers Association of Canada), an organization that describes themselves on their website as focusing on “the capacity development and day-to-day needs of those Indigenous professionals who are working in all areas of finance, management, band administration, leadership and program management,” and Jane Rooney, Financial Literacy Leader at the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada.

“I am pleased to begin collaborating with the working group and learning from members’ experience and insights,” Rooney said in the news release.  “I look forward to working with members of the working group to develop and deliver initiatives to enhance the financial well-being of Indigenous Peoples across Canada.”

Inuit participation to be confirmed

The working group aims to have representation from First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities.

As of Wednesday, the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada told Eye on the Arctic they were still waiting to hear back from invited Inuit and Métis organizations to confirm their participation.

The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada is primarily responsible for making sure consumer projection measures are respected amongst federally regulated financial entities, but it also works to educate consumers and promote financial education.

Write to Eilís Quinn at eilis.quinn(at)

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Biggest danger to Arctic business is protectionism says Arctic Economic Council chair, Eye on the Arctic

Finland:  Business vs. environment debate hurts Northeners, says Arctic Economic Council, Eye on the Arctic

Iceland: Norwegians and Icelanders let Alaskans in on the secrets to economic prosperity, Alaska Dispatch News

United States: Inuit organization plans economic development across national boundaries, Alaska Dispatch News

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn is an award-winning journalist and manages Radio Canada International’s Eye on the Arctic news cooperation project. Eilís has reported from the Arctic regions of all eight circumpolar countries and has produced numerous documentary and multimedia series about climate change and the issues facing Indigenous peoples in the North.

Her investigative report "Death in the Arctic: A community grieves, a father fights for change," about the murder of Robert Adams, a 19-year-old Inuk man from Arctic Quebec, received the silver medal for “Best Investigative Article or Series” at the 2019 Canadian Online Publishing Awards. The project also received an honourable mention for excellence in reporting on trauma at the 2019 Dart Awards in New York City.

Her report “The Arctic Railway: Building a future or destroying a culture?” on the impact a multi-billion euro infrastructure project would have on Indigenous communities in Arctic Europe was a finalist at the 2019 Canadian Association of Journalists award in the online investigative category.

Her multimedia project on the health challenges in the Canadian Arctic, "Bridging the Divide," was a finalist at the 2012 Webby Awards.

Her work on climate change in the Arctic has also been featured on the TV science program Découverte, as well as Le Téléjournal, the French-Language CBC’s flagship news cast.

Eilís has worked for media organizations in Canada and the United States and as a TV host for the Discovery/BBC Worldwide series "Best in China."

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