Toronto, June 26, 2009
Archived - Minister of Finance Launches Task Force on Financial Literacy
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The Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, today announced the establishment of Canada's Task Force on Financial Literacy to help create a cohesive national strategy to support initiatives across Canada aimed at improving financial education.
"Our economy is built on millions of everyday financial decisions by Canadians," said Minister Flaherty. "Recent events have shown us that there are major risks and that financial literacy is an important life skill. Whether it is a question of saving for retirement, financing a new home or balancing the family chequebook, improving the financial literacy of Canadians will add to the stability of our financial system and make our economy stronger."
The task force fulfills a commitment made in Canada's Economic Action Plan to outline objectives, including a concrete plan of action and a framework for collaboration among stakeholders, for moving forward and measuring progress on financial literacy in Canada. Members of the task force are drawn from the business and education sectors, community organizations and academia. The task force will be chaired by Donald A. Stewart, Chief Executive Officer of Sun Life Financial Inc. L. Jacques Ménard, Chairman of BMO Nesbitt Burns, will be the Vice-Chair.
"I am honoured to undertake this role and I look forward to working with such a strong and diverse task force to carry out our ambitious mandate," said Mr. Stewart. "Valuable insights can be found internationally and I hope to bring that perspective forward to help Canadians make informed decisions to improve their lives."
"A great deal of fine work is going on across Canada on financial literacy, be it in schools, in volunteer groups, through provincial programs or through the federal Financial Consumer Agency of Canada," said Minister Flaherty. "This task force will develop a strategic plan to build on this collective effort to help make all Canadians more knowledgeable consumers, investors and savers."
Minister Flaherty said the task force complements other elements in Canada's Economic Action Plan to strengthen consumer protection, such as the recently announced improvements to credit card regulations, which included improved disclosure of interest rate changes.
For more information on Canada's Economic Action Plan, visit www.actionplan.gc.ca.
Biographical notes are attached.
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Department of Finance
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Chair: Donald A. Stewart
Donald A. Stewart is Chief Executive Officer of Sun Life Financial Inc.
A native of Scotland, Mr. Stewart joined the Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada in London, England in 1969. He emigrated to Montréal in 1972.
In 1974, Mr. Stewart left the Company to pursue a career in benefits consulting in Toronto. He returned in 1980 to lead the Canadian Group Retirement Services Division. From 1987 to 1992, he held overall responsibility for Information Technology. He was appointed head of Sun Life Trust Company in September 1992. In 1996 he was appointed President & Chief Operating Officer, and in 1998 Chief Executive Officer.
Mr. Stewart is a director of the American Council of Life Insurers, the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association and international aluminium products company Novelis Inc. He is a member of the Board for The Geneva Association, an international insurance think tank and research institution.
Born in 1946, Mr. Stewart holds a degree in Natural Philosophy from the University of Glasgow, graduating in 1968 with first class honours.
Vice-Chair: L. Jacques Ménard, O.C.
L. Jacques Ménard is Chairman of BMO Nesbitt Burns, one of the country's leading investment firms. He is also President of BMO Financial Group, Quebec. As such, he oversees the activities of BMO Bank of Montreal and its subsidiaries, and its more than 170 branches and 5,000 employees in Quebec.
Mr. Ménard is currently a director at the Montreal Heart Institute, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the Montreal Alouettes, and Claridge Inc. He is also a member of the Advisory Board of the Institute of Corporate Directors (Quebec chapter) and a Board Associate of Canadian Policy Research Networks Inc., and sits on the International Advisory Board of HEC Montréal, the Advisory Board of Glendon College at York University and the Board of Directors of the Macdonald Stewart Foundation.
Mr. Ménard chaired the Task Force on the Sustainability of the Québec Health Care and Social Services System, established by the Quebec Government in December 2004 to identify the funding needs for health and social services in Quebec in the coming years and decades and to propose appropriate measures.
He published a first book in 2008, Si on s'y mettait…, which outlines a series of proposals to ensure Quebec's future growth. In the wake of this book, he established the Groupe d'action sur la persévérance et la réussite scolaires, comprised of 28 representatives from various fields, all of whom are mobilized by the pressing need for action on the issue of student retention in Quebec. The Groupe's action plan was released in March 2009.
Mr. Ménard is one of the four recipients of the annual Public Policy Forum Testimonial Awards in 2009.
Mr. Ménard is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario (M.B.A. 1970), Loyola College of Montréal (B. Comm. Hon. Econ. 1967) and Collège Sainte-Marie (B.A. 1966).
He is an Officer of the Order of Canada.
Laurie Campbell is the Executive Director of Credit Canada/the Credit Counselling Service of Toronto.
Since joining Credit Canada in 1990, Ms. Campbell has assumed progressively more important roles within the organization, becoming part of its senior leadership team as Program Manager in 1993. Her responsibilities have notably included management in the agency's education department, which presents seminars on money management and credit-related issues to over 10,000 people annually.
Ms. Campbell is President of the Credit Association of Greater Toronto, is recognized as a primary source of accurate information on credit counselling for the media, and is widely recognized as an expert in her field responding daily to media requests. She has been interviewed for several prominent books on finance and has reviewed financial literature for organizations such as MasterCard Canada, Visa Canada, the Investment Funds Institute and the Investor Education Fund, and was on the Advisory Committee for the television show Maxed Out. Ms. Campbell was instrumental in spearheading Credit Education Week Canada, which now in its third year promotes financial literacy through a variety of mediums throughout Canada.
Ms. Campbell served on the Board of the Ontario Association of Credit Counselling Services and the Canadian Association of Credit Counselling Services, a not-for-profit charitable community service that helps consumers by providing credit education, counselling on budgeting, and planned debt liquidation programs. Ms. Campbell sits on various committees including the Financial Literacy Committee of the United Way, Habitat for Humanity Selection Committee and the Council for Investor Education.
Ms. Campbell is a graduate of the University of Ottawa.
Marcel Côté is a founding partner of SECOR Consulting. Over his 30-year career as a consultant, he has specialized in strategy consulting for senior management both in Canada and in France.
Mr. Côté holds an MSc in Economics from Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, PA) and is a Fellow of the Center for International Affairs, Harvard University. He taught at the Université de Sherbrooke and the Université du Québec à Montréal, before co-founding SECOR in 1975. Today Mr. Côté advises top-management teams of large corporations on strategic issues both in Canada and in Europe.
Mr. Côté is also known as an expert on economic-growth policies, a subject on which he has written several books. Finally, over the course of his career Mr. Côté has advised both the federal and provincial levels of government: from 1986 to 1988, he was economic advisor to the Premier of Quebec; and in 1989 and 1990, he was Director of Strategic Planning and Communications in the Prime Minister's Office in Ottawa.
He sits on the Board of Directors of Intact Insurance and Empire Ltd., and is also very active in Montreal community organizations, particularly in the Foundation of Greater Montreal and the Compagnie de danse Marie Chouinard, where he chairs the Boards of Directors, as well as the YMCA and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra.
Patrick C. Foran
Patrick C. Foran is an award-winning journalist and author who has been a reporter with CTV News for the past 23 years. He hosts "Consumer Alert," a popular nightly consumer advocacy segment on CTV News in Toronto, and is also the consumer reporter for CTV's national morning show, Canada AM.
As a result of his investigative and educational efforts, Mr. Foran has helped consumers recover hundreds of thousands of dollars, exposed scams, warned about unsafe products and passed on countless money-saving tips to the public. The thousands of phone calls, e mails and letters that he has received in response from the public confirm to him that there is an intense thirst for solid, trustworthy consumer information. Mr. Foran has been an advocate for improved financial literacy for younger Canadians to better prepare them to be able to save money and avoid debt.
Mr. Foran is the author of Canadian Consumer Alert—101 Ways to Protect Yourself and Your Money, The Smart Canadian's Guide to Building Wealth and The Smart Canadian's Guide to Saving Money.
Edward (Ted) Gordon
Ted Gordon has been a Financial Security Advisor with Freedom 55 Financial in Ottawa since 2007. Prior to this, he had established the Fiscal Fitness Centre, a personal Wealth Advisory business.
He is a professor in the School of Part-Time Studies at Algonquin College where he teaches a non-credit, personal interest course called "Personal Financial Literacy" based on his own exclusively developed curriculum.
Mr. Gordon is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario and the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants.
He graduated from the University of Western Ontario with an Honours B.A. in Business Administration.
Evelyn Jacks is the founder and president of The Knowledge Bureau, Canada's leading national educational institute providing professional development in the tax and financial services industries. For over 25 years, her companies have specialized in publishing and delivering certificate courses designed for the continuing education of tax and accounting practitioners as well as financial advisors focused on managing their client's wealth; and most recently has published a series of consumer books to help individuals master decisions about their money.
Ms. Jacks has written numerous books on the subject of personal taxation, and taught a range of certificate post-secondary professional courses on the subject of tax preparation and planning, wealth management and business practices for tax accountants and financial planners.
In 1986, Ms. Jacks received recognition as the YM-YWCA's Business Woman of the Year for her significant contributions to the community in establishing a national profile for tax preparation and tax planning services. In 1997, she won Manitoba's Entrepreneur of the Year award, and later that year, she won the prestigious Rotman School of Business National Canadian Entrepreneur of the Year Award in Toronto. In 1998, she was recognized with a Business Leadership Award by the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C. Ms. Jacks was appointed by the Premier of Manitoba in 1999 as a Commissioner for the Lower Tax Commission, under which she and her colleagues reviewed and recommended changes to the provincial tax regime. In 2005, she was celebrated as an Inspiring Woman by the Winnipeg Free Press.
Ms. Jacks has served as a Governor of the Manitoba Club, a Cabinet Member on the United Way, on the Board of Associates at the University of Manitoba, and as an Executive of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce, as well as numerous other organizations.
Ruth Kelly is the president and CEO of Venture Publishing Inc., and the publisher and editor-in-chief of Alberta Venture, Alberta's only province-wide business magazine.
Ms. Kelly served as the 2005 chair of the board of directors for the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce and is a past president of the Alberta Magazine Publishers Association. She currently serves on the volunteer boards of the Institute of Corporate Directors (Edmonton chapter) and the Banff Centre Leadership program, as well as on the President's Advisory Council for the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT), the Alberta Branding committee and the Edmonton Expo 2017 board. She is also president of the Edmonton Business Council for the Visual Arts, and is on the board of directors for crown corporation Travel Alberta and private company Dollco Printing.
Ms. Kelly was recognized as a Global Woman of Vision in 1998, a YWCA Woman of Distinction in the Entrepreneur category in 2003 and received the Advertising Club of Edmonton's 2004 Fellowship Award for contributions to the industry and the community. In 2005, she was selected as the Allard Chair of Business by the MacEwan School of Business and received a Centennial Medal for service to the province of Alberta. The Canadian Women in Communications selected Ms. Kelly for their 2008 Woman of the Year award, making her the first Albertan to receive this national honour. She also received an honorary degree in business from NAIT in 2008.
Janice MacKinnon is a Professor of Fiscal Policy at the University of Saskatchewan, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Chair of the Research Institute on Public Policy, and member of the Board of the Canada West Foundation.
From 1991 to 2001, Ms. MacKinnon was a Cabinet Minister in the Saskatchewan Government. She served as Finance Minister during the province's deficit/debt crisis, when Saskatchewan became the first government in Canada to balance its budget in the l990s. Other portfolios that she held include Minister of Social Services, Minister of Economic and Co-operative Development, Minister Responsible for Trade, Research and Investment and Government House Leader.
Ms. MacKinnon sits on various private and public-private boards and is a frequent contributor to public policy debates at the national level. She has authored three books, including her most recent, The Fiscal Crisis, Political Trade-offs and Canada's Future.
P. Mitchell Murphy
P. Mitchell Murphy is a career education consultant with the Western School Board in Prince Edward Island.
A native Islander, Mr. Murphy entered public life to serve in the P.E.I. cabinet in a number of portfolios, including Minister of Community Affairs and Attorney General (1996-1998), Minister of Technology and Environment (1998-2000), Minister of Agriculture (2000-2003), and Provincial Treasurer (2003-2007).
Born in 1962, Mr. Murphy holds two undergraduate degrees from the University of Prince Edward Island and a graduate degree in education from St. Mary's University.
Greg Pollock is the President and CEO of Advocis, The Financial Advisors Association of Canada.
Prior to joining Advocis in 2008, Mr. Pollock was General Secretary of the 43,000 member Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association from 2001 to 2008.
He has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Teachers' Federation and of the Ontario Teachers' Federation, which is a co-sponsor of the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, which at the time had net assets of $108.1 billion. Mr. Pollock was also on the Board of the Ontario Teachers' Insurance Plan, where he served as a member of the Finance and Audit Committee for 10 years.
Mr. Pollock has a Master of Laws degree from Osgoode Hall Law School at York University and a Master of Educational Administration from the University of Toronto.
Bill Schwartz is a principal of Polestar Communications Inc., a firm of professionally qualified educational specialists.
Polestar developed and wrote lesson plans and activities for the British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC) resource, The City: Financial Life Skills for Planning 10, a resource for educators teaching the financial component of the B.C. Ministry of Education's Integrated Resource Package.
Polestar also adapted the BCSC resource for the federal Financial Consumer Agency of Canada's interactive web-based resource aimed at Canadian youth. Last year, Polestar examined all of the provinces and territories' Ministry of Education courses at the high school level to determine which had a curriculum connection to financial life skills to ensure that the new on-line tool meets the learning outcomes related to financial literacy in every province and territory.
For the past 17 years, Jean Vincent has been the President and General Manager of the Native Commercial Credit Corporation (NACCC), an Aboriginal financial institution that plays a leading role in the economic development of many First Nations in Quebec. NACCC provides commercial financing to Aboriginal-controlled businesses in the start-up or expansion phase.
Mr. Vincent is also the Executive Director of the First Nations Venture Capital of Quebec. He became Executive Director in 2004 after having acted as Chairman of the Board of Directors since the creation of the venture capital corporation.
Finally, he is Vice Grand Chief of the Huron-Wendat Nation, a First Nation near Quebec City.
Jean Vincent holds a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and a degree in accounting from Laval University (Quebec City). He is also a Chartered Accountant (CA), Certified General Accountant (CGA) and Certified Aboriginal Financial Manager (CAFM).
Mr. Vincent sits on a number of Boards of Directors, including the Native Benefits Plan as Chairman and Groupe Promutuel.