Archived - Minister of State (Finance) Announces Appointment of Canada’s First Financial Literacy Leader
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Expert in domestic and international financial literacy chosen to chart course
April 15, 2014 – Ottawa, Ontario – Department of Finance
Minister of State (Finance) Kevin Sorenson today announced the appointment of Jane Rooney, a seasoned policy maker in domestic and international financial literacy issues, as Canada’s first-ever Financial Literacy Leader, building on the Harper Government’s ongoing initiatives to protect consumers. Minister Sorenson made the historic announcement at a local Ottawa school where he helped mark Talk With Our Kids About Money Day, a day created by the Canadian Foundation of Economic Education and sponsored by BMO Financial Group.
Canada is recognized worldwide as a leader in financial literacy. From the creation of the Task Force on Financial Literacy, to the dedication of November as Financial Literacy Month thanks to a Private Member’s bill by James Rajotte, Member of Parliament (Edmonton–Leduc), the Harper Government continues to lead with today’s appointment of a Financial Literacy Leader. The Task Force on Financial Literacy provided a number of recommendations, including the appointment of a Financial Literacy Leader, in an effort to help ensure Canadians are fully equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to make responsible financial decisions.
The Financial Literacy Leader Act provides for the appointment of a Financial Literacy Leader within the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada. The Financial Literacy Leader’s mandate will be to collaborate and coordinate activities with stakeholders to contribute to and support initiatives that strengthen the financial literacy of Canadians.
The Harper Government has endeavoured to improve financial literacy by engaging stakeholders to better understand the unique challenges faced by seniors, and under the leadership of the Financial Literacy Leader it will consult on the development of a national financial literacy strategy that specifically responds to the needs of seniors.
- The position of Financial Literacy Leader was established through the Financial Literacy Leader Act in March 2013, thus implementing the top recommendation of the Task Force on Financial Literacy.
- The Leader’s mandate is to collaborate and coordinate activities with stakeholders to contribute to and support initiatives that strengthen the financial literacy of Canadians.
- In addition to creating the Financial Literacy Leader, the Government has designated November as Financial Literacy Month, with the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada playing a lead role in this area, in addition to its enforcement and monitoring mandate in financial consumer protection.
- The Government has also taken steps to update the existing financial consumer protection framework with several key measures:
- Mandating an effective minimum 21-day, interest-free grace period on all new credit card purchases when a customer pays the outstanding balance in full and introducing a fee summary box;
- Reducing the maximum cheque hold period to four days from seven days for cheques of less than $1,500 and providing consumers with timelier access to the first $100;
- Banning unsolicited credit card cheques;
- Requiring that federally regulated financial institutions offer products and services on an opt-in basis only, where consumers have sufficient disclosure about the terms and conditions before accepting; and
- Introducing new requirements for prepaid cards issued by federally regulated financial institutions requiring them to disclose to consumers relevant information at appropriate points in time (the regulations come into force on May 1, 2014).
“In today’s global and complex financial world, financial literacy is more important than ever. The appointment of Jane Rooney will allow her to chart a course to better coordinate the efforts of all partners working to help improve Canadians’ financial decision-making abilities.”
- Kevin Sorenson, Minister of State (Finance)
“As consumers of financial products and services ranging from credit cards and mortgages to a wide array of banking services, Canadians must be equipped to make informed decisions that strengthen their own personal finances and support the economy as a whole. I am honoured to accept this important task which will begin with consultations on the development of a new national financial literacy strategy that will place seniors front and centre.”
- Jane Rooney, Canada’s Financial Literacy Leader
“Over a number of years, I have come to know Jane Rooney as an exceptionally capable person and one who is strongly dedicated to helping Canadians achieve a higher level of financial literacy. I am sure she will excel in this new national role and I look forward to working with her as Canada’s Financial Literacy Leader.”
- James Rajotte, Chair, House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance, Member of Parliament (Edmonton–Leduc)
“There are many organizations in Canada doing great work to help improve financial literacy. However, the efforts lack coordination and common goals—and there is great opportunity for collaboration, showcasing excellence, and learning from the experiences of others. The new Financial Literacy Leader will be uniquely positioned to effect change in these areas and the appointment is welcomed by all of us involved in financial literacy.”
- Gary Rabbior, Canadian Foundation for Economic Education
“Investor Education Fund supports a coordinated national financial education policy led by a national literacy leader and we congratulate the new appointee. It is extremely important that we continue to develop independent, unbiased financial education programs that reach people in time to help them make better financial decisions. We look forward to sharing our expertise and working together closely.”
- Tom Hamza, President, Investor Education Fund
“Credit Canada is very pleased at the announcement of a Financial Literacy Leader in Canada. It is certainly wonderful to see this important recommendation from the Financial Literacy Task Force come to realization. This will pave the way for all of us to come together to ensure a more financially literate Canadian population who are able to make sound, educated decisions about their money.”
- Laurie Campbell, CEO, Credit Canada Debt Solutions and Member, Task Force on Financial Literacy
“Ensuring that Canadians have the information that they need to make informed financial decisions has been a long-time commitment of the banking industry. We congratulate the government on this appointment and look forward to working with the new Financial Literacy Leader and other partners on this important initiative. A dedicated Financial Literacy Leader will help achieve better coordination among the many financial literacy programs in place today and will help ensure that more Canadians have access to the skills and tools necessary to better manage their finances.”
- Terry Campbell, President, Canadian Bankers Association
“BMO has a longstanding commitment to fostering financial literacy and making money make sense—which in today’s economy has never been more important for youth. Jim Flaherty made the expansion of financial literacy a key priority during his tenure as finance minister. Today, we pay tribute to his efforts and his legacy. Congratulations to Jane Rooney, Canada’s new Financial Literacy Leader—a position that represents a part of Mr. Flaherty’s legacy.”
- L. Jacques Ménard, Chairman, BMO Nesbitt Burns and Vice-Chair, Task Force on Financial Literacy
“Scotiabank applauds the Government of Canada as they move forward with the recommendations from the Task Force on Financial Literacy and appoint a Financial Literacy Leader. Scotiabank is committed to providing access to education, resources and advice that enable individuals to make knowledgeable, responsible financial decisions, while giving them the confidence they need to save and invest for a bright future. We look forward to meeting with the Financial Literacy Leader and sharing Scotiabank’s experience supporting financial literacy in Canada and internationally.”
- Kaz Flinn, Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility, Scotiabank
“Financial education is a top priority at TD and we believe strongly that all Canadians win with improved financial education, which is why we’re delighted to see Minister Sorenson’s announcement of a Financial Literacy Leader. It is important that the private sector and the public sector work together effectively, to ensure that Canadians are empowered to make good financial decisions through all the stages of their life.”
- Linda MacKay, Senior Vice President, TD Bank Group
“I am pleased the Financial Literacy Task Force’s recommendation to have a Financial Literacy Leader in Canada has finally come to fruition. This is an extremely important role and one that will benefit Canadians for generations to come. I can still recall when Finance Minister Jim Flaherty called me to take part in the Financial Literacy Task Force. The creation of the position of a National Financial Literacy Leader is another major contribution that Mr. Flaherty has made to Canada. It is thanks to his foresight on the importance of financial literacy for all Canadians that this position now exists.”
- Pat Foran, Consumer Advocate, CTV News and Member, Task Force on Financial Literacy
“With today’s announcement, it’s another step forward to making Canada as a whole more financially literate. Having a Financial Literacy Leader as a focal point will not only make it easier for consumers but for entrepreneurs as well to access and leverage resources.”
- Victoria Lennox, CEO, Startup Canada
“This is a critical first step to achieving a collaborative effort to help Canadians become better money managers. We believe that while many organizations are working toward a common goal of improved financial literacy for Canadians, no one organization can effectively address all of the challenges on its own.”
- Cairine Wilson, Vice-President, Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada
“ABC Life Literacy Canada looks forward to collaborating with the new Financial Literacy Leader and the financial literacy community to set defined goals and strategies to grow the financial literacy skills of Canadians. This new role will be critical to the continued growth of robust financial literacy programming and resources that can reach new priority audiences and lead the way to ensuring all Canadians can take control of their money management skills.”
- Gillian Mason, President, ABC Life Literacy Canada
“Providing Canadians with the right knowledge and tools will help them to take control of their financial destinies. The life and health insurance industry looks forward to working with Jane Rooney and to supporting her initiatives towards strengthening the financial literacy of Canadians.”
- Frank Swedlove, President, Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association
“Visa is pleased with the appointment of Jane Rooney as Canada’s new Financial Literacy Leader. The government’s commitment to promoting financial literacy is essential and timely. The new Leader will play a key role promoting greater industry cooperation to achieve better financial literacy for all Canadians.”
- Michelle Michalak, Head of Financial Literacy, Visa Canada
“Financial skills training is the missing piece to creating skilled, mobile workers that are able to compete in the 21st century. The new Financial Literacy Leader will be a key figure that will promote access to proper financial literacy programs, services and information for all Canadians regardless of location.”
- Meaghan Daly, President, Forward Vision Games
- Biographical Note
- Financial Literacy Initiatives for Seniors
- Harper Government Welcomes Royal Assent of the Financial Literacy Leader Act
- Report of the Task Force on Financial Literacy
- Financial Literacy Leader Act
Office of the Minister of State (Finance)
Department of Finance
Ms. Rooney joined the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) in 2002, and since 2008 has been Director, Financial Literacy and Consumer Education. In this role she directed and implemented two national, separately funded education programs—one with a focus on financial literacy that helps Canadians increase their financial knowledge and confidence in managing their personal finances; the second on consumer education which aims to increase consumers’ knowledge and awareness of financial products and services, as well as their rights and responsibilities in this area.
The innovative approach taken by Ms. Rooney and her financial literacy team earned them a 2010 Public Service Award of Excellence for the successful development of the popular The City: A Financial Life Skills Resource, a simulated online world that offers an interactive, engaging and fun way for students to learn about money.
Ms. Rooney is a member of a number of committees working on financial literacy within Canada and abroad. She is the Chair of the Government of Canada’s Interdepartmental Committee on Financial Literacy. She is also Canada’s representative on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) International Financial Education Network and on the OECD’s Advisory Board for the International Network on Financial Education.
Her previous work experience includes almost eight years as a policy analyst at the Canadian Payments Association, the organization that developed and operates the Canadian payments system. In that capacity, Ms. Rooney was a member of a number of Canadian committees that examined payment policy issues.
Ms. Rooney holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Carleton University.