Fedeli bill introduces mandatory financial…

NIPISSING Vic Fedeli believes the province needs to do a better job teaching its students how to manage finances.

The Nipissing MPP introduced the Financial Literacy Act, a private members bill that would make a Grade 10 financial literacy course mandatory in all high schools throughout the province.

Financial literacy is an important life skill. As students start their first jobs, use their first credit cards and begin planning for their future, it is important they learn how to save and spend responsibly, said Fedeli.

The bill would amend the Education Act to require school boards to ensure a comprehensive course on financial literacy is taught to Grade 10 students across the province. The amendment would also make the new course a prerequisite to graduation.

The province currently includes aspects of financial literacy in subjects across the curriculum from Grade 4 to 12. Students are given opportunities to learn about saving, spending and investing money, as well as how to be responsible consumers.

The government is also supporting additional learning in regards to post-secondary education and career planning as part of the mandatory Grade 10 career studies course.

Preparing students to be financially literate is essential to students success and a strong economy. By learning about financial literacy, students will have the skills they need to thrive now and throughout the rest of their lives, said Education Minister Mitzie Hunter when discussing the topic at the beginning of November, which the province recognized as Financial Literacy Month.

While the province has invested more than $3 million into financial literacy resources and learning opportunities since 2011, Fedeli believes it needs to do more.

The Wynne governments plan on financial literacy is insufficient. Under their plan, financial literacy is not a mandated course, it is not permanent under the Education Act, and is not a prerequisite for completing high school, said Fedeli.

David Thompson, chair of the Near North District School Board, likes the idea of bringing structured financial courses to Grade 10 students in the province. While schools in the Near North District currently teach some aspects of financial management across different courses, their currently isnt one course devoted to the subject.

Financial literacy is very important for our students. In hearing from alumni and graduates some wish they had more of a financial background before they moved on from high school, said Thompson. Certainly educating students about money management is always a good thing.

The absence of financial literacy is being felt across the province, according to the Financial Composer Agency of Canada. A recent survey revealed 60 per cent of adults rate their financial knowledge as fair or poor and 80 per cent of young Canadians are not confident in their financial knowledge.

A firm grasp of personal finance is essential for making independent decisions, managing debt, and leading a secure and fulfilling life. The Financial Literacy for Students Act would equip students in Ontario with the skills, knowledge and confidence to make the right financial decisions in their own lives and for Ontarios economy, said Fedeli.