Archived—Project Summaries 2007-2008 - Social and Enterprise Development Innovations (SEDI)

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1. Financial Capability for Canadian Newcomers

$79,700

Financial capability is critical for all consumers, but market structures may be creating groups of particularly vulnerable consumers. At a June 2005 national symposium, several policy-makers and stakeholders signalled the need for Canada to develop an inclusive a comprehensive response to the national challenge of financial capability. Recent immigrants to Canada may face particular challenges in meeting their needs for financial information, education and advice during their settlement and integration into Canada.

To meet the objective of this study, SEDI will perform three main activities: a literature review, an environmental scan and a series of key informant interviews. SEDI will build on previous research it has completed on the supply of financial education, information and advice in Canada. Starting with its existing database of providers of financial products and services, SEDI will conduct a review of the supply of financial capability products and services aimed at newcomers to Canada. SEDI will develop working criteria for determining whether or not a product or service is aimed primarily at consumers who are recent newcomers (including refugees, skilled workers, migrant workers, family class immigrants and others). The results of the review will be systematically catalogued in a new and detailed database. Wherever possible, copies of products (such as brochures, curricula, websites, etc..) will be obtained for later reference. Quantitative and qualitative analysis will be conducted to look for gaps in the current supply of financial capability products and services relevant to newcomers in Canada. The data for this review will be collected using web-based searches, document searches, key informant interviews and referrals from immigrant-serving organizations in SEDI's network

The literature review will scan literature, both nationally and internationally, on the delivery of financial education, information and advice to immigrant populations. This will help to establish a conceptual framework for organizing and analyzing financial capability supports for newcomers. Current research underway at SEDI that uses consumer focus groups to map the preferences of vulnerable consumers (including newcomers) for delivery of financial capability products and services will also be used.

Approximately 20 key informant interviews will be conducted to validate the results of the environmental scan and literature review. Interviews will also collect information on key factors in successful implementation and effectiveness. Informants will be selected to be representative of regions with high in-migration, public and voluntary sector organizations and service providers under the three main federally-funded settlement programs. In consultation with the methodologist for this research, an interview guide will be established in order to best capture learning in these areas of inquiry.

This research methodology has been developed in consultation with, and reviewed, by RealWorld SystemsInc., an international consulting group. RealWorld Systems has been recognized by the Ontario and federal governments, among others, as experts in business processes, information systems design and policy evaluation.

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2. Financial Capability and Disability: A Review of Accessibility in the Supply of Financial Education, Information and Advice

$60,600

Financial capability is critical for all consumers, but market structures may be creating groups of particularly vulnerable consumers. At a June 2005 national symposium, several policy-makers and stakeholders signalled the need for Canada to develop a comprehensive response to the national challenge of financial capability. Persons with disabilities may face particular challenges in accessing the current supply of financial education, information and advice in Canada.

SEDI will build on previous research it has completed on the supply of financial education, information and advice in Canada. Starting with its existing database of providers of financial products and services, SEDI will conduct a review of the supply of financial capability products and services aimed at, or accessible to, persons with disabilities. SEDI will develop working definitions for variables such as "accessibility" criteria for determining whether or not a product or service is aimed primarily at consumers with disabilities or their caregivers. SEDI's working definition of "accessibility" will consider the availability in alternate formats for persons with communications disabilities (such as Braille or TTY formats for visually and hearing impaired Canadians) and complexity or pedagogy for persons with cognitive deficits. SEDI will also look for materials with content clearly aimed at persons with disabilities or their caregivers (for example information on disability-related benefits and long-term financial planning for persons with disabilities or their caregivers). The results of the review will be systematically catalogued in a new and detailed database. Wherever, possible copies of products (such as brochures, curricula, websites, etc..) will be obtained for later reference. Quantitative and qualitative analysis will be conducted to look for gaps in the current supply of financial capability products and services relevant to disability in Canada. The data for this review will be collected using web-based searches, document searches, key informant interviews and referrals from disability-serving organizations in SEDI's network

This research will be supplemented with a review of the literature on financial education, information and advice for persons with disabilities and a general review of relevant examples from the United States and the United Kingdom, two countries which appear to be at the forefront of action on financial capability and whose supply-side resources might be more readily adopted to suit a Canadian marketplace. SEDI expects the literature to be relatively limited on this topic. The literature review will be conducted using international research databases on disability and financial education. The international review will rely primarily on web-based research but may include key informant interviews and referrals from SEDI's international networks in the financial capability field such as the World Institute on Disability (US) and the Resolution Foundation (UK).

SEDI will, with input from key informants, current literature and based on its analysis of international practice, offer ideas to improve the Canadian supply of financial capability resources for persons with disabilities. SEDI expects that this latter section will be developmental rather than directional and will need to be verified through further research, particularly with consumers with disabilities.