At Prosper Canada, we support a network of 14 Financial Empowerment champion (FEC) - organizations that aim to expand proven financial empowerment interventions in communities across the country. These groups have delivered effective financial help to 320,000 Canadians, helping them to access $700M in new income, improve their credit scores, savings and debt levels and build wealth through education, employment, entrepreneurship and improved housing.
However, over 8 million Canadians are now unemployed or experiencing steeply reduced earnings due to COVID-19. Through conversations with our networks, we have heard that Canadians need support to do three critical things to weather this crisis:
Access emergency benefits and relief measures to put a firm financial floor under their feet
Build a budget that will get them through the crisis and help them avoid debt they cannot afford.
Make a financial recovery plan to rebuild their financial health as the pandemic recedes.
If you’re a frontline service provider serving vulnerable Canadians, we know that you’ve likely been busier than ever supporting Canadians through this crisis. We have compiled a short list of tools and resources that may help you in this work:
Support access to emergency benefits and relief measures
We created the Financial Relief Navigator to help everyone find the supports available to help them increase their incomes or lower their expenses during the pandemic. This tool gathers all of these supports in one, easy-to-navigate portal.
Filing taxes is a key ingredient to getting many of these benefits. Many organizations in our network are hosting virtual Community Volunteer Income Tax Program clinics to help people file their taxes even with physical distancing measures in place.
Build a budget
Even before COVID-19, many Canadians reported struggling with their finances, with approximately 1 in 4 reporting borrowing money to keep up with daily expenses. Budgeting is one of the most important first steps in managing your money, and Canadians who budget not only report being less likely to fall behind on their financial commitments, but are also less likely to borrow in order to meet their day-to-day spending needs. We’ve curated several tips and resources on budgeting and saving.
Make a financial recovery plan
Getting to financial stability is going to look a little bit different for everyone, depending on what their finances looked like before COVID-19, and how they were affected. Many Canadians will have likely drawn on their savings in order to get through this time. Part of the financial recovery process will involve re-building the savings cushion as income starts to stabilize. Not-for-profit credit counsellors can help to recommend the best course of action. You can also share these tips on managing bills and debts during an emergency.
Let us know what support you need
Please reach out to let us know if there are any resources, tools, or support that would be helpful to you during this time. You can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Working together we can save lives, redirect the financial trajectory of Canadians and build their resilience against future emergencies.
Take your learning further:
- Learn more about Prosper Canada's Financial Empowerment Champion Project
- Key Findings from the 2019 Canadian Financial Capability Survey