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Canada, Like the U. S., Ramps Up Efforts to Promote Financial Literacy

Financial education is all over the news—in Canada. Our northern neighbor this week announced a national strategy for financial literacy and it's rolling out more than 50 new initiatives as part of its "Count Me In, Canada" framework.

The 52 programs include websites and podcasts with educational resources for students; seminars and community workshops for seniors; and quizzes and financial boot camps for people in debt, according to a story in the Globe and Mail. It will also have programs targeting low-income residents, newcomers, youths, and aboriginal Canadians. Banks will contribute $10 million over five years toward the effort.

In case you're wondering, the United States established its national strategy for financial literacy in 2006 and updated it in 2011.

This news in Canada comes as that country joins the growing list of countries taking part in the Program of International Student Assessment (PISA) financial literacy test for students. PISA reported the results of its first financial-literacy test last July. The United States ranked barely in the middle of the pack.

Last year, Canada conducted a field test for PISA 2015 in select schools. All 10 Canadian provinces are participating this year. The test was administered between April 20 and May 29. The results will be published in December 2016.

There are mixed reviews on whether adopting a national strategy for financial literacy works. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, an international research group, notes that such endeavors "have often proved to be challenging, notably due to limited long-term commitment from stakeholders, difficult co‑operation between them, competing interests and mandates, lack of financial and in-kind resources and other implementation issues."

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