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Canadian Financial Literacy Challenges

This analysis is about the key challenges reported by new immigrants when navigating the Canadian financial system, providing valuable insights for policymakers and organizations working to support this demographic.

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Fear of Making Financial Mistakes

Arriving in Canada brings a mix of excitement and opportunity for learning, particularly when it comes to financial matters. This goeasy survey reveals:

  • 58% of newcomers feared making financial mistakes when arriving in Canada.

  • The concern was notably higher among Gen Z, Millennials (59%) and Gen X (57%) as compared to Baby Boomers (11%).

  • Interestingly, gender also played a role, with 64% of females expressing fear compared to 53% of males.

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Lack of Understanding of Financial Jargon

  • Nearly (46%) of respondents reported a lack of understanding of financial jargon as a primary concern.

  • The highest level of discomfort with financial language was found amongst Gen X (50%) and Millennials (46%).

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Not Knowing Where to Find Reliable/Accurate Information

  • 52% of respondents stated that not knowing where to find reliable/accurate information was a significant barrier.

  • This concern was more prevalent among those in Nova Scotia (67%) and Alberta (60%) than other regions in the country.

  • Individuals with lower household income levels (<$50K: 50%) were less likely to report this as a concern than higher income brackets.

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Not Having Access to Resources in Your Primary Language

  • 14% of respondents highlighted a lack of access to resources in their primary language as a barrier.

  • This concern was more common among Millennials (14%) and Gen X (18%).

  • Visible minorities (13%) were slightly less likely to report this as a barrier than non-visible minorities (15%).

Canadian Financial Literacy Trends - Key Statistics

Understanding any country's financial system and requirements can be intimidating, especially for newcomers. In Canada, the financial landscape may differ significantly from what they are accustomed to. Understanding the financial system and available tools is crucial to making informed financial decisions.

The following are some key insights new Canadians shared and their understanding of the Canadian financial system.

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Canadian Financial Literacy Rates

The majority of respondents (59%) indicated that they either “very strongly agree” or “somewhat agree” that they had a good understanding of the Canadian financial system when they arrived in Canada.


This suggests respondents' relatively high confidence level regarding their initial understanding of the Canadian financial system.

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Generational Differences

Among the generations, Gen Z (60%) and Gen Xers (79%) indicated to have a better understanding of the financial systems and tools as compared to their Millennials (55%) and Baby Boomers counterparts (22%), showing a greater awareness and understanding of the tools and resources to support financial literacy.

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Gender Variations

According to a survey, male newcomers to Canada tend to understand the Canadian financial system more than their female counterparts. 23% of men "strongly agreed" and 45% "somewhat agreed" that they understood the financial system, while only 16% of women "strongly agreed" and 34% "somewhat agreed" to the same question.

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Education and Income Influence

Individuals with higher education and income levels tend to better understand the Canadian financial system. When asked about this topic, 40% of respondents with higher education and 44% with higher income levels agreed that they understand the financial system well. This suggests that higher education and income levels may contribute to a better understanding of the Canadian financial system.

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Visible Minority Status

Respondents who identify as visible minorities have shared the need to better understanding of our Canadian financial system as a newcomer, with only 8% strongly agreeing to have a good understanding as compared to those 28% of respondents who are not a visible minority. This suggests that visible minorities face additional challenges in understanding the Canadian financial system, potentially due to language barriers, cultural differences, limited access to financial resources, etc.

Financial Literacy Data 2024

How many newcomers have some level of understanding of the Canadian financial system?

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Approximately 60% of newcomers have indicated they understand the Canadian financial system at least some level.

What have been the key sources of information for new Canadians to learn about the financial systems?

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Personal and informal connections, such as friends and family, are the top source of information (81% of respondents), closely followed by social media (79% of respondents)

What are the primary concerns or barriers to financial information when newcomers arrive in Canada?

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The two biggest concerns are Fear of making financial mistakes (58% of respondents) and Lack of understanding of financial jargon (46% of respondents).

What are the most popular topics that newcomers to Canada want to learn about?

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For most newcomers, the popular topics are building and understanding credit scores and how credit cards work.

Canadian Financial Literacy Trends - Key Statistics

Understanding any country's financial system and requirements can be intimidating, especially for newcomers. In Canada, the financial landscape may differ significantly from what they are accustomed to. Understanding the financial system and available tools is crucial to making informed financial decisions.

The following are some key insights new Canadians shared and their understanding of the Canadian financial system.

Benefits ogf Loans
benefits card image

Canadian Financial Literacy Rates

The majority of respondents (59%) indicated that they either “very strongly agree” or “somewhat agree” that they had a good understanding of the Canadian financial system when they arrived in Canada.


This suggests respondents' relatively high confidence level regarding their initial understanding of the Canadian financial system.

Benefits ogf Loans
benefits card image

Generational Differences

Among the generations, Gen Z (60%) and Gen Xers (79%) indicated to have a better understanding of the financial systems and tools as compared to their Millennials (55%) and Baby Boomers counterparts (22%), showing a greater awareness and understanding of the tools and resources to support financial literacy.

Benefits ogf Loans
benefits card image

Gender Variations

According to a survey, male newcomers to Canada tend to understand the Canadian financial system more than their female counterparts. 23% of men "strongly agreed" and 45% "somewhat agreed" that they understood the financial system, while only 16% of women "strongly agreed" and 34% "somewhat agreed" to the same question.

Benefits ogf Loans
benefits card image

Education and Income Influence

Individuals with higher education and income levels tend to better understand the Canadian financial system. When asked about this topic, 40% of respondents with higher education and 44% with higher income levels agreed that they understand the financial system well. This suggests that higher education and income levels may contribute to a better understanding of the Canadian financial system.

Benefits ogf Loans
benefits card image

Visible Minority Status

Respondents who identify as visible minorities have shared the need to better understanding of our Canadian financial system as a newcomer, with only 8% strongly agreeing to have a good understanding as compared to those 28% of respondents who are not a visible minority. This suggests that visible minorities face additional challenges in understanding the Canadian financial system, potentially due to language barriers, cultural differences, limited access to financial resources, etc.

Canadian Financial Literacy Challenges

This analysis is about the key challenges reported by new immigrants when navigating the Canadian financial system, providing valuable insights for policymakers and organizations working to support this demographic.

Benefits ogf Loans
benefits card image

Fear of Making Financial Mistakes

Arriving in Canada brings a mix of excitement and opportunity for learning, particularly when it comes to financial matters. This goeasy survey reveals:

  • 58% of newcomers feared making financial mistakes when arriving in Canada.

  • The concern was notably higher among Gen Z, Millennials (59%) and Gen X (57%) as compared to Baby Boomers (11%).

  • Interestingly, gender also played a role, with 64% of females expressing fear compared to 53% of males.

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Lack of Understanding of Financial Jargon

  • Nearly (46%) of respondents reported a lack of understanding of financial jargon as a primary concern.

  • The highest level of discomfort with financial language was found amongst Gen X (50%) and Millennials (46%).

Lire plusright arrow
Benefits ogf Loans
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Not Knowing Where to Find Reliable/Accurate Information

  • 52% of respondents stated that not knowing where to find reliable/accurate information was a significant barrier.

  • This concern was more prevalent among those in Nova Scotia (67%) and Alberta (60%) than other regions in the country.

  • Individuals with lower household income levels (<$50K: 50%) were less likely to report this as a concern than higher income brackets.

Benefits ogf Loans
benefits card image

Not Having Access to Resources in Your Primary Language

  • 14% of respondents highlighted a lack of access to resources in their primary language as a barrier.

  • This concern was more common among Millennials (14%) and Gen X (18%).

  • Visible minorities (13%) were slightly less likely to report this as a barrier than non-visible minorities (15%).

Financial Education Resources for Canadians

Understanding the Canadian financial system is crucial for newcomers to make informed decisions. If we know the sources they rely on, we can provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of existing resources that people are using and help identify areas for improvement. Let's explore the primary sources newcomers use to gather information on the financial system in Canada.

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From Friends and Family

A significant majority (61%) of respondents reported that they rely on friends and family for information on the financial system. This indicates the importance of personal and informal networks in providing financial guidance to newcomers, particularly among younger demographics like Gen Z, Millennials (63%) and Gen X (54%).

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By Joining Social Media Groups

About a third (29%) of respondents mentioned joining social media groups to access financial information. This trend was more prevalent among older demographics, such as Generation X (34%) and Millennials (29%).

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Through Online Written Resources

More than half (53%) of respondents used online written resources, including government and financial institution websites, to gather financial information. This method was more prevalent among Generation X (60%) and Millennials (53%).

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Through Online Videos

Around 43% of respondents reported using online videos, such as the videos available on YouTube and TikTok, to learn about the financial system. This method was more popular among younger demographics, such as Generation Z (44%) and Millennials (44%).

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Through Financial Institutions

Nearly half (48%) of respondents relied on information from financial institutions. This method was particularly popular among Millennials (50%) and Baby Boomers (56%).

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Through Other Third-Party Organizations

A smaller percentage (22%) of respondents sought information from other third-party organizations, such as immigration agencies and newcomer support groups. This method was less common but still notable/visible among specific demographics.

Analysis of the Financial Literacy Research in Canada

Navigating the Canadian financial system can be challenging, especially for newcomers. If we do some research on the financial topics that the newcomers wish to have a better grasp of, we can provide valuable insights into the areas where additional support and education are needed. Let's explore the financial topics newcomers wish to understand better to help them navigate the Canadian financial system.

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How Canadian Credit Cards Work

About 43% of respondents wanted to understand better how Canadian credit cards work. This indicates a need for clearer explanations and guidance on credit card usage and terms, particularly among younger demographics like GenZ (45%) and Millennials (44%).

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How to Start Building Credit in Canada

Nearly half (48%) of respondents wished to understand better how to start building credit in Canada. This indicates a need for more information and resources on establishing credit history among all demographics, including Generation Z (45%), Millennials (51%), Generation X (45%), and Baby Boomers (44%).

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How to Understand My Credit Score

Many respondents (49%) wanted to understand their credit score better. This indicates a need for education on how credit scores are calculated and how they impact financial decisions, particularly among older demographics like Baby Boomers (56%).

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How to Properly File My Taxes

More than half (54%) of respondents wished to understand how to file their taxes correctly. This indicates a need for more precise guidance on tax filing processes and requirements, particularly among younger demographics like Gen Z (47%) and Millennials (59%).

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How to Avoid Financial Phishing and Fraud Scams

About a third (34%) of respondents wished to understand better how to avoid financial phishing and fraud scams. This indicates a need for education on recognizing and protecting against online scams, particularly among younger demographics.

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How to Start Growing My Savings

Most respondents (51%) wanted to understand how to start growing their savings. This indicates a need for saving strategies and financial planning guidance, particularly among younger demographics.

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How to Purchase a Home and Get a Mortgage

About 42% of respondents wished to understand how to purchase a home and get a mortgage. This indicates a need for information on the home-buying process and mortgage options, particularly among Millennials (45%) and Gen X (44%).

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How to Access Loans

A smaller percentage (28%) of respondents wanted to understand how to access loans. This indicates a need for information on loan options and eligibility requirements, particularly among older demographics like Baby Boomers (33%) and Gen X (29%)

Conclusion

The survey findings highlight the challenges and opportunities for improving financial literacy among new Canadians. Despite the availability of resources, many newcomers face barriers such as fear of making financial mistakes, lack of understanding of financial jargon, and difficulty accessing reliable information in their primary language. These challenges highlight the importance of targeted education programs and resources to support newcomers in navigating the Canadian financial system.


The survey also reveals areas where new Canadians seek a better understanding, including credit cards, credit scores, taxes, savings, and homeownership. Addressing these topics through easily accessible and culturally sensitive education initiatives can empower newcomers to make informed financial decisions and achieve their financial goals in Canada.


Moving forward, collaboration among government agencies, financial institutions, community organizations, and educational institutions will be essential in developing and delivering effective financial literacy programs for new Canadians. By investing in these initiatives, we can enhance the financial well-being of newcomers, promote economic integration, and contribute to a more inclusive and flourishing society for all.

New to Canada? Explore these tools and resources to help shed some light on your financial future.

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Mettre les Canadiens sur la voie d’un meilleur avenir financier

Nous nous sommes donnés pour mission d’aider nos clients à rebâtir leur crédit et leur admissibilité à des taux bancaires.

400+

établissements

au Canada

800M

clients

servis

93%

Taux de

satisfaction

60%

des clients améliorent

leur cote de crédit.

1sur3

passe à un

taux préférentiel

Ce que les Canadiens aiment chez nous

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Avez-vous des questions? Nous pouvons vous aider.

What credit score do I need for easyfinancial?

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This is determined on a case-by-case basis. We use many factors to approve applicants for a loan, including monthly income and credit score. We factor in your debt-to-income ratio (50%), debts in collections, car payments, and monthly debt obligations. Those with bad credit (300-720) are encouraged to apply.

What is a soft inquiry and how is it different than a hard inquiry?

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A soft inquiry is when your credit report is pulled for informational purposes and does not affect your credit score. A soft inquiry is simply a review of your credit report that's used to determine if you are eligible for a pre-approved offer and may be used to verify who you are.  When a company conducts a soft inquiry, this is only visible to you, and is not seen by other lenders therefore it will not negatively affect your credit score. 

A hard inquiry is when a credit report is requested from the credit bureau for the purpose of evaluating you as a borrower. A hard inquiry can affect your credit score and can be seen by other lenders. However, keep in mind that hard inquiries are only one of the five major factors that help determine your credit score.  Other factors such a payment history and credit utilization play a much bigger role in determining your credit score. 

What documents are needed to get an approval?

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We require the following documents:

2 recent pay stubs

  1. Last 90 days of banking information 

  2. 1 recent bill addressed to your current home 

  3. A piece of government photo ID