I have been following someone or something on Twitter called "Fiscal Literacy." It's American, that I know, and every day there are half-a-dozen tweets with links to news about the activities of the Treasury Department's Financial Literacy and Education Commission. From what I have read, and not read, the U.S. seems to be leaving Canada more than a few tweets behind when it comes to financial literacy.
One thing that caught my eye recently was a call from the Treasury for public input on determining the core competencies that Americans should have when it comes to personal finances. The public has until September 12th to email or call in with their suggestions. Very cool--if you are American! (To get the details, you can read a good summary article in the Washington Post that ran a few days ago.) But back to our federal government and financial literacy. What are we doing to build financial literacy in Canada? And are we even talking about it?
As part of the Economic Action Plan, Jim Flaherty (our Finance Minister) created a Task Force on Financial Literacy. So, this spring, a small group of Canadian professionals set out on a cross-country journey to find out what Canadians don't know and need to know about money. They wrapped up their consultations in May and are set to report to Flaherty at the end of the year....and there hasn't been much news since.
I subscribe to the Task Force newsletter (and follow them on FB and Twitter) and during the entire summer I only received one update which is a link to the consultation document, an online appendix of all the letters that the Task Force received from business, educators and individuals. That was a month ago and, by the way, their last tweet was May 11th (FinLitTaskForce) and last Facebook wall post was May 13 (Financial Literacy Task Force). Not good. If the Task Force leaders aren't excited about tweeting and posting on this topic then I think we are in trouble.
With our ability to move through the recession with at least a little grace, and our position as a world leader in banking regulation, Canada shouldn't be a single tweet behind any nation when it comes to financial literacy or using social media to educate and spread the word. To our credit, our Task Force has more posts on its FB page than the U.S. Commission does, and our Task Force is on Twitter, while the U.S. Commission is not. But social networking only works if you network.
Are we behind the U.S. when it comes to financial literacy initiatives? It seems so. Then again, if the Task Force would send us a tweet once in a while...we might be pleasantly surprised.
P.S. I just sent the Task Force a note on FB and Twitter saying that I'd love to have an update. I'll let you know what happens!
Copyright 2010. Laura Thomas. All rights reserved.