Financial Literacy

Financial Literacy is an essential part of life! Learning how to manage your finances, savings and debts will better prepare you for Independent living. The sooner you start will determine your spending and saving habits and help you prepare for your future.

Types of income may include but are not limited to:

Continued Care and Renewed Supports (CCSY), Ontario Works (OW), Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP), and Employment Income (Part time and Full time).

The basics of being financially independent are calculating what your monthly income  is and what your monthly expenses are. Unfortunately, sometimes our expenses exceed our income as things can become very expensive. This is why creating a Budget is very important for you to track your spending on a monthly basis.

 A budget is a tool to help you organize your money. Below are a few different budgets.

One sample budget is based on receiving Continued Care and Renewed Supports. The other is based on a part time hourly minimum wage job.

Look at the difference a part time job makes! On income assistance you are just getting by. With a minimum wage job you can get your own place to live, spend a bit more on fun and save a little cash. If you have a full-time job at $11.50 an hour you can get a bigger place, cable TV – and still have some cash left over for fun and savings.

This is a sample budget, actual amounts and costs may vary.

Monthly Budget CCSY

Monthly Budget CCSY & Part-time Job

Income                      850.00                            1200.00 

Housing/Rent            475.00                             600.00 

Food                          100.00                             150.00 

Personal Care             40.00                               60.00 

Laundry                       15.00                               15.00 

Transportation           145.00                             145.00 

Other                           35.00                               35.00 

Totale Expenses        810.00                           1,005.00 

Total Income              850.00                            1200.00 

Total Expenses          774.00                             969.00 

Savings                       40.00                              195.00 

If you are interested or need some assistance with Financial Literacy, below are a few options you can discuss with your worker

Financial Literacy group offered through PARC

The Financial Literacy group offered at PARC can help you with some essential financial management tools. The purpose of the group is to prepare youth for their successful transition to emerging adulthood by building their financial literacy knowledge, confidence and skills to set and achieve goals, make informed choices and respond effectively to their evolving financial circumstances

The Financial Literacy Group is offered Thursday evenings from 5:30-8:30pm. The session runs for 15 weeks at a time with start dates in fall of 2016 and in the new year of 2017.

Please contact PARC at (416) 462-1010 for more information

Financial Literacy Online Training (please check out under "Element" for more information)

**Please note you must connect with your worker to explore the in person financial literacy course option offered through PARC before being referred to the online training.

The Children’s Aid Foundation, in collaboration with the Prosper Canada Centre for Financial Literacy developed an online financial literacy training for youth transitioning out of the child welfare system so they are better able to successfully manage money and debts, and to begin building assets.

Course Structure

The course consists of 6 modules covering the following topics: Budgeting, Banking and Financial Services, Saving,   Credit Basics, Debt, Debt Repayment & Creditors

  • Learners will take a short quiz at the end of each module, and a summary quiz at the end of the course in order to encourage full participation
  • Participants will receive an electronic certificate of completion when they have finished the course
  • Participants will have 3 months from the time of registration to complete the course (extensions may be given on a case-by-case basis in exceptional circumstances)


  • Under the age of 30 (for youth 18 years of age and under, a referral will be required from a child protection worker)
  • A current or former Crown (permanent) Ward with a Canadian child welfare agency, or youth eligible for Continued Care and Support for Youth
  • Motivated to gain the skills, tools & knowledge to better manage your money


  • To register for the training, youth must pre-register with the Children’s Aid Foundation using our online application portal.
  • Once pre-registration has been completed, you will be contacted via email with steps on how to register and begin the online training

Individual Financial Services and counseling

WoodGreen offers workshops through their Financial literacy program. They also provide individual financial advice through their financial clinic. In addition, they offer FREE income tax clinics. For more information, please contact OR call (416)645-6000

Basics: To get you started

How to Open a Bank Account

To open an account, you need one piece of picture I.D. (passport, health card, etc.) and one other piece of official I.D. (birth certificate, SIN card, etc.). Of course, you also need some money to put in the account. You will have some choices to make when you are opening your account. Here's some info to help you.

Choosing a Bank

Shop around to decide which bank is best for you. Here are some questions to help you get some info to help you choose.

  • What service charges would I have to pay with this kind of account?
  • What kind of chequing and savings accounts do you have?
  • Which bills can I pay here?
  • What are the different ways I can pay bills here?
  • What are the service charges for paying bills?
  • What service charges do I pay when I use my bankcard?
  • How much is the minimum deposit for opening an account?
  • How can I make deposits and withdrawals with this kind of account?

If you are a student ask about a student account, these are usually fee free!


There are two basic ways to buy something – CASH and CREDIT. When you use cash or your bankcard to pay, the money leaves your hand or your bank account when you buy something. If you use credit, like a credit card or "lay-away plan", you are promising to pay later for some or all of something. Think twice before using credit to buy things.

Sometimes it's hard to pay for something after you have it. And sometimes you get charged interest. That means you end up paying more money when you use credit than when you use cash or your bankcard.

Also if it takes you a long time to pay something back, you could pay twice as much for something due to the interest. If you don't pay back credit cards or other loans, you will get a bad credit score which means you may not be able to get a mortgage or car loan.

3 Ways to Cash a Cheque Without an Account

  • Take photo ID and the cheque to the bank on the cheque (this is the bank where the money will come from).
  • Go to a cheque-cashing store. These places charge you a fee for cashing your cheque. You will need photo ID.
  • If the previous two options are not available to you, ask for your worker assistance.

The best plan is to get an account!! It will cost less to cash a cheque at a bank than at a cheque-cashing store. Plus, you won't have to carry a lot of cash around with you – carrying a lot of cash makes it easy to spend, lose or get stolen.

Free Help Doing Your Income Tax

Every year in March and April, volunteers help thousands of people do their income tax. To be qualified for this service your income has to be less than $20,000 a year. To get free help with your tax return call Revenue Canada at 1-800-959-8281 and ask if there are any free volunteer services that will assist you with your income tax in the area that you live. They will probably ask for your postal code. Once they find a place in your city, they will give you the phone number. It is your responsibility to call to set up an appointment with them.

Also, if you require help with direct deposit, preparing your income tax or missing T4's you can call Revenue Canada at the same number.

The YMCA is another place that can help you do your income tax for free. The number to the YMCA in Toronto is 416- 928-9622 or 1-800-223-8024 anywhere else.

Every year Toronto CAS, Child and Youth Services Department and PARC hold free income tax workshops. Ask your worker for details and to register you for this event.

Tax Tips - Knowing how taxes work can help put some extra cash in your pocket

In the next section you will find useful info on Income Tax and GST Refunds

Income Tax

You can pick up income tax forms at any post office. You use these forms to record how much money you made last year, how much tax you have to pay – and how much tax benefits you will get back! You should file your taxes every year. If you haven't filed your taxes for a few years, you can file for up to seven years past to get any benefits coming to you (like tax refunds, GST credits or child benefits).

It's worth doing your taxes because a lot of young people get money back after sending in the forms. If you owe money for income tax, the law says that you have to file a tax return.

The deadline for doing your taxes for the previous calendar year is April 30. If you owe money for income tax, you will get charged interest if you pay after April 30.

If you had a job last year, you will need a "T-4" slip to do your income tax. If you don't get a T-4 in the mail from your employer, call and ask them to send you one. They must send you one by law by the end of February. (Hill, McAdam-Crisp pg. 11-12) You can get all the info you need about tax returns at the Canada Revenue website,

Make sure you let Revenue Canada know your new address if you move before you get your income tax or GST refund.

GST Refunds

GST refunds give back a little of the money you pay in tax when you buy things. You can apply for a GST refund if you were 19 or older at the end of the tax year. Apply for GST refunds when you do your income tax return. For more info on GST refunds, call Revenue Canada at 1-800-959-8281.

We recommend you contact your worker and explore the best option for you to get the best and up to date information on financial literacy as there is a lot to learn!! You might benefit from in person financial literacy programs which can help you manage your finances and lifestyle