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VPL and Vancity partner to offer free financial literacy workshops

VPL and Vancity partner to offer free financial literacy workshops

November 26, 2012. VANCOUVER, B.C. – What is a predatory loan? How important is your credit history? How can you safeguard your identity? Vancouver Public Library and Vancity announced today, in conjunction with Financial Literacy Month in Canada, that the two organizations have partnered to offer free financial literacy workshops to provide participants with the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to make responsible financial decisions.

Starting in February – just in time for tax and RRSP season – VPL will host several of Vancity’s ‘Each One, Teach One’ workshops, which cover topics from basic banking and basic budgeting to credit cards, predatory lending, fraud prevention and income tax filing.

“Supporting literacy is one of the vital roles that libraries play in our communities, and this exciting partnership is very much in keeping with that,” notes Sandra Singh, VPL’s chief executive and chief librarian.

“Information literacy, digital literacy and financial literacy are the foundations of informed, connected and engaged citizens – and that’s key to improving social and economic well-being throughout our city,” she says.

“We invest in financial literacy because it helps improve the financial and overall well-being of individuals, organizations and our communities,” says Linda Morris, Vancity’s senior vice-president of business development, member and community engagement.

“Our goal is to provide the tools for people to have the ability to understand, analyze and use financial information to help them make the right decisions about their money.”

Statistics Canada research indicates that nearly half of Canadian adults don’t have a household budget – and that figure jumps dramatically among younger adults. With issues of high household debt capturing the attention of Canadians, expanding the Vancity sessions through VPL will help bring financial literacy to an even wider audience.

Sessions are initially planned for VPL branches including Kitsilano, Renfrew, Oakridge, Terry Salman and Mount Pleasant, the site of today’s announcement, and then will expand to other VPL locations. Workshops will be delivered in English with translation of key elements into languages including Mandarin, Cantonese and Punjabi.

Offerings at VPL will expand later in the year to include Vancity’s ‘Advice to Go’ workshops, which are designed for budding entrepreneurs or anyone considering self-employment; topics include market research, cash flow projections and raising capital.

Vancity launched its award-winning ‘Each One, Teach One’ in 2008, and since then the program has taught thousands of participants; it is now delivered by more than 120 Vancity employee volunteers.

Details on the workshop schedule will be posted online through and promoted in branches over the next several weeks.

New library materials to support ongoing learning in financial literacy – particularly in languages other than English – will be available for borrowing at VPL’s main downtown location starting early next year.

About VPL

Vancouver Public Library is the third-largest public library system in Canada, serving nearly 375,000 cardholders across 22 locations and online at through ebooks, databases and other digital services. VPL is supported by the City of Vancouver, and the library recorded more than 6.5 million visits in 2011; patrons borrowed nearly 10 million items, including books, ebooks, CDs, DVDs and magazines.

VPL is dedicated to meeting the lifelong learning, reading, recreation and information needs of the residents of Vancouver.

About Vancity

At Vancity we make you good money by putting money to good. Our vision of redefining wealth incorporates personal and community well-being. We have distributed $221 million to members through dividends and to communities through grants and community investment initiatives since 1994. We are a member of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values – a network of the world’s leading sustainable banks sharing the commitment to achieving triple-bottom-line impact through responsible banking practices. We are A Living Wage employer and Canada’s largest community credit union, with $16.1 billion in assets, more than 479,500 members and 58 branches throughout Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Victoria and Squamish.

Media can contact:
Lorraine Wilson
Media Relations Consultant

Vancouver Public Library
Stephen Barrington
Marketing and Communications

VPL is online at, Twitter (@VPL) and Facebook (VancouverPublicLibrary).
Vancity is online at, Twitter (@vancity) and Facebook (Vancity).

About "Each One Teach One" Financial Literacy

Vancity’s signature award winning innovative Financial Literacy program Each One, Teach One (EOTO) is gaining momentum. Imagine moving to a new country and having to figure out not only the local banking system, but also how leases and cell phone contracts work, how to get a loan, and how to file your taxes. This is an experience many newcomers face when they arrive in Canada.

Vancity knows that people’s financial well-being depends on their ability to understand, analyze and use financial information in a way that helps them make good decisions in their daily lives and plan for the future. That’s why in 2008 Vancity launched the Each One, Teach One program, which is delivered by trained employees who are selected for their competency in a second language or for their cultural awareness.

Topics include taxation and tax filing, contracts developing a credit history, basic banking and budgeting, and understanding the credit bureau. Since 2008, more than 100 Vancity employees, with almost thirty language competencies, have taught thousands of individuals through this program, which won the 2011 National Credit Union Award for Community Economic Development.

The program is offered in English and trainers with similar cultural and language capabilities facilitate the workshops to provide the support and familiarization for those who speak another language. Languages represented are: Armenian, Arabic, Cantonese, Mandarin, Taiwanese, Tagalog, Gujarati, Hindi, Spanish, Farsi, Russian German, French, Belarussian, Ukrainian, Korean, Portuguese, Italian, Marathi, Vietnamese, Japanese, Persian, Malaysian, Indonesian, Bosnian, Swahili, Croatian, Serbian, Sinhala and Kiswahili .

In 2009, Statistics Canada undertook a nationwide survey to assess financial behavior and understandings. The Canadian Financial Capability Survey found behavior gaps that may be indicative of the need for improved financial literacy. Included in this is the finding that 49 per cent of all adults say they do not have a household budget, particularly among younger Canadians (57 per cent of 18-29 don’t have a budget) and older Canadians (47 per cent of those aged 60 to 69).

Recent statistics released from Statistics Canada show that Canadians are continuing to amass higher debt loads. The ratio of household debt to disposable income reached 163.4 per cent in June 2012, up from 161.8 per cent in March.

Credit Union member education is one of the seven principles of the international co-operative movement that profoundly shapes the mission, values, governance, culture and business decisions of credit unions in Canada and around the world. Principle Five says that co-operatives should strive to provide their members with “education, training and information. Vancity offers financial literacy programs so member’s “have the knowledge, skills and confidence to make responsible financial decisions”.