Indigenous students get leg up from financial giant

·2 min read

A major Canadian bank is reaching an olive branch out to Indigenous people living in Canada with a new service aimed at helping Indigenous Peoples from coast to coast to coast better plan their financial futures.

The Financial Literacy for Indigenous Peoples Course, produced by the Royal Bank of Canada, is aimed at providing Indigenous peoples with access to resources and information on managing personal finances, especially as the government settles a number of Residential Schools, Residential Day Schools and other reconciliation payments with Indigenous Peoples living in Canada, the national director of Indigenous financial services for RBC said.

"Providing thoughtful financial literacy resources and support is an important part of how RBC works with Indigenous communities across Canada," said Dale Sturges. "We know from the research and recommendations of Indigenous peoples that receiving a lump sum in compensation can be a stressful and even re-traumatizing experience.”

Created in partnership with the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, the program provides practical advice and guidance on managing money with confidence, and planning for the future. According to RBC, the course was created in response to a 2019 recommendation made by a group of First Nations youth to provide feedback on compensation for First Nations kids and their families.

Access to financial literacy information is also a recommendation made by Residential School survivors in past reports.

Sturges said the course is designed to help Indigenous Peoples with easy-to-digest info and insight on investing and saving for the future.

“By providing straightforward, accessible information, as was recommended, our hope is that this financial literacy program will be a useful tool for people. The course is broadly designed and intended to be a resource for all Indigenous peoples to support knowledge and awareness, and to help them achieve their financial goals," he added.

The course is an interactive, non-credit, modular learning experience covering key topics like basics about banking, budgeting, managing debt and credit, saving and investing. Each module is accessible in PDF form and features online multimedia material, such as short introduction videos featuring RBC's Indigenous employee resource group, the Royal Eagles. The entire course may be viewed in approximately two hours, and can be completed at one's own pace, the company said.

The executive director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society said the new course has the potential to be a valuable resource to Indigenous Peoples in Canada.

"When former youth in care said they wanted to learn more about financial literacy, Royal Bank of Canada generously worked with the Caring Society and Youth in Care Canada to create these practical and informative resources," said Cindy Blackstock. "While tailored for young people in care or formerly in care, these resources are helpful to us all."

For more information, or to or to access RBC's Financial Literacy for Indigenous Peoples course, please visit rbc.com/indigenous.

Marc Lalonde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Iori:wase

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