ICAN’s Canadian Study Odyssey Part 1

ICAN’s Jon O’Mally with Steve Vanderherberg, Director, Family Finance & Employment Supports, tour WoodGreen’s Financial Empowerment Office.

ICAN’s Carmen Daniels, Jon O’Mally and Aaron Davis touched down in Toronto the day after the city’s basketball team, the Toronto Raptors, made history by becoming the first Canadian team to ever win the National Basketball Association (NBA) Championships. The city’s vibrant mood associated with the victory set the tone for what would become a frenetic first week on ICAN’s Canadian ‘Community Economic Development (CED)’ study tour. Sponsorship from the Ian Potter Foundation has provided ICAN’s program development team the opportunity to learn about the incorporation of CED principles from Canada’s premiere financial empowerment organisations and programs.

Prosper Canada, WoodGreen Community Services and ICAN meet to discuss all things financial empowerment.

ICAN CEO, Aaron Davis believes the incorporation of CED program principles are the next stage in the development of the organisations Yarnin’ Money financial literacy program. “Through the delivery of Yarnin’ Money in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities we’ve identified that there is a real need for the incorporation of financial coaching in job services and sole trader/small business development”, said Mr Davis. “Basically, we want to take our Canadian CED learnings and adapt them to an Australian context and in turn add value to existing job service and small business development agencies.”

ICAN Research and Communications Lead, Carmen Daniels’s extensive planning and coordination of the study tour provided meeting, workshop and presentation opportunities with Prosper Canada, WoodGreen Community Services , Sustainable Livelihoods and York University over the tour’s first week. “Canada’s lead financial empowerment policy and program organisation, Prosper, was the perfect organisation to start with, as they could provide a national overview of the sectors existing programs and strategic direction,” said Mrs Daniels. “I’d really like to thank Prosper Canada’s Adam Fair and York Universities, Professor Chris Robinson for organising invaluable opportunities to learn from frontline service organisations and client behavioural economics/empowerment thought leaders.”   

ICAN’s Carmen Daniels and Jon O’Mally present on Indigenous financial counselling development and Australia’s broader financial counselling sector at the York Universities Financial Counselling and Planning Research Symposium.

Reflecting on the learnings and information sharing so far, ICAN Operations Manager, Jon O’Mally said, “I could really see the application of our learnings on Asset Mapping, Janet Murray (Sustainable Livelihoods) and Behavioural Change Frameworks to Financial Empowerment’s, Ayesha Umme-Jihad/Phillippe Raphael in building the scope of financial capability work and service delivery continuous improvement processes in Australia. It has also been really great to share information about Australia’s financial counselling and consumer advocacy space, as there has been great interest in the scope of our practice and consumer regulatory frameworks.” 

ICAN’s program development team are looking forward to re-connecting with Professor Jerry Buckland and Canada’s lead CED/Financial Empowerment organisations SEED and Momentum in the upcoming Winnipeg and Calgary legs of the tour. Watch this space for part two of ICAN’s Canadian Study Odyssey.