Canadian youth rank second in financial literacy: OECD

By Staff | May 25, 2017 | Last updated on May 25, 2017
2 min read

Canadian youth surpass their global peers when it comes to financial literacy. Whether that means Canadian advisors have an easier or harder job compared to their own global peers can be left for you to decide.

A survey from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) finds that 87% of Canadian students perform at or above a baseline level of proficiency in financial literacy. That compares to about 78% of students in the other OECD countries.

Overall, Canada ranked second — tied with Belgium — out of 15 countries and economies participating in the financial literacy assessment. China scooped the number-one spot.

Read: National financial literacy committee gets new members

Top performers

About 22% of Canadian students surveyed are top performers in financial literacy — proficient at the survey’s highest level. These students can analyze complex financial products, solve non-routine financial problems and show an understanding of the wider financial landscape. A sample question asked students to identify and respond appropriately to a financial scam email message.

Read: Is less information better for your clients?

In the other OECD countries, only 12% of students are top performers. China was the exception, with 33% of students being top performers.

Other highlights:

  • On average, students with a bank account have higher financial literacy than students without accounts. More than three-quarters of 15-year-old Canadian students (78%) have bank accounts. That’s significantly higher that the OECD average of 56%.
  • Four out of five Canadian students said that if they didn’t have enough money to buy something they really wanted, they would either save up to buy it or would forgo.
  • About 52% of Canadian students report that they save each week or month.
  • About 87% of students discuss money matters with their parents at least once a month.
  • No gender differences in financial literacy were found in Canada, but, worldwide, girls outperform boys by a small margin (five points).

Read more survey details.

About the survey: In 2015, close to 48,000 students from 15 countries and economies took part in the financial literacy assessment. In Canada, approximately 3,400 15-year-olds from seven provinces (Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario, Manitoba and British Columbia) participated.

Also read: High school students in Ontario to get financially savvy staff


The staff of have been covering news for financial advisors since 1998.