Ansley Dawson with Steve Vanderherberg
80 Years 1937-2017
Ansley Dawson, Financial Empowerment Supervisor with Steve Vanderherberg, Director of Strategic Initiatives.

Financial Empowerment provides the right tools for success

WoodGreen’s Financial Empowerment Services scales up service offerings as a newly named Ontario Financial Empowerment Champion.

WoodGreen’s Financial Services empower people living on a low income with the knowledge and skills they need to make informed decisions about their financial futures. Serving over 6,000 clients every year, we work to improve financial wellbeing with free, unbiased information, counselling and support.

The Financial Empowerment portfolio includes 4 main areas of focus that help families and individuals living on a low income manage their finances effectively: financial literacy workshops, income tax clinics, one-on-one financial coaching and documentation support. The income tax clinic is the largest and most used service: in the last tax season a team of over 200 staff and volunteers returned over $6 million to the community!

Ansley Dawson leading a Financial Empowerment Clinic

In recognition of WoodGreen’s leadership in this field, we were named an Ontario Financial Empowerment (FE) Champion by Prosper Canada. Funded by the Government of Ontario, the FE Champions project selected five partners across Ontario to help improve the lives of 50,000 people living on a low income, by expanding their proven financial empowerment interventions across the province. WoodGreen is the only Ontario FE Champion in Toronto.

We were supported in our bid to become an Ontario FE Champion by Behavioural Economics in Action at Rotman (BEAR), a research centre that focuses on the evaluation of social and economic problems through a behavioural science lens. Partnering with BEAR, we’re conducting innovative research to evaluate how we can create more effective interventions and help influence behaviour to improve uptake of financial empowerment programs.

We also recently partnered with SmartSaver to provide families with clear, unbiased information about the Canada Learning Bond (CLB) for post-secondary education. There are currently 1.5 million children across Canada missing out on free government money for their education. We want to change that by making it easier for families to understand and access these benefits, and encouraging them to sign up through StartMyRESP. As part of our Ontario FE Champions work, we have committed to signing up 300 kids for the CLB this year.

Success looks different for everyone, and we meet people where they are, providing unbiased, non-judgemental support. With the new Ontario FE Champions designation, we are excited to have the capacity to scale up our service offerings to empower more people living on a low income to improve their financial well-being.