Standards for Canadian organizations

2020 Edition

Financial Education and Counselling Services (CA-FEC) 5: Financial Education and Counselling Services

The organization supports and delivers a variety of counselling and education services on family money management, budgeting, and the prudent, intelligent use of credit.
2020 Edition

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Purpose

Clients who receive Financial Education and Counselling services learn to solve financial problems and gain personal financial management skills.
1
All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, as indicated by full implementation of the practices outlined in the Practice Standards.
2
Practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality; or
  • Procedures need strengthening; or
  • With few exceptions, procedures are understood by staff and are being used; or
  • For the most part, established timeframes are met; or
  • Proper documentation is the norm and any issues with individual staff members are being addressed through performance evaluations and training; or
  • Active client participation occurs to a considerable extent.
3
Practice requires significant improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards. Service quality or program functioning may be compromised; e.g.,
  • Procedures and/or case record documentation need significant strengthening; or
  • Procedures are not well-understood or used appropriately; or
  • Timeframes are often missed; or
  • Several client records are missing important information; or
  • Client participation is inconsistent. 
4
Implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
  • No written procedures, or procedures are clearly inadequate or not being used; or 
  • Documentation is routinely incomplete and/or missing.      
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Financial counselling procedures
  • Table of contents of educational program curricula
  • Sample financial education materials provided to clients
  • Educational program curricula
  • Information about individual and group counselling and education programs including program dates, subjects, number of participants, and participant evaluations
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Clients
  • Review client files

CA-FEC 5.01

The organization educates clients and provides general information about: 
  1. public and non-profit resources that can offer assistance; and 
  2. applicable laws and regulations.

CA-FEC 5.02

Counselling and education services offer the full range of options to address debt problems, and include information about:
  1. negotiating directly with creditors on payment or interest rate relief;
  2. changing buying habits;
  3. strategies for saving money;
  4. custom designed payment plans; and
  5. advantages and challenges of all options, including payment plans and options for student loans, bankruptcy, DMPs, and self-administered payment plans.
NA The organization provides Housing Counselling and Education Services only.

CA-FEC 5.03

Education programs include information that addresses, as applicable:
  1. affordable levels of debt and debt warning signs;
  2. appropriate use of credit and alternatives to credit use;
  3. financial implications of student loan modification actions;
  4. types, sources, and costs of credit and loans;
  5. solving credit problems;
  6. obtaining and understanding credit reports;
  7. re-establishing credit; and
  8. alternatives to bankruptcy.

CA-FEC 5.04

Clients are educated about the advantages of developing a budget, including how to:
  1. establish short and long-term financial goals and how to achieve them;
  2. calculate gross and net monthly income; and
  3. identify and classify monthly expenses as fixed, variable, or periodic.

CA-FEC 5.05

Money-management education includes information about:
  1. how to maintain adequate financial records;
  2. making decisions about purchases based on wants and needs;
  3. the value of insurance coverage; and
  4. saving for emergencies, periodic expenses, and long-term goals.

CA-FEC 5.06

The organization provides, either directly or through contractual arrangements:
  1. counselling and education programs to a wide range of groups through various mediums, such as online technology, in educational settings, in public settings, and in the potential service area; and
  2. information about its services to potential referral sources, such as employee assistance programs and social service organizations.
Examples: Audiences can include high schools, trade schools, adult education programs, colleges and universities, civic organizations, religious organizations, and the military, if located in the area.