Financial Literacy

Financial Literacy Guide for Newcomers to Canada

This guide was created by community partners to serve as part of the City of North Bay Immigration and North Bay & District Multicultural Centre’s welcoming package to newcomers to Canada. It is intended to assist and educate newcomers about financial literacy and best financial practices while living in Canada and more specifically, in the North Bay region.

To learn more about financial literacy click the image below and watch our short video!

Financial Literacy

0:06Coming to Canada may have been a long journey,
0:08but now that you are here,
0:10let’s help you feel comfortable with your new day-to-day life.
0:14One of the most important things
0:16to understand - no matter what country you are living in -
0:20is financial literacy.
0:22Financial literacy is about having knowledge and confidence
0:26to make responsible financial decisions.
0:29It also means you know how to work towards your goals.
0:33It is important to be financially literate
0:36so you can contribute to your community and plan for your future.
0:41Throughout the video you will see key terms come up.
0:44These will indicate important words that we use in Canada
0:47and will help develop your financial literacy.
0:51When you have a job and start working,
0:53the money you earn is your income.
0:55The job where the majority of your money
0:58comes from is referred to as your primary source of income.
1:04Now, let’s talk about where you can keep those hard earned dollars.
1:09There are banks and credit unions --
1:11both can safely hold your income.
1:14You may have questions about which place is best for you --
1:19do not be afraid to do your own research or to ask someone for help.
1:23And guess what?
1:24If English or French is not your first language,
1:26most banks have a toll-free phone number
1:28you can call and ask for help in any language.
1:32It is important to put your money in a financial institution so that way,
1:36you can track your spending, pay your bills and create savings.
1:41A basic setup includes two accounts:
1:44A chequing account, which is for your day-to-day money needs.
1:47You can access the money fairly easily
1:50And a savings account ,
1:51which helps you earn extra money on the funds you have in there.
1:54This is called interest.
1:56Usually, people only use the money in this account for personal emergencies
2:01or higher priced items.
2:03Great, so now that your money is being deposited in a safe place,
2:07how are you going to decide what to do with it?
2:10Knowing what to save for and how to spend your earnings
2:14will change depending on who you are and what you need or want.
2:18Needs are things that are necessary in life… like food, clothing or shelter.
2:23Wants are things that are not necessary,
2:26but that would be nice to have.
2:31Maybe your goal is to buy a car or a bigger home.
2:35But what happens when you need or want these things
2:38before you have the exact amount of money needed?
2:41Well, that is where credit plays a role.
2:45Credit gives you access to money before you actually have it,
2:49with your promise of repayment.
2:52Many people in Canada use a credit card to access this borrowed money.
2:58Usually, the amount of credit available to you is decided by two main factors:
3:03One is your credit history.
3:06Credit bureaus keep a record of your credit history
3:09so that future lenders can see if you are a reliable consumer
3:13but know --
3:14international credit does not transfer over once you are in Canada.
3:20It is important to build a good credit history here
3:22because you will be more likely to be approved for loans or mortgages
3:27and at a better interest rate.
3:29Having a bad credit history -
3:31or none at all - is not a good thing
3:34and there is a higher chance you will be denied credit.
3:36The second factor that determines the amount of credit
3:39that is available to you, is your income.
3:43Credit bureaus will know your income since you must report it every year
3:47when you pay your income tax.
3:49All income in Canada is taxed so by reporting your income,
3:53you allow the government to make sure you are paying the right amount.
3:57Sometimes the government may even owe you money.
4:00This is why you must fill out a T4 slip,
4:03which your employer will give you before the end of February each year.
4:06This outlines your total pay and tax deductions from the previous year.
4:12The total amount of pay you receive before deductions is called gross pay.
4:16After tax deductions, it is net pay.
4:19Taxes are used for public services and benefits.
4:22Things like health care, roads and schools.
4:25These are available to all people living in Canada --
4:28just like you --
4:29because of income tax dollars.
4:32We know there is a lot to learn,
4:34but if you ever need help, just ask!
4:36There are settlement agencies that you can access all across the country.
4:41Visit for additional resources
4:45and support services available.
Image of a wallet full of money


You can find a PDF of the guide here:

Financial Literacy Guide

If you are looking for general literacy information, please visit Literacy Nipissing. Literacy Nipissing provides opportunities for adults in the Nipissing District to improve English literacy and numeracy skills.