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2021 ABLE fall virtual series

Recover and Rebuild: Helping Canadians build financial security during the pandemic and beyond

The following, presentations, and videos were shared at the 2021 ABLE virtual fall series held on November 10, 18, and 23, 2021.

The 2021 ABLE virtual series was hosted online in response the COVID-19 pandemic. The spring and fall virtual series provided sessions featuring Canadian and international, financial empowerment leaders and experts who covered a range of financial empowerment topics under the theme – Recover and rebuild: Helping Canadians build financial security during the pandemic and beyond.


  • November 10, 2021 12:00 – 3:00 PM

Opening and Welcome Helen Bobiwash, FCPA, FCMA, CAFM

Tackling pandemic hardship: The financial impact of COVID-19 on low-income households

Households with low incomes may be bearing the economic brunt of the pandemic but they are not taking it lying down. Hear the latest research on how the pandemic has financially impacted Canadians with low incomes and what these households are doing to retain their financial stability in the face of unprecedented challenges. Hear how financial challenges have affected individuals, and practitioners supporting them, and how they have fought to overcome them.

Speakers: Adam Fair, Vice President, Strategy and Impact, Prosper Canada; Eloise Duncan, Founder and CEO, Seymour Consulting; Jodi Dueck-Read, Assistant Professor of Conflict Resolution Studies and Director of Practicum at Menno Simons College of Canadian Mennonite University

Moderator: Ruth Crammond, Vice President, Community Investment & Development

View session recording 

Download summary and detailed reports: The financial resilience and financial well-being of Canadians with low incomes: insights and analysis to support the financial empowerment sector

Download slide deck: The differential impact of the pandemic on low income families


Booth Chats: Big ideas for a more equitable recovery

Innovation starts here! Explore an exciting showcase of new research, program, policy, and product ideas aimed at ensuring an equitable and inclusive economic recovery that promotes financial health for all Canadians. Explore booth chat videos and resources that interest you.

Jeri Bittorf, Resolve Financial and Credit Counselling Services
Credit Counselling Coordinator

Video pitch, download the slide deck

Sarah Ramsey, City of Edmonton
Community Development Social Worker

Video pitch

Varinder Gill, Seneca College
Professor & Co-ordinator

Video pitch, download slide deck

Ana Fremont, Prosper Canada
Manager, Program Delivery and Integration

Video pitch, download slide deck

Galen MacLusky, Prosper Canada
Manager, Program Delivery and Integration

Video pitch, download slide deck


  • November 18, 2021 12:00 – 3:00 PM

Measuring the divide: Has COVID-19 widened economic disparities for Canada’s BIPOC communities

Addressing disparities starts with a hard look at who is affected and how. The pandemic has generated a rich array of new survey data to help us answer these questions. Join leading researchers to learn about the disparities in financial health experienced by BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of colour) communities in Canada and how they have been affected by the pandemic.

Speakers: Andrew Heisz – Director, Centre for Income and Socioeconomic Well-being Statistics, Statistics Canada; Dr. Kwame McKenzie – CEO of Wellesley Institute 

Moderator: amanuel melles – Executive Director of the Network for the Advancement of Black Communities

View session recording

Download slide deck: Income Support During COVID-19and ongoing challenges

Download slide deck: Re-thinking income adequacy in the COVID-19 recovery


Financial wellness and healing: Can building financial wellness help Indigenous communities? 

Indigenous Peoples in Canada still bear the wounds of colonization and its lingering legacies that continue to negatively impact their communities. The current pandemic has further exacerbated the economic disparities Indigenous people experience. Can initiatives to build financial wellness play a healing role and help to close these gaps? If so, what do we need to be doing to realize this potential? Join us to hear perspectives from Indigenous leaders and community members on how, together, we can promote healing in this challenging moment.

Speakers: Simon Brascoupé MA CAPA; Helen Bobiwash, FCPA, FCMA, CAFM; Sharon Slippery – Administrator, AFOA Canada Indigenous Financial Programs

Moderator: Misko Kijig McGregor – Manager, Indigenous Financial Literacy, Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada

View session recording

Download slide deck: Indigenous Financial Literacy: Behaviour Insights from an Indigenous Perspective

Download slide deck: Financial wellness and Indigenous Healing


When money meets race: Addressing systemic racism through financial empowerment 

Canada has a problem with racism but how does that show up with respect to financial inclusion, opportunities, and health for Black Canadians and other Canadians of colour? What specific economic barriers do communities of colour face? And what will it take to ensure that financial empowerment efforts are effectively contributing to addressing systemic racism in our communities? Join respected leaders from impacted communities who will share their insights on what needs to change and the role that financial empowerment practitioners can play.

Speakers: Shereen Denetto – Executive Director, Immigration and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba; Louise Simbandumwe – Co-Director, SEED Winnipeg Inc. 

View session recording

Download slide deck: When Money Meets Race: Addressing Systematic Racism Through Financial Empowerment


  • November 23, 2021 12:00 – 3:00 PM

Tous ensemble maintenant : Rétablissement de la santé financière de la population canadienne : l’affaire de tous les secteurs/ All together now: How all sectors have a role to play in rebuilding Canadians’ financial health

[Français] Les reprises économiques inclusives ne se produisent pas d’elles-mêmes. Nous ne pouvons pas non plus inverser les tendances financières inquiétantes à long terme (endettement croissant des ménages et diminution de l’épargne) sans une action concertée. Chaque secteur a un rôle à jouer et nous devons travailler ensemble si nous voulons réussir à rendre notre écosystème financier plus accessible, inclusif et efficace pour renforcer la résilience et la santé financière des Canadiens. Joignez-vous à nous pour en savoir plus sur la nouvelle Stratégie nationale pour la littéracie financière et le nouveau Cadre de protection des consommateurs de produits et services financiers, ainsi que sur la façon dont les gouvernements, les institutions financières et les organismes communautaires peuvent tous travailler ensemble de façon plus efficace en vue d’accroître la résilience financière de tous.

[English] Inclusive economic recoveries don’t happen by themselves, nor can we reverse disturbing long-term financial trends (mounting household debt and dwindling savings) without concerted action. Every sector has a role to play and we need to work together if we are to succeed in making our financial ecosystem more accessible, inclusive, and effective at building Canadians’ financial resilience and health. Join us to learn more about Canada’s new National Financial Literacy Strategy and Financial Consumer Protection Framework, and how governments, financial institutions, and community organizations can all work more effectively together to build financial resilience for all.

Speakers: Judith Robertson – Commissioner, Financial Consumer Agency of Canada; Aaron Boles – Vice-President, Communications , Canadian Bankers Association; Liz Mulholland, CEO, Prosper Canada

Moderator: Camille Beaudoin – Director, Financial Education at AMF Quebec and Vice Chair, IOSCO ‘s Committee on Retail Investors 

View session recording


When opportunity knocks: Poverty, disability, and Canada’s proposed new disability benefit

Poverty and disability have remained tightly entwined in the lives of millions of Canadians despite longstanding efforts by disability and poverty advocates to untie this knot. The federal promise of a new national disability benefit is generating real hope, that we can provide all people with disabilities with an adequate basic income. Join us to learn more about the intersectionality of poverty and disability, how advocates saw and seized a policy opportunity, and their vision for this exciting new proposed benefit.

Speakers: Michelle Hewitt – Co-chair, Disability Without Poverty; Rabia Khedr – National Director, Disability Without Poverty; Guillaume Parent – Disability Without Poverty

Moderator: Elodie Young, Director Impact and Innovation, Prosper Canada

Session recording unavailable

Download slide deck: When Opportunity Knocks: Disability without Poverty


The good, the bad and the innovation: The pandemic redesign of tax filing and benefit assistance

There’s no good time to start a pandemic, but mid-tax season proved to be the worst possible time for roughly 750,000 vulnerable Canadians who rely on community tax clinics to tax file and access critically needed income benefits. What followed was extraordinary cross-sector collaboration to redesign tax-filing and benefits assistance for low-income Canadians. But more work is needed to connect Canadians to their benefits. Learn more about barriers to tax filing and accessing benefits in a pandemic, how government, business, and community responded, and how further innovations can enable us to serve more Canadians and to serve them better.

Speakers: Heather Daniels – Director General, Benefit Programs Directorate (BPD), Canada Revenue Agency; Marlene Chiarotto – Director, Program Delivery and Integration, Prosper Canada; François Boileau – Taxpayers’ Ombudsperson

View the session recording

View CRA Q&A document


Closing remarks from Adam Fair, Vice President, Strategy and Impact, Prosper Canada; Helen Bobiwash, FCPA, FCMA, CAFM

View Recording

The 2021 ABLE virtual series is hosted by Prosper Canada on behalf of the ABLE Steering Committee


Please direct inquiries to Elodie Young at [email protected]