Financial literacy will now be required to graduate in Ontario secondary schools

May 30, 2024 | Headlines, News, Provincial News

Ontario announced it is changing several requirements to graduate with an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD).

This announcement on May 30 represents the first overhaul of the OSSD in 25 years that emphasizes math proficiency among teachers, student career coaching and most notably, improving the financial literacy of secondary students, according to an Ontario press release.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce said in a media conference the overhaul is meant to provide students with the necessary financial skills to enter life after school.

“We’re elevating the importance of financial literacy as an equal prerequisite in order to graduate,” Lecce said. “Yes you must be able to read and write in this province, you also have to have financial literacy and confidence in how to personally budget and live a life in this province.”

He said the financial literacy test will be required for Grade 10 students and will use a similar model to the Ontario Literacy Test. A minimum grade of 70 per cent will be required.

Lecce said the program intends to elevate financial education from “theoretical knowledge to practical knowledge.”

This change comes when rising costs have caused many Canadians financial stress.

According to a 2023 report by Statistics Canada, more than one-third of Canadians “reported that it was difficult for their household to meet its financial needs in the previous 12 months.”

Also, 56 per cent of people aged 25 to 34 said they were concerned about affording a home or rent due to rising housing prices, according to the report. The report also showed Ontarians were the most concerned with housing affordability.

The Green Party of Ontario replied to the announcement in a tweet on X: “Learn to ‘save from home’ in the province where it takes 22 years to save for a downpayment.”

Alongside financial literacy, the Ontario government is funding “up to $14 million in 2024-25 to launch career coaching for Grade 9 and 10 students and to explore new opportunities into STEM and skilled trades,” according to the press release.

The press release said new career coaches will be hired to speak with small groups of students to learn about various career options, including skilled trades and in-demand jobs.

Lecce said the guidance counsellor system has not been updated since 2013, leaving many students at a disadvantage.

“When you look at the feedback we received from exit surveys that were done in Grades 8 and 12, the concern was that there needs to be a greater connection between local job opportunities and young people,” he said.

Lecce said the expectations for guidance counsellors are also being raised and “one of the expectations is that local labour market connection.”

The media release said these requirements come into effect in September 2025.