New financial literacy program available for people with diverse abilities

Like many students, Jenna Martinuzzi wasn’t taught how to spend wisely or budget her money in school. So, when her mother suggested she take part in a pilot program designed to teach students with various abilities about everything from how interest works to the basics of daily banking opportunities, Martinuzzi jumped at the opportunity.

“It’s budgeting I struggle with,” said Martinuzzi, a public relations and fundraising ambassador who lives in Toronto. “I wanted to learn how to spend wisely, and not overspend on things I don’t need, especially makeup. I wanted this program to teach me when it’s okay to use my debit and credit cards.”

Martinuzzi was one of 12 students taking part in a new pilot of the Money Matters program at Community Living Toronto last year in collaboration with ABC Life Literacy Canada and TD Bank Group. The program focused on helping students with various intellectual, verbal, physical and nonphysical capabilities learn basic banking skills to help them gain financial confidence.

Now, ABC Life Literacy Canada is rolling out the program to organizations across the country.

The program, Money Matters for People with Diverse Abilities, offers three modules, including opening a bank account, ways to pay, and spending plans. Each module is reflective of the learners that it is serving and has been written and designed in clear language. Organizations interested in providing financial literacy programming to their students can run the program for free.

“The goal of this program is to build confidence in money management,” says Mack Rogers, Executive Director of ABC Life Literacy Canada. “This particular community has been underserviced for a long time and we are pleased to be able to provide support with resources to help them continue to succeed.”

Money Matters for People with Diverse Abilities is the newest addition to the Money Matters suite of financial literacy programs, which was first introduced in 2011 for adult literacy learners. The program has since evolved to focus on communities such as newcomers to Canada and Indigenous Peoples, and has reported seeing great success since tailoring the programs to different community groups.

To learn more about Money Matters for People with Diverse Abilities or to sign up to host a workshop, visit