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How Prosper Canada helps Canadians living in poverty overcome financial barriers.

Across the country, people are struggling with difficult financial realities.  In a 2022 poll, 31% of Canadians reported that they didn’t make enough money each month to cover their bills and debt payments and 35% reported that it had been difficult for their households to meet their financial needs in the previous 12 months.

Financial challenges like these are what drove us at Coast Capital to define and develop our social purpose of building better futures together to unlock financial opportunities for people and businesses in Canada.

We became a social purpose business because we believe it is the business model the world needs to tackle the complex, systemic issues we face today but also because driving impact has always been a priority at Coast Capital and this allows us to take that commitment even further than ever before.

Through our social purpose we are partnering with organizations within our local communities who are working to build and champion more equitable and inclusive employment, who are supporting people and businesses in Canada with more equitable access to education and training, and those who are delivering financial tools, education and support for all.

One of these partners is Prosper Canada, an incredible national charity that is working to support people living in poverty through a variety of programs and services with a focus on addressing systemic barriers. We sat down with Marlene Chiarotto, VP, Impact and Operations at Prosper Canada to hear more about their commitment to building better financial futures for Canadians.


Marlene, thank you for taking the time to chat with us.  Can you share a little bit about Prosper Canada and the work that you do?

 Founded in 1986, Prosper Canada is a national charity dedicated to expanding economic opportunity for Canadians living in poverty through program and policy innovation.

As Canada’s leader of financial empowerment interventions, we work with governments, businesses, and community groups to develop and promote financial policies, programs and resources that transform lives and foster the prosperity of all Canadians.

Our aim is to ensure that through the work with cross-sectoral partners, all financially vulnerable Canadians, and those that may find themselves in financially difficult circumstances, have access to a suite of financial empowerment services that are affordable, accessible, high-quality, coordinated, and appropriate  in order to build their financial wellbeing.


What challenges or barriers do you see in your work that are preventing Canadians from thriving?

A large proportion of Canadians living on low and moderate income find themselves struggling financially due to rising and unmanageable debt. Having depleted their savings, they are being forced to borrow to make ends meet.   Although in some cases employment is returning to pre-pandemic levels, low-wage employment is still well behind. This growing inequality causes low-wage workers to disproportionately bear the financial burdens.

As well, many low-income households are reporting increased financial stress that impacts their mental and physical health and work performance. Currently, there are few sources of free, quality financial help available to these households beyond non-profit credit counselling agencies that offer debt counselling. For the lucky few, some people are able to access Prosper Canada’s network of community financial empowerment partners, but this is a mere drop in the bucket of necessary supports.


How is the partnership with Coast Capital driving impact for people in Canada?

Since 2015, Prosper Canada has been working with 14 leading non-profit Financial Empowerment Champion (FEC) organizations across the country to help Canadians living on low and moderate incomes to access urgently needed income and put in place budgets, savings and debt management plans, and longer-term action plans to rebuild their financial health.

We are now working together with Coast Capital to expand this network to more Financial Empowerment leaders and enhance our support for this Community of Practice, ensuring that these financial empowerment organizations continue to have a dedicated space to share best practices, learn from each other, discuss issues they are seeing on the ground, and broadly support each other to improve and expand community financial help services to more struggling households.

Building the financial security and resilience of vulnerable people in Canada through innovative and collaborative community efforts is no small feat and if not for organizations like Coast Capital we would not be able to make a marked difference in the lives of Canadians.


How can people engage in and support the work of Prosper Canada?

Prosper Canada’s work would not be possible without the support and collaboration of businesses like Coast Capital, governments, non-profit organizations, and individuals across Canada that share our desire to expand economic opportunity for Canadians living on low and moderate incomes.

For those interested in supporting us or simply learning more about the work we do, you can easily reach out to us at There you will find resources, donation opportunities and contact information for those wishing to consider contributions of time and expertise to help foster the prosperity of all Canadians.


To learn more about the incredible work Prosper Canada is doing in communities across the country, visit their website.  Also, be sure to visit our Social Purpose page to learn more about how Coast Capital building better futures for our members, employees, and communities.

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