Hydro Ottawa Ltd. is marking Financial Literacy Month by promoting tools and resources for employees grappling with the rising cost of living, says Donna Burnett Vachon, the company’s director of change and organization development.
“We see [the impact of the rising cost of living] every day from people who have increasing rental costs to even just going to the grocery store or filling up your car. We’re all feeling that and we’re really focusing this year on things like saving, budgeting and teaching our kids about financial literacy as well.”
The company is providing links to financial wellness resources through its intranet, while its various health and well-being providers are hosting several financial literacy webinars throughout the month. In particular, a webinar on the importance of maintaining financial records was particularly well received by workers.
“A number of employees told us [after attending the webinar] they went home and made a plan with their spouse about locating financial documents, getting them all together and determining who needs to be aware of them,” says Burnett Vachon.
Hydro Ottawa is also focusing on retirement planning this month, she adds, noting a significant percentage of its workforce is younger than age 35. To reach younger workers, the company holds financial wellness sessions that allow these employees to speak with representatives of its defined benefit pension plan as well as retired employees.
“We have a lot of folks starting out in their careers right now, which is a bit of a change for us. We’re thinking about workers who need to understand what retirement means [and] what it means to have a pension plan.”
Financial literacy is a key pillar in Hydro Ottawa’s employee well-being strategy as well as its approach to diversity, equity and inclusion, particularly when it comes to different generations of workers and new Canadians, says Lisanne Brousseau, the company’s well-being and diversity specialist.
“We think about the age groups of our employees and [their financial needs] can be very different. We also have people that are new to the Canadian financial system and we need to ensure they have somewhere to go to ask questions.”