Best free course for managing debt in Canada

The Credit Counselling Society’s The Truth About Credit

Learning about debt is something to be proud of, as you are taking the first step toward managing what you owe. Knowing how to tackle debt can help reduce your indebtedness and give you the room and freedom to start saving, too. The Credit Counselling Society is a non-profit debt-counselling organization that helps Canadians create debt management plans, and it offers five free online courses. (Compared to the above courses, this one is short. The Truth About Credit can be done in an hour or less. And The Credit Counselling Society offers other courses of a similar length.) While you won’t get a certificate of completion like with the McGill course we mentioned, you can repeat these courses and access them anytime, regardless of the device you’re using. You just need to bookmark the link. For this list, we focused on The Truth About Credit course, where you can learn about how credit works in Canada, as well as credit scores, credit ratings, credit reports and how to access your own credit report for free. There’s some myth busting, too. 

Register for the The Truth About Credit course for free any time.

Best free personal finance course for young Canadians

Desjardins Personal Finance: I’m in Charge

We know, we know. You see a financial institution name before a course and you’re thinking it’s going to be all about its products. But that’s not the case with this course. Desjardins says it accredits 350 instructors to teach the lessons and “offer objective and neutral workshops,” which is why I’m in Charge made our list. The course, geared towards 16- to 25-year-olds, is taught through 114 different educator partners in English and French, including the YWCA Toronto and Option Travail in Quebec City among others. The course is broken down into four topics: 

  1. Personal finance essentials
  2. Everyday life and money
  3. Education and employment
  4. Financial services

Each chapter is two hours long, and they can be taken in the order that suits you. (If you want to  get on top of grocery shopping costs, module two may be the best place to start.) There are 17 lessons in total with one bonus chapter on digital security. 

This course is great for those in Ontario and Quebec who want to learn on their own or even as a group (the site encourages groups or classes to take the course). You don’t need to be a Desjardins client to sign up. 

Register for the Personal Finance: I’m in Charge course for free any time.

Methodology: Best free finance and investing courses in Canada

MoneySense’s editorial team of trained and experienced journalists assessed other aspects of the courses, including pace, comprehension, real-life application and more. Then we looked at free personal finance courses available to Canadians. First and foremost, we looked at their cost and accessibility. To be considered, the course had to be free and available to all Canadians. The purchase of additional course materials had to be at the discretion of the student. We also looked at the quality of educators, including their reputation and expertise in the topic(s) covered, and more. Lessons and course material had to be useful and relevant to Canadians. There are many courses that talk generally about finance and investing, but the information had to work under a Canadian lens to make our list.

Watch: Where to find an investment course

Frequently asked questions about personal finance and investing courses

My bank offers free seminars on investing—is it worth the time?

Banks and other financial institutions are savvy to the benefit of having educated clients and customers. So, many do their best to create workshops that help you make better investing decisions. However, know that they may only discuss or focus on the products and services they provide. Know that you have more options.

An influencer I follow has a course, but it’s not free—should I take it?

Some influencers—or finfluencers as financial influencers are often called—use courses, seminars, e-books and more as a way to earn income, in addition to advertising partnerships and speaking engagements. However, not all influencer content is created equal—as you might already know from your social media feeds. Before submitting your credit card, confirm a few things first.

Lisa Hannam

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