The Financial Empowerment and Problem Solving (FEPS) program provides financial education, advocacy and problem-solving services to low-income people. FEPS services are free, confidential, one-on-one, and include information and referrals to income support programs and financial services providers. We provide hands-on help with:
- Completion of income tax returns
- Applying for government benefits
- Solving financial problems and questions related to letters received from CRA
- Changes to child tax benefits
- Accessing bank services
- Managing debt, credits and liens
- Accessing social assistance and other income benefits
- Managing personal resources
- Accessing savings and asset building opportunities
- Protection from financial fraud and abuse
Our FEPS program is comprised of three major project activities:
Year-round income tax filing. During the tax season (March & April), we operate clinics in three locations in Scarborough. In 2015, we prepared taxes for 2,000 clients resulting in more than $6 million in benefits.
One-on-one support regarding financial matters such as:
- Help with resolving Canada Revenue Agency related problems such as, audit letters, review letters, requests for tax documentation, etc.
- Resolution of debt and credit issues.
- Education about the importance of banking services. We encourage clients to open their own bank account to set up direct deposit of their benefit payments to avoid the use of cheque cashing and pay-day loan companies.
- Personal budgeting to enhance knowledge in how to effectively manage the money they have. In a budgeting appointment, we work with the client to list their incomes and expenses, find areas to improve and finally save money to put away for future needs.
- We provide workshops with the goal of increasing participants’ financial knowledge covering the importance of filing taxes, budgeting, banking and credit. In the last two years, we’ve delivered more than 40 financial literacy workshops at several LINC and adult schools in the community.