Introducing your 2014 JrEC Academic Challenge Winner!

Disha Patel is the Jr. Economic Club, 2014 Academic Challenge winner! On November 17th, 2014 she and JrEC sponsors joined us as we opened the TSX. Watch her video submission above and read her insight on the importance of financial literacy and personal money management below.

I was learning about financial literacy in Math during the last 3 weeks of school. That’s when I noticed people were barely listening to the teacher; probably relieved by the fact that we weren’t going to be tested on it. Around the same time, prom craze was in full swing. What really disturbed me was that not a single person I knew, bought a prom dress for less than $200. I was surfing on the web when I came across VISA’s prom spending survey. It was then that I knew I had to enter the Jr. Economic Club Academic Challenge so I could help educate other teens about the importance of spending wisely.

When I first saw the amount of money people were spending on prom I was terrified. Especially the stat from VISA’s Personal Money Skills site that claimed that parents with an income of less than $50,000 will spend more than $804 on prom. To me this is shocking because my parents also fall into the same income level. Even though I live a decent life style, I know my parents wouldn’t be able to afford spending $804 on me- just for prom. Even if I was going to chip in half the cost, I would never be comfortable spending that amount of money on just one night. I can think of many other things I could use my money towards. That’s why I included stats in my Academic Challenge video to show how much money people are spending on just one night.

From personal experience, I know that I can’t go a day without my phone. If I don’t have my phone I feel as if there’s a big part of me missing. Most teens have cell phones and this makes the VISA “Planit’ Prom” app very convenient. I found the app to be extremely neat, because it’s both efficient and accessible. I want more people to learn about this app and use to it to help reduce their prom costs.

Creating this video was very fun and I hope everyone understands the true message that financial literacy is very important for teens!


Disha Patel, 2014 Jr. Economic Club Student of the Year- Age 14


Michelle Michalak, Head of Financial Literacy at Visa Canada with Disha Patel, Academic Challenge Winner


Introducing…Jr. ECTV! Coming to Rogers TV Nov. 13, 2014

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On Thursday, November 13th, 2014 tune into Jr. ECTV on Rogers TV!

Jr. ECTV is a show created by The Jr. Economic Club showcasing the opinions, perspectives & ideas of young Torontonians. Hear their perspectives & ideas on current social, business and economic issues. This show gives Toronto’s younger generation a platform to talk about serious world issues, from a fresh perspective. Our goal is to encourage more youth to engage in meaningful conversations about the world around them and the issues that pertain to their future.

The Jr. Economic Club of Canada, is an organization dedicated to inspiring young Canadians to be financially literate, civically engaged and socially conscious.

For more information visit:

Financial literacy of the next generation: My experience as a Mega Mind!


At the end of August, I had the honour of being a Mega Mind judge in the Jr. Economic Club Bay Street Boot Camp Entrepreneurial Challenge.

The goal of the Jr. Economic Club is to teach Canadian youth about finance basics and personal money management. The five-day Bay Street Boot Camp financial literacy course concluded with the Entrepreneurial Challenge, where 40 Ontario high-school students pitched their business plans to a panel of expert “Mega Minds” who questioned them on their ideas. Other Mega Minds included The Honourable Senator Don Meredith, Minister of State (Finance) Ken Sorenson, newly appointed Financial Literacy Leader Jane Rooney, as well as other industry and government leaders.

I was really impressed with how enthusiastic, creative and bright these young entrepreneurs were. I threw questions their way in an effort to determine how viable their business plans were and they met the challenge head-on. My favourite question was “How will you make money?” The responses were interesting!

During my day as a Mega Mind, I heard a variety of interesting pitch ideas. A few highlights include:

  • a grocery shopping and meal planning smartphone app,
  • an online clothing store for up and coming designers,
  • a portable battery powered by wind and solar energy, ideal for vehicles and camping, and
  • a bracelet for the deaf and hearing impaired that detects warning sounds (i.e. fire alarms) and notifies the user though vibrations and colour changes.

My personal favourite was a product called AirCharge, an innovative smartphone case that converts radio waves to electricity to charge your mobile device on-the-go. This was my #1 choice for a few reasons. If this product was to make it to market, I would buy it myself. It meets a realistic need and is a niche market that has yet to be satisfied. The presentation the two students gave was exceptional. They played to their strengths, with one student giving a dynamic and energetic presentation and his partner fielding all the technical questions. In fact, it reminded me of the presentation dynamics between Apple visionary Steve Jobs and his second in command, Steve Wozniak. Very impressive for those so young!

I was amazed by the ingenuity and confidence these students demonstrated. If all Canadian youth were extended this same opportunity, I believe the state of financial literacy in Canada would be much brighter.

This experience really resonates with my belief in the importance of financial literacy and it aligns with Sun Life Financial’s mission to help Canadians achieve lifetime financial security. It is critical that we provide the next generation with the knowledge and tools to be successful in business and in personal finances, and organizations like the Jr. Economic Club are able to help make this a reality.

-Rick Headrick, President, Sun Life Global Investments.

Introducing the 2014 BSBC Winners Thomas Stephen & Ahmed Saeed!


This week was one of the most intense yet best experiences of my life so far. When the week started I had no idea what to expect. On the first day we chose our partners and were tasked with coming up with a business idea and then pitch that idea to the VIP dragons.

Throughout the week we learned about financial markets, meditational tactics for the office space, prepping for a job interview, dressing for success and most importantly, how to create a top-notch business plan. My partner and I work day in and day out to create a top-notch business. Winning the first prize was one of the best moments of my life so far, I got to meet some of the most well know CEO’s in the country and actually got a few of their business cards to stay in touch with them!!

The Junior Economic Club of Canada and its sponsors IFIC, FundataSun Life Financial, VISA, Porter, CPA and Scotiabank, provided me with an opportunity to express my interests as well as they connected me with people that have the same interests as my own. The people who run this organization are some of the humblest, kindest most generous people anyone will meet in their entire lives, I am truly grateful for that. From commuting on the GO train into Union Station to meeting the CEO’s of some of the most well know companies in Canada. It was a once – in – a – lifetime experience!!

Yours Truly,

Thomas Stephen with support of co-winner Ahmed Saeed.


A word from the 2013 BSBC winners!

SUNLIFE2013As two first nation women, we were invited to attend the Junior Economic Club of Canada’s Bay Street Boot Camp. Unaware of what the week was going to entitle, we travelled from Rama First Nation to the big city of Toronto. The early mornings, business attire and morning Starbucks trips made us feel as if we were in the real world. It was once in a lifetime opportunity.

The entire week was preparation for our final pitch day. Our pitch idea was to create a generator that converted water pressure into electricity that could potentially be used for small electronics. The night before the pitch day, our hotel room was scattered with paper scraps, glue sticks and markers. Come pitch day, the pressure was on. We could feel the tension in every room.

The Junior Economic Club BSBC is an experience that will benefit you for the rest of your life. The friends we have made, the skills we have gained, and the networks we have built with the help of all Jr ECC members will carry on with us in our future endeavors. We hope that this year’s BSBC campers have taken every opportunity to grow through BSBC, whether it was stepping out of your comfort zone, finding a new value, or developing a skill. They say “the world is your oyster” and that couldn’t be more true. Good luck to all delegates, continue to make the most of the opportunities that come your way!

Kirstin Shilling and Teresa Harrigan, BSBC Co-Winners 2013


Sweatpants, Health & Wealth!


This week has been unforgettable. Thursday we were asked to dress down and wear sweatpants so we could relax and collect ourselves. So far we’ve met some amazing, inspirational CEO’s, leaders and entrepreneurs. On Thursday, we kicked things off with Rhiannon Traill, who told us a bit about how the Economic Club of Canada was started and how she got to where she is today.

Next we moved onto the importance of Financial Wealth and Health. In my opinion the best part of the day was getting to play Sun Life Financials game “Your Money, Your Wellness.” In playing this game we realized how big of a role health plays is in regards to wealth. If you fall ill because you aren’t healthy, then you can’t go to work and earn money!

I would like to thank Sun Life Financial for the great Colombia sweaters that some of us received for winning the challenge! The day continued on the topic of how health is connected to future wealth. Rene Lecker discussed the impact of bullying on a person’s health and gave us a deeper understanding of how bullying effects you both emotionally and physically. We shared our own experiences on being bullied during this exercise. It was great how comfortable we were with sharing and it really goes to show how we have became a tight knit group within just one week.

The next activity was lead by Stefani Lecker, who us through a session about “mindful meditation” and letting negativity go to feel positive and confident. She taught us some techniques on how to clear our minds so we could concentrate more on the tasks ahead.

Yoga was next on the agenda and was presented by Andrew Moniz owner of Bikram Yoga. We learned some great moves leave us feeling refreshed and energized. Yoga was a lot of fun and interactive as was our workshop presented by Marcia Cunningham and John Gregory. They taught us the art of speaking to an audience and during a one-on-one conversation. This will be beneficial for the pitches we will be giving to the Mega-Minds on Friday. All in all there was a lot to learn on Thursday and I think we all enjoyed unwinding a little before our big presentations.

-Michelle Ragany, BSBC Student 2014


He shoots, he scores- Visa #Financial Soccer

photo (3)We’re taking it back to the FIFA World Cup with Visa Financial Soccer!!! This amazingly fun, interactive game, which not only informs students on financial literacy but is also connected to the world’s most famous sport – soccer. Honestly, as team captains, it was a pretty hostile environment in the room! LOL! Put together finance and soccer, and you pretty much have a civilized riot… if that made any sense! Today, students got the exhilarating experience of the world cup whilst learning and teaching one another.

We, Talal (Team Canada) and Vishal (Team Germany) led the two teams of students as they went head to head for world cup supremacy! It was an exciting match as Germany started by winning the toss but soon Canada took control of the game. To make things more heated, regulation time was not enough for this match. The “soccer” aspect of things really made the game a lot more fun! Team Canada was just about to score and then it became halftime… We actually thought Team Canada was going crazy LOL!

Visa Financial Soccer really tested our personal money management skills-it had been a while since we played the game at “Day on Bay.” It was hard because the only way we could go down the field to try and score was if we answered the question correctly. The questions were about saving, spending, budgeting and credit… I guess we should learn about those things before going to UWO eh Vishal?

In the end Canada came down from a 2-0-penalty shootout deficit to win the game. The match was extremely heated and ended in a 4-3 win for Canada. #OhCanada.

The winners got awesome iPhone cases as well as comic books as prizes! LET’S GO CANADA!! Many students gained so much more awareness about Visa’s #PracticalMoneySkills activities and apps such as the Plan’ It Prom app! I’m sure many of these seniors will be using the app as they budget for their prom next summer! #FinLit


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Suits, pencil skirts, beautiful young individuals, and Starbucks… all seen on Bay street (Whoops, I meant BAE Street) but lets be real here, there’s also those old dudes always carrying these really heavy looking briefcases around… yep, they are probably investment bankers and making some serious money!

Day three kicked off with a wonderful LADY, who was a TRADER on Bay Street. Let me just repeat that… a LADY being a TRADER…Wow, pretty cool and impressive. But seriously, Meaghan Daly was amazing. Her presentation on the Toronto Stock Exchange and Financial markets in general was so informative.  Who knew there were over a billion shares of Scotiabank outstanding?! The delegates learned all about stocks and bonds and other financial products. We were surprised with all the prior knowledge that the students had. So many great questions were being asked… and the students got really into this workshop! Definitely one of the most popular ones thus far! #FinLit #MoneyMoneyMoney

It was also so cool to meet Warren, the first ever Jr. EC ambassador! Filling his shoes and doing what he used to do for more than four years has really been an amazing experience thus far… the guy is 25 and is making some serious $$$. That is the motive boys… that is the motive. But honestly, the students could really relate to Warren because he was the ideal story of a man working really hard in order to pursue his goal and dreams! Not sure what I think about the 132-hour weeks though… :/ #InvestmentBanking

All this “big boy” talk made a pretty smooth transition into Rhiannon’s Q&A talk with the former CEO of CMA Accountants… Merv Hillier! One thing that really caught our attention was when Merv said, “Being the CEO is where the puck stops. When the company is doing well, the board takes all the credit. When things are downhill, the first finger gets pointed at the CEO”. Just goes to show how unexpected the business world can really be.

Honestly though, the big message out of this one was #Ethics. I know it’s a pretty random hash tag, but after this session, Merv gave the students so many reasons why it’s so important to act ethically everywhere you go… unless you get a turkey sent to your door for Christmas by a client 😉 LOL! A lot of delegates found it impressive how Rhiannon looked up to Merv as a mentor, kind of like how we look up to our own dads! #PayingItForward

We were told to dress down tomorrow to get ready for the health and wellness day, can’t wait!

You’re Hired! The power of sticktoitiveness!


When you wake up before 7 a.m. on a Tuesday morning during summer vacation, you begin to re-think your life and why you’re awake so early. But when you’re dressed in a suit and rubbing shoulders with Bay Street VIPs you start feeling better about yourself. Yesterday was the 2nd day of Bay Street Boot Camp, here in downtown Toronto presented by the Junior Economic Club of Canada (JrEC) and Porter Airlines provided us with a special challenge.

The challenge consisted of creating your own profile and applying for a common job between 40 other participants. Each group of five was instructed to pick the best amongst themselves and then their representative would go head-to-head against others in a challenge to land the job as a marketing analyst for Porter Airlines. I was proud to be chosen by my peers to represent our group but as my turn approached I began to feel extremely nervous, to the point where I wanted to give up the opportunity. But that’s when I realized that I was meant to feel these feelings. If I wasn’t nervous and if I felt over confident then I wasn’t believing in the scenario. I felt as if the nervousness helped me perform better.

With sweaty palms I approached the desk and began my mock interview in front of everyone. As I began talking and gaining my confidence I felt more at ease with every other question. After finishing, I personally felt that I did alright and felt bad for letting my team down. I didn’t perform with as much confidence and panache as I did within my group of five. Little did I know, that I actually had done pretty well. At least well enough to win the mystery grand prize.

I expected a $20 gift card but I was ecstatic to find out that my prize was two round-trip tickets to anywhere Porter Airlines flies. I want to thank our Bay Street Boot Camp mentors for not only accepting us but for giving us life tips that will credit to our future success. I want to thank Porter Airlines for their amazing gift and contribution to the Junior Economic Club of Canada. Lastly, I would like to thank my group for not only nominating me but giving me support when I felt like backing down. This was truly an amazing experience that I’ll never forget.


Raun Damani


STARTED AS STUDENTS, NOW WE HERE: Ambassadors Ting from Time G



For the last week of August students take part in a fun-filled business camp hosted by Jr. EC. Some of you might be thinking… “Uh, why would I ‘waste’ a week learning when I can just play Xbox and watch movies all day”, but after you see what it’s like to potentially win $10k in scholarship money, you should be drooling all over your keyboard. Last year we both took part in this camp’s inaugural year and absolutely loved it. LOVED IT. It opened up countless opportunities and rewarding moments so it goes without saying why we would want to come back and help others as they get involved this week! YOU NEED TO EXPERIENCE IT TO BELIEVE HOW GREAT THIS CAMP REALLY IS! As ambassadors, we’re just #PayingitForward.

Taking place in the Telus Tower at CPA Ontario’s York St Facility in “The 6” (previously referred to as the 416… Coined by the very eloquent and lyrical genius, Drake) students experience what it’s like working in Canada’s main financial district known as Bae Street… We mean BAY STREET!

The first session started with the awesome Jennifer Diebolt from CPA Ontario who gave insight into the world of Accountancy in Canada. You would love to get to know her – she goes from high school to high school guiding students on the path of becoming a #CPA. She is very entertaining with all of her hysterical jokes and bubbly personality. She definitely breaks the stereotype of people thinking that accountants sit in an office all day dreading their lives…Totally not the case.

After, students learned how to interact with one another in the business world by understanding and analyzing the different personality profiles colour wheel – blue, green, red; which colour are you? Blue’s focus on personal relationships; red’s are direct and assertive; green’s are neutral and use technical references when implementing business ideas. Talal personally takes pride in being a blue. In fact, Drake is also a blue, in other words, Talal thinks he’s a multi-million dollar recording hip-hop artist. #TalalIsTheBaeOnBay #SaugaCityComeUp

Students ended the day by working on their business plans for their upcoming big pitch where they showcase their ideas to the top CEOs/political personalities in Canada. Reflecting back to a year ago, it was hard sticking to one idea when we had so many popping up in our heads every other minute. Luckily these students don’t need to worry at all – they’re brilliant! We’re here to guide and mentor them, but we just seem extra because they don’t need any of our help. One of our good friends, Bilal Mufti, is also here to help out this week as well. The dude lives in Kingston and still made it out here for the second straight year. Just goes to show you the kind of quality people you meet at this camp. #OutHere

Who provides students in our age group with these opportunities? Jr. EC– GET INVOLVED! #FinLit

Introducing…Your Jr. EC Ambassadors Talal & Vishal!


The Jr. EC ambassadors are here to say

We’ll be blogging from Boot Camp every day.


Born and raised, in Mississauga, Ontario,

We’re here to break down the scenario


After coming down to the heart of Bay,

Last year’s Boot Camp was not a field day.


We learnt what it meant to save and invest,

And how debt can gain lots of interest.


After Boot Camp, the ambassadors we became,

Day on Bay is where we gained our fame.


It was Money, Money, Money we presented,

The Jr. EC we proudly represented.


From Gordon Graydon to UWO,

Studying business it’s to the top we go.


In the CPA building, Boot Camp’s home base,

on Monday personality profiles will take place.


Tuesday with Porter we’ll get the position,

With social media, interview skills and lots of ambition.


Scotiabank on Wednesday is where we’ll see,

how important banking and investing can be.


We’ll lead Financial Football, a goal you’ll score,

Personal Money Management with VISA, we’ll explore.


The link between health and wealth is not a cliché,

Sun Life’s “Your Money, Your Wellness” we’ll play on Thursday.


On Friday with IFIC and FunData we’ll invest,

Time into our business plans, to win the contest.


Pitching the “Mega Minds” is the main event,

Our entrepreneurial ideas we will present.


So here you have it, just a little sneak peak,

into the Jr. EC’s BSBC week.