Lessons from Canada's Approach to Extending Financial Access to Survivors of Modern Slavery

Taking Canada’s financial access for survivors approach to the next level.

A new UNU-CPR insight brief presents Canada’s risk-based, public-private partnership approach to granting survivors of modern slavery access to financial goods, services, education and literacy. The brief examines the pioneering work of Scotiabank and Royal Bank of Canada and the partnerships they have forged with survivor support organizations. 

In examining the successes of these two case studies, the brief asks: What lessons can other countries learn from Canada and how can we increase the sustainability and simplicity of these existing processes to expand the reach of Canada’s approach? Globally, increasing survivors’ financial access can lower their vulnerabilities to (re)victimization and help countries achieve UN Sustainable Development Goal target 8.7 to end modern slavery.

The brief draws on the work of UNU-CPR’s Finance Against Slavery and Trafficking (FAST) initiative and its efforts alongside Canadian banks to strengthen the financial inclusion of survivors, highlighting several key lessons and insights:  

  • It’s important to address risk with evidence-based management.
  • Encouraging senior players in the public and private sectors to confront modern slavery and financial exclusion is critically important.
  • Public-private partnerships are necessary for approaching risk from a diversity of perspectives and supporting and protecting survivors.
  • Consistent time commitments and consistently applying resources can help advocate for and realize mutually beneficial changes for customers, regulators, and supervisors.  
  • The success of Canada’s Survivor Inclusion Initiative (SII) demonstrates its applicability to other vulnerable groups, such as those who have experienced gender-based violence, fled conflict, or are experiencing homelessness.

Read “Canada’s Public-private Partnership Approach to Increasing Financial Access for Survivors of Modern Slavery” here.

Suggested citation: Vaughn Leona . Lessons from Canada's Approach to Extending Financial Access to Survivors of Modern Slavery : UNU-CPR, 2023.

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