About the Financial Inclusion Project

The Inclusive Design Research Centre (IDRC) at OCAD University is working on a project that aims to make financial systems more inclusive to people with disabilities (PWD) and Deaf people in Canada.

What do we mean when we say “financial systems”?

Financial systems include any systems related to money and finances.

They include institutions like:

  • Banks and credit unions
  • Insurance companies
  • Canada Revenue Agency

Financial systems affect your everyday interactions with money, like:

  • Making payments and transferring money
  • Managing your finances and planning for the future
  • Managing your credit score
  • Getting a loan or paying off debt
  • Dealing with a tax audit
  • Trying to qualify for an assistance program
  • Proving you are who you say you are when you make a transaction

What do we mean when we say “disability”?

A disability is not a medical issue or an impairment to be fixed. A disability comes up when the way something works creates a barrier for someone because of their physical, mental health, developmental, or sensory traits. These barriers prevent a person’s full and equal participation in society.

Project goal

  • Understand the barriers for people with disabilities and Deaf people in interacting with financial systems
  • Understand the risks for people with disabilities and Deaf people in financial systems, and the ways they may be vulnerable to fraud and financial abuse
  • Learn about things that have been done in the past that make the financial systems more inclusive
  • Explore promising ways to make up-and-coming financial systems more inclusive
  • Share any knowledge we gain with the broader disability and Deaf communities, through both online and in-person networks.


At the end of October 2024, this project expects to: Publish a report about financial inclusion in Canada and its barriers, vulnerabilities, and approaches for people with disabilities and Deaf people. Outline a plan for sustaining ongoing community engagement, advocacy, and education on issues related to financial inclusion.


The mission of this project is to:

  • Help the disability and Deaf communities take action to remove barriers and advocate for more inclusive financial systems
  • Guide policy makers, governments, and large organizations in making more inclusive financial systems and removing current barriers
  • Guide security and privacy organizations to tackle fraud, scams, and abuse faced by the disability and Deaf community

Research ethics clearance

If you have any questions about the research activities or require further information, please contact Jutta Treviranus or Jonathan Hung at jhung@ocadu.ca. This activity has been reviewed and received ethics clearance through the Research Ethics Board at OCAD University under REB File Number #102453. If you have any comments or concerns, please email the Research Ethics Office through Bryan Weissenboeck at bweissenboeck@ocadu.ca

Project Partners

  • Alliance for Equity of Blind Canadians
  • ARCH Disability Law Centre
  • L’arche Canada
  • Bank of Canada
  • Black Deaf Canada
  • Canadian Council of the Blind
  • Carleton Accessibility Institute
  • Council of Canadians with Disabilities
  • Disability without Poverty
  • Independent Living Canada
  • IRIS Institute
  • March of Dimes Canada
  • Neil Squire Society
  • Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network
  • Toronto Metropolitan University


Funded by Employment and Social Development Canada/ Government of Canada.

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