Education and cooperation

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Committed to our stakeholders

Education and cooperation

Desjardins has always prioritized education and cooperation, which we believe to be major drivers of sustainable prosperity for both individuals and communities. We also believe that responsible financial management is a key to greater financial independence for individuals and to successful business ownership for entrepreneurs.

With the Co-opme education and cooperation program, Desjardins has stepped up its financial education efforts. The program also comprises various initiatives related to general, civic, democratic and cooperative education.

The Co-opme program, which was launched 2 years ago, has provided a framework for many initiatives aimed at our members, clients and the general public, while focusing more on the importance we place on cooperation and education. In 2012, nearly $18 million was invested to support or improve program-related initiatives.

Key areas of the Co-opme program Amount invested in 2012 (in millions of dollars)
Fondation Desjardins and personal commitment 1.9
Education and people development 7.4
Responsible financial products and services 2.4
Promotion, recognition and contribution 5.5

A must in financial education

Given the current economic climate and the wide range of increasingly complex financial products and services on the market, education and cooperation are now, more than ever, a vital part of our relationships with our members and clients.

The Co-opme program helps improve the quality of the client experience we provide for our various clienteles:

  • Nearly 500 businesswomen and women entrepreneurs came away from the Women on the Move Forum with strategic information to help them develop their businesses.
  • Our Student Advisory Centre specialists provide young people aged 18–30 with advice on managing their savings and government guaranteed student loans. The centre manages over 257,000 student loans and provides advice to some 200,000 young people every year.
  • In 2012, as many as 145,000 people used the budget management tool every month, and some 211,700 online users visited the Co-opme online education and cooperation zone for tips on managing their personal finances.

These initiatives are raising awareness among a large number of people about the importance of education and the contribution of cooperation and the cooperative system to society.

Learn more about Co-opme.

Desjardins Group's direct involvement in the International Summit of Cooperatives and in promoting the International Year of Cooperatives clearly demonstrates its desire to publicize and recognize the crucial contribution of the cooperative model to sustainable prosperity.

Fondation Desjardins

Fondation Desjardins is a non-profit organization that:

  • enables young people and the new generation to pursue their studies and achieve their dreams and ambitions
  • recognizes the contribution of thousands of community volunteers
  • fulfills Desjardins Group's philanthropic commitments nationwide

Emphasizing and promoting personal commitment

In 2012, the Foundation stepped up its support for personal commitment by creating the Fondation Desjardins Prizes – Volunteer Involvement. These awards include:

  • tribute certificates awarded to officers, members and employees who stand out for their volunteer work
  • cash amounts awarded to recognized non-profit organizations that recipients are involved in

In 2012, the Foundation granted over $956,000 in the form of scholarships, bursaries and awards, including:

  • 364 scholarships for young people in every field of study and at every educational level
  • 75 Fondation Desjardins Prizes - Volunteer Involvement for individuals and organizations that are active in their communities

Campagne d'entraide Desjardins

Active and retired Desjardins employees came together once again to show their solidarity and generosity through their very active participation in the first-ever Campagne d'entraide Desjardins in 2012. Thanks to their efforts, over $1.9 million was raised for United Way and Fondation Desjardins.

Learn more about Fondation Desjardins.

Online tools

The Personal Finance Index

The Desjardins Personal Finance Index is an exhaustive and original yardstick that covers knowledge and behaviour. It allows users to:

  • assess their aptitudes for responsibly managing their personal finances
  • self-evaluate themselves
  • see how they stack up against the rest of the population

My Budget, the AccèsD budget management tool

My Budget is a free, simple and secure tool that helps members manage their personal finances in 3 steps. Memberes can:

  • get a picture of their income and expenses
  • ensure better control of expenses
  • create savings goals for future projects
Financial education for young people

School caisse program

Since 1907, the school caisse program has been pursuing its mission to teach children about saving to help them understand the basics of financial independence.

Using information kits that also include educational activities, the program seeks to:

  • help young people become independent, responsible and competent
  • spark their interest in cooperative values
  • foster their awareness about the importance of sound financial management

In 2012, a total of $342,660 in youth dividends was paid to school caisse members (children ages 5 to 12 in Quebec and 5 to 14 in Ontario).

Efforts have also been made to improve the operating procedures used for savings deposits.

Lastly, we presented the Desjardins NaturLogic contest to primary schools in Quebec and Ontario under the theme "A million ways to reuse and recycle!"

Learn more about the Desjardins NaturLogic contest.

Student caisse program

Desjardins Group is also present in high schools through the student caisse, which is a mini Desjardins caisse managed and operated exclusively by student volunteers, under the authority and supervision of a local Desjardins caisse. In 2012, 44 schools had a student caisse.

Student caisse services are designed for students and student associations. First and foremost, they serve an educational purpose, by introducing students to how a financial cooperative works and preparing them to become active and responsible consumers.

2012 highlights:

  • Nearly 90 people, including teachers, caisse representatives and 25 young people ages 12 to 17, attended the student caisse convention in November. The convention provided an opportunity for attendees to reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of the current student caisse program and identify possible solutions to help the program improve and develop.
  • Work began to update the documentation on creating and maintaining student caisses.

Desjardins increased the number of youth representatives in high schools, making it possible to carry out more educational activities for 9,530 students at 146 institutions in 2012.

Fondation Paul Gérin-Lajoie

Desjardins has been a partner of Fondation Paul Gérin-Lajoie since 2011. The foundation sponsors La Dictée PGL and other activities that aim to:

  • educate young people about international issues
  • heighten their environmental awareness
  • introduce them to basic financial concepts

Young adults

A training program on personal finances for young adults is being developed and should gradually be extended to several regions in Quebec. The program, entitled "My Money, My Choices," is the product of a cooperative effort involving the caisses, the Fédération des caisses Desjardins and community stakeholders in the Outaouais region.

Desjardins offers a wide range of educational tools about financial products and services, many of them available online. The goal of these is to help our diverse clientele acquire the knowledge, skills and self-confidence needed to manage their personal finances.

Written publications

We offer our audiences publications written in clear, easy-to-understand language to help them better grasp financial subjects:

  • Partenaires (in French only), a magazine for agriculture and agri-food clients
  • Desjardins Entreprises (in French only), a magazine for small, medium-sized and large businesses
  • Desjardins and Me, a magazine designed for the general public that covers topics related to personal finance and cooperation
  • Property and casualty insurance tips in a real estate investment information guide (published in La Presse and Le Soleil)
  • Desjardins advertorials providing supplementary financial education content
  • Expertise and Our point of view,newsletters for Desjardins Private Management (DPM) clients that discuss the market and economic conditions, and also include feature articles on a variety of financial topics (taxation, trust services, etc.)

Desjardins websites and other tools

Desjardins provides a wealth of information in a variety of formats, primarily on its websites.

Our desire to contribute to the financial education of our members, policyholders and clients is clearly reflected in all our business sectors.

General public
  • Tips about spending, savings, family, finances, preparing for retirement, etc.
  • Videos and webcasts on various topics (loans and bursaries, purchasing a home or car, travel, asset management, wills, budgeting, investment strategies, etc.)
  • Financial security pyramid
  • Retirement planning tool that includes a calculator and quiz
  • Your RRSP, your TFSA and your projects guide
    • With personal finance advisors
  • ActiLife newsletter
  • Tips about property and casualty insurance and life and health insurance
    • Television, radio, personalized emails
  • Desjardins Private Management “Rendez-vous” conferences
    • Information sessions on finance, investments and taxation
Uninsured tenants
Plan members or members – Group plans
  • Mieux comprendre (in French only) document series
  • Health is Cool 360° platform
  • On Target RetirementTM
  • Your way, plain and simple program
Insured homeowners
  • Loss prevention
    • Emails and tips (personalized mailings)

Founded in 1979, Société historique Alphonse-Desjardins (SHAD) aims to preserve and promote the history and heritage of Desjardins Group and its founders, for the benefit of present and future generations.

SHAD fulfills its mission by:

  • preserving the home and property of Alphonse and Dorimène Desjardins
  • exhibiting its museum collections, including antique objects and printed letters and documents, and conducting research
  • offering free guided tours and educational activities to Maison Alphonse-Desjardins visitors
  • providing advisory services, lectures and historical productions
  • safely housing Desjardins Group archives

The first head office of Caisse populaire de Lévis, Maison Alphonse-Desjardins is listed as a historical monument and recognized as a museum. Every year, it welcomes around 8,000 visitors. Its permanent exhibition was updated in 2012. The exhibition, entitled The legacy of a couple presents the contribution of the caisses populaires created by the Desjardins couple to Quebec society and the Quebec economy.