2022 Edition

Financial Education and Counselling Services (CA-FEC) 4: Development of an Action Plan

Each client participates in the development of an action plan that identifies methods for achieving service goals.




Clients who receive Financial Education and Counselling services learn to solve financial problems and gain personal financial management skills.
All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, as indicated by full implementation of the practices outlined in the Practice Standards.
Practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality; or
  • Procedures need strengthening; or
  • With few exceptions, procedures are understood by staff and are being used; or
  • For the most part, established timeframes are met; or
  • Proper documentation is the norm and any issues with individual staff members are being addressed through performance evaluations and training; or
  • Active client participation occurs to a considerable extent.
Practice requires significant improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards. Service quality or program functioning may be compromised; e.g.,
  • Procedures and/or case record documentation need significant strengthening; or
  • Procedures are not well-understood or used appropriately; or
  • Timeframes are often missed; or
  • Several client records are missing important information; or
  • Client participation is inconsistent. 
Implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
  • No written procedures, or procedures are clearly inadequate or not being used; or 
  • Documentation is routinely incomplete and/or missing.      
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Action planning procedures
No On-Site Evidence
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Clients
  • Review client files


CA-FEC 4.01

An assessment-based action plan is developed in a timely manner with the full participation of the client that:
  1. considers the urgency of the problem and the length of service required to achieve appropriate results, and focuses on timely resolution of the needs presented; 
  2. includes a summary of the client’s financial situation including assets, liabilities, income, living expenses, debt, and housing;
  3. states the client’s goals, actions necessary for achieving those goals, and their responsibilities; 
  4. describes the array of options available to the client, including bankruptcy, as applicable; 
  5. indicates referrals made for other services, as applicable; and 
  6. includes the client’s signature.


The client should receive a copy of the action plan, and the organization should maintain another copy in the client’s file.


Information listed above may be included in other related documents, such as the client’s budget.


CA-FEC 4.02

The organization develops a spending plan or budget with each client that prioritizes individual needs such as housing costs, utilities, food, and transportation.