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Helping consumers who are living through difficult periods

Social inclusion
March 10, 2019 •  By Centraide
Option consommateurs

The strategies used by Option consommateurs aim at the autonomy of individuals.
Option consommateurs has been working for nearly 35 years helping people who are having difficulty managing their personal finances.

Option consommateurs, a Centraide-supported agency, is a ACEF, or household economic cooperative, that has been working for nearly 35 years, helping people who are having difficulty managing their personal finances or understanding their rights, as well as individuals living in precarious financial situations.

Mr. Taha, for example, suffers from anxiety disorders, which make it impossible for him to work, so he now finds himself living on social assistance benefits. “The end of the month is often difficult for me, and I sometimes have trouble finding enough money to eat,” he admitted. Initially, he used the agency to help him set up a budget. Now, he’s learned to budget and better understands how to manage his money. He’s putting money aside, little by little, and has been able to start therapy to address his anxiety disorder. These are all tools that help him move towards greater employability and financial independence.

Mr. Taha’s story is not unusual. Every year, members of the Option consommateurs team establish trusting relationships with people in financial difficulty. Their goal is to give people more control over their lives. The consumers who benefit from Option consommateurs’ services learn not only to make decisions that immediately improve their lives, but also to identify the base causes of their financial difficulties, so that they can better address them.

The agency’s mission is not limited to accounting; more broadly, it focusses on individual autonomy of improving people’s quality of life. The strategies Option consommateurs uses require the beneficiaries to actively participate and commit, which gives them agency and responsibility for their own success.