Microcredit is a means of delivering small loans (~ $5K) for business and training purposes to people who would otherwise have difficulty accessing credit through the traditional banking sector.  For potential borrowers in Canada, this difficulty may arise because of inadequate collateral or the lack of any credit history.  A microcredit program offers assistance in securing a loan for those who otherwise have a great business plan, strong ties to the community, and the like.


As part of an alternative or fringe financial system, small volunteer microcredit programs in Canada sit outside the formal financial sector.  These programs rely heavily on donations for either funding loans directly or securing loans for their clients from formal financial institutions. The programs are most often community based, unregulated (as financial institutions), and staffed largely by volunteer labour. What program design options might a community consider? What impact do they have on the local community? How might we assess that impact? Are these programs an effective path to financial inclusion for financially excluded clients? Are these programs an effective means of financial and economic empowerment? These questions and more guide our research into Canadian microcredit programs.

Research Outcomes - Summary

Evaluating Small Canadian Microcredit Programs

Britto, Neil and Brenda Spotton Visano “Building community capacity: Self-assessment performance metrics for Canadian microcredit programs,” Canadian Journal of Program Evaluation 33 n.1 (2018): 154–167

Media Coverage

"Canada learns from Bangladesh how to tackle poverty"  November 12, 2013, Reprinted from Trust.org in the The Daily Ittefaq

"Encouraging the Entrepreneurial Spirit" Anna Mehler Paperny and Tavia Grant, Globe and Mail February 10, 2010

"Black Creek MicroCredit Program to help build businesses in Jane-Finch communityExchange Magazine February 12, 2010

"York economics professor works to ease the credit crunchY-File Headline News May 8, 2009

Research Outcomes