Ontario students will start learning money smarts as early as Grade 4, when Queen’s Park rolls out a new financial literacy curriculum in September 2011.

Prompted by growing debt levels among Canadian youths and reckless personal spending habits that helped trigger the global credit crunch, the province will design lessons that can be worked into subjects up to Grade 12, said Education Minister Kathleen Wynne, who will announce the plan today in Toronto.

“The whole issue of how to manage money and risk is a really important concept — money and debt can become difficult issues in later life — but we can’t assume families will discuss these things at home,” said Wynne. “But we’re not looking to create a new course; we want to build financial literacy into the existing curriculum.”

The government will create a working group to pinpoint the core concepts to be covered, and will work with the non-profit Investor Education Fund to develop training for teachers.