Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

March 08, 2010 12:00 ET

Government of Canada Supports Literacy and Essential Skills Project for Aboriginal People

CRANBROOK, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - March 8, 2010) - Aboriginal workers in British Columbia will benefit from a federally funded project aimed at improving their success in the job market. The Honourable Jim Abbott, Member of Parliament for Kootenay-Columbia, made the announcement today on behalf of the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development.

"Our government believes that working with partners to improve literacy and essential skills is the best way to help Canadians get jobs and build better futures," said Mr. Abbott. "In today's economic environment, it is more important than ever that Aboriginal people have the skills they need to participate in the job market."

The Ktunaxa Nation Council will receive $152,095 from the Office of Literacy and Essential Skills for its Essential Skills Assessment Workplace Readiness project. In partnership with the College of the Rockies, the Council will develop and pilot an informal skills assessment tool, designed to assist service providers who work with Aboriginal learners. This project will help Aboriginal adults overcome barriers to learning and move effectively into job training, education and the labour market. It will also build capacity in communities and broaden access to employer resources.

"We appreciate the federal government's support in helping us to build the essential skills tools we need to promote success in the workforce," said Ms. Rosemary Phillips, Education and Workforce Strategic Initiatives Coordinator for the Ktunaxa Nation Council.

Upgrading literacy and essential skills can completely change an individual's life. Ms. Ellen Szita, a resident of British Columbia, has first-hand proof. After three of her four children left school between Grades 7 and 10, Ms. Szita became aware that a lack of literacy and essential skills can affect an individual's future. She participated in a literacy program funded by the Office of Literacy and Essential Skills, counselled and supported other learners, and became a board member of literacy organizations.

A recipient of several awards, Ms. Szita has also published works of poetry and other books and was recently named as a Reader's Digest Hero of 2009. Without upgrading her literacy and essential skills, Ms. Szita would not have progressed and made an impact on the lives of other Canadians with low literacy skills.

Literacy and essential skills are key in ensuring that Canadians can fully participate and succeed in the workforce. The Government of Canada's Office of Literacy and Essential Skills works with partners, including provincial and territorial governments, employers and community organizations, to provide Canadians with the tools and supports they need to maximize opportunities for themselves, their families and their communities.

This news release is available in alternative formats upon request.


About the Office of Literacy and Essential Skills

The Government of Canada created the Office of Literacy and Essential Skills with a mission to become an acknowledged centre of expertise on what works in increasing the literacy and essential skills of adult Canadians. The Office's activities focus on improving the literacy and essential skills of adults to help them participate fully in the workplace, the community and family life.

While Canada's economy is showing signs of recovery, skills shortages remain a significant challenge. The Government of Canada is helping individuals develop the skills they need so they can get jobs and build better futures. To make this happen, the Government is investing $36 million this year in the Office of Literacy and Essential Skills.

Contact Information

  • Office of Minister Finley
    Michelle Bakos
    Press Secretary
    Human Resources and Skills Development Canada
    Media Relations Office