Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

August 20, 2009 13:00 ET

Government of Canada Helps Workers in Victoria Improve Their Literacy and Essential Skills

VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Aug. 20, 2009) - Adults who face barriers to educational and career opportunities will benefit from a project supported by the Government of Canada that will support the integration of literacy and essential skills into workplace training. Mr. John Duncan, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, made the announcement on behalf of the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development.

"Our government works with partners across Canada to ensure that literacy and essential skills are integrated into training that will help Canadians get jobs and build better futures for themselves and their families," said Mr. Duncan. "This project will increase awareness among employers of learning issues, strengthening their ability to recruit and retain good workers, while also helping adult workers enter and thrive in the workforce."

Under the Essential Skills and Workforce Literacy Pilot Project, Literacy Victoria will receive $308,439 to encourage employers to integrate literacy and essential skills training into their policies and practices; foster knowledge exchange and collaboration between employers, knowledge specialists and community organizations; and reduce barriers to employment and improve access to literacy and essential skills training for adult learners.

"This pilot project is a unique opportunity for Literacy Victoria and our private sector partners to support adults entering the workforce and to continue that learning support once they are there," said Ms. Ruth Derrick, Executive Director of Literacy Victoria. "Up to now, many of these adults have been held back by their literacy skills and have never been able to hold a steady job. We are grateful to the federal government for helping Literacy Victoria and our partners open new doors of opportunity for them and successfully integrate them into the workforce."

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

Improving Canadians' literacy and essential skills is a key part of the Government of Canada's commitment to building a highly skilled, adaptable and competitive workforce. The Government underscored this commitment in January when it introduced Canada's Economic Action Plan. A key component of the Plan is to create more opportunities for Canadian workers through skills development and training.


As part of the Essential Skills and Workforce Literacy Pilot Project, Literacy Victoria will collaborate with three knowledge specialist organizations to develop and pilot a learning and essential skills model. Industry and community stakeholders will be involved to identify the essential skills required for entry-level positions, develop "learning pathways" for learners to acquire those skills and pilot the model in four workplaces with a total of 40 participants.

Literacy Victoria will assess, track and report on the progress of each pilot participant from pre-employment to their integration into the workplace. The feedback and advice gathered will be used to adapt curriculum, tools and resources as necessary. In addition, a project portal will be created on the Literacy Victoria Web site to make tools, learning resources and lessons learned accessible to stakeholders.

In today's environment, it is more important than ever that Canadians develop the literacy and essential skills they need to participate and succeed in the job market. Strong literacy and essential skills play a key role in helping individuals adjust to the changing needs of the economy.

The Government of Canada created the Office of Literacy and Essential Skills (OLES) with a mission to become an acknowledged centre of expertise on what works in increasing the literacy and essential skills of adult Canadians. The activities of the OLES focus on improving the literacy and essential skills of adults for participation in the workplace, the community and family life.

This news release is available in alternative formats upon request.

Contact Information

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