Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

May 20, 2010 14:30 ET

Government of Canada Invests in Literacy and Essential Skills Project for Older Workers and Employers

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA--(Marketwire - May 20, 2010) - Local businesses and older workers will benefit from a Government of Canada investment in a literacy and essential skills development project. The Honourable Vic Toews, Minister of Public Safety and Member of Parliament for Provencher, made the announcement today on behalf of the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development.

"Our government is committed to working with partners to improve literacy and other essential skills to ensure that Canadians are equipped to get jobs and build better futures," said Minister Toews. "In today's economic environment, it is more important than ever that older workers have the skills they need to participate in the job market."

The Manitoba Chambers of Commerce will receive over $2.3 million for its ThirdQuarter project, through the Community Partnerships for Labour Market Challenges – Employment Insurance Part II program. ThirdQuarter is an online, community-based pilot project that aims to help workers over age 50 access the tools and resources they need to assess and improve their literacy and essential skills. It will also serve as a recruitment tool for employers in rural and small communities in four Canadian regions.

While the project is being piloted in communities with different social and economic circumstances in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and the Atlantic provinces, it will lead to the creation of a model that can be successfully replicated in other regions across Canada.

"Today, people turn 50 and aim for 100. At 50, they are just entering the third quarter of life and work. They bring emotional maturity, a strong work ethic and transferable essential skills to re-invest in the workplace, either in new fields or part-time," said Mr. Graham Starmer, President of the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce. "At the same time, business leaders worry about an impending labour shortage. will help meet the needs of both groups and help the economy prosper in rural and small communities."

The Government of Canada's Office of Literacy and Essential Skills works with partners such as 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.

Improving adult Canadians' literacy and essential skills is a key part of the Government's commitment to create the best educated, most skilled and most flexible workforce in the world.

The Government underscored this commitment in Canada's Economic Action Plan. A key component of the Plan is to create more opportunities for Canadian workers through skills development.

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 as a centre of expertise to help increase the literacy and essential skills of adult Canadians.

While Canada currently faces economic uncertainty, skills shortages remain a significant challenge. With a budget of $36 million in 2009–2010, the Government of Canada, through the Office, is investing to ensure that Canadians have the literacy and essential skills they need to participate fully in the labour market and in their communities.

About the organization

Representing 10,000 businesses, the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce has completed a number of studies and papers in the areas of skills shortages, skills assessment and skills development. Recognizing that hiring and re-training older workers in the labour force is critical in meeting anticipated skills and workforce challenges, the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce has developed a pilot project to help both older workers and employers embed literacy and essential skills into job search and recruitment strategies.

Along with three other Chambers of Commerce across Canada, the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce has renamed an entire generation in a bid to help more employers find and hire experienced workers who are only in the third quarter of their lives, between the ages of 50 and 65. The project is called ThirdQuarter and includes an online resource at

Contact Information

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