The Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks has posted the following full-time job in Ottawa:


“The position involves project management responsibilities. It reports directly to the Executive Director.  Depending on experience and qualifications of the successful candidate, the position will either be Project Manager or Senior Project Manager.  Persons with extensive relevant experience are particularly encouraged to apply.”

The deadline is Friday August 19, 2016.

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Consultations on the Canada Job Grant

The Forum of Labour Market Ministers (FLMM) has announced a cross-country consultation on the various labour market agreements including the Canada Job Grant/Fund. The FLMM is made up of all provincial and territorial ministers responsible for labour market issues along with the federal minister.

In late June, the Labour Market Ministers announced a “broad-based consultations over the summer months to gather stakeholder perspectives and inform future investments in employment and skills training programs and services.” (see FLMM Communique) Of course, we all know that summer is the best time to consult people – not!

Along with the announcement, the FLMM issued a discussion paper that is intended to guide the consultations (see FLMM – Discussion Paper LMTA). Here are some of the questions in the discussion paper that I think apply to the Canada Job Grant/Fund:

Q1. Given varied and changing labour market conditions, what should employment and skills training programs be trying to achieve and for whom?

Q2. Are current employment and skills training programs flexible enough to respond to the needs of a diverse workforce, e.g. vulnerable workers, youth, Indigenous Peoples, recent immigrants and others who need particular support? If yes, what in particular is working best, or how can these groups best be supported?

Q3. Are all Canadians, in particular jobseekers and potential jobseekers, aware of and able to access appropriate employment and training programs to find and/or keep a job? If yes, what in particular is working best? If not, who and why?

Q4. What are the employment and skills training needs that employers see as critical to address their workforce and economic objectives? What is the role of employers versus government?

Year Two of the Canada Job Fund ended in March 2016. Two provinces – Alberta and Nova Scotia – have posted reports on their performance in the first year (see Alberta – Canada Job Fund Report – 2014-15 and Nova Scotia – Canada Job Fund Report 2014-15). The federal government contracted a Year Two Review; however, it has not made that review public. The Year Two Review was a key concession made in order to get the provinces and territories to sign onto the Canada Job Fund back in 2013.

Based on press releases, my sense is that the Canada Job Grant is supporting training of already employed Canadians. Alberta indicated that the most popular types of skills training include:

  • Project Management
  • Human Resource Management
  • Risk Management
  • Health and Safety Courses
  • Leadership Skills
  • Financial Accounting Practices

I’ve not seen any Canada Job Grant money going towards literacy and other basic skills training. Provinces and territories can spend Employment Services and Support money on literacy and other basic skills training but the amount available is decreasing annually.

From my reading of the FLMM material, it appears that each province and territory will organize their own consultations. Many of you have experiences with the Canada Job Fund and have a good sense of what’s working and what’s not working. I would encourage you to contact your provincial/territorial labour market department and see how you can participate in this consultation

Posted in Adult Literacy and Basic Skills Policy, Canada Job Fund, Canada Job Grant, Federal Government and Literacy, Labour Market Agreements, Literacy and Essential Skills, Provincial/Territorial Governments and Literacy | Tagged | Leave a comment

Congratulations to COFA

La Coalition ontarienne de formation des adultes (COFA) has been awarded the only Excellence Award in the Enterprise category by the Association canadienne d’éducation des adultes des universités de langue française (ACDEAULF). This award is presented to an organization, other than a Canadian francophone university, for its outstanding contribution to the development of adult education and for its commitment to continuing education.

COFA provides information, coordination, communication and networking for its members who work to support francophone adults improve their literacy skills. Members work in adult education and training programs offered by the community sector, school boards and colleges in Ontario. The award recognizes COFA’s use of dynamic, active and leading edge technology, to create the conditions that allow the Ontario Francophone adults to acquire essential skills to achieve their training goals.

Féliciations to Michel Robillard and the entire COFA team. You can read about the award here: ACDEAULF Prix 2016 Comuniqué de presse

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New PIAAC report – “Skills Matter – Further Results from the Survey of Adult Skills”

The OECD published yesterday a new report based on the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) data. The report examines PIAAC data on information-processing skills, workplace skills and the outcomes of investments in skills. The report can be accessed via the OECD’s press release (Improve skills to build fairer, more inclusive societies)

PIAAC is an international assessment of the proficiency of adults aged 16-65 years in three key information processing skills: literacy, numeracy, and problem solving in technology-rich environments. The first results from the Survey were released in October 2013 (OECD, 2013) and covered 25 countries and sub-national entities while the report released on June 28, 2016 covers a further nine countries and sub-national entities – Chile, Greece, Indonesia (Jakarta), Israel, Lithuania, New Zealand, Singapore, Slovenia and Turkey– that collected data in 2014-15.

It’s interesting to note the performance of New Zealand. As its Minister Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment announced, the country moved from 12th place in the International Adult Literacy Survey to 4th place in PIAAC. However, sharp differences still existed among ethnicities, particularly among Maori and Pacific peoples. (NZ fourth in world literacy: OECD)

The press release has a few interactive tables that allow you to compare countries over the various PIAAC skills and by various demographic indicators.

I’ve not had a chance to read the report so if anyone gets to it before me, do let me know what you think of it and the results.

Posted in Adult Literacy and Basic Skills Policy, Federal Government and Literacy, International Literacy Surveys, PIAAC, Workplace Literacy | Leave a comment

New Literacy Policy Blog

Christine Pinsent-Johnson has worked in the adult literacy field for over 25 years and for the past 10 years or so has been doing research for her PhD on literacy testing. She has launched a blog called “Policy Problems”. As Christine states, “I am using it to examine the (mis)use of international literacy testing methods (developed for IALS and PIAAC) in Ontario’s LBS system.”

While Christine is focusing on Ontario, her analysis of testing practices, the use of IALS and PIAAC and the policy implications stemming from their usage has meaning for everyone working in adult literacy.

I hope you check out the blog and let Christine know what you think. You can check out the blog here:

Posted in Adult Literacy and Basic Skills Policy, International Literacy Surveys, Literacy and Essential Skills, PIAAC, Provincial/Territorial Governments and Literacy | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The Risk of Automation – low skilled jobs at risk

The OECD has been doing work using PIAAC to examine the risk of automation for jobs in OECD countries and recently released a study.

Here’s a summary of the findings:

According to the report, South Korea has the lowest percentage of jobs at risk of automation. Jobs at ‘risk of automation’ are defined as having a more than 70 percent likelihood of being replaced by robots.

The report ultimately identified two reasons for Korea’s ranking – the overall high education level of its population, and the fact that tasks carried out by laborers, even of those with low education levels, are not the type that can be automated. It was estimated that only 6 percent of jobs in Korea are at risk of automation and replacement by robots.

Following behind Korea were Poland, Sweden, Finland, Belgium, and Japan, each with 7 percent of jobs at risk of automation. Meanwhile, the U.S., France, Canada, and Denmark each had 9 percent of jobs at risk of automation and the Netherlands, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the Czech Republic were each estimated to have 10 percent of their jobs at risk. The countries with the highest percentage of automation risk were Germany, Austria, and Spain, at 12 percent.

Education levels and income levels of employees are the two vital factors that determined a job’s risk of automation – which, in effect, meant jobs held by low-skilled and low-income workers were at the greatest risk of being taken over by automation. As to the drastic differences among countries, the report listed prevailing organizational structure, each country’s past investment in automation technology, and the education level of employees as the determinants.

On the other hand, the report warned against immediately assuming jobs replaceable by robots are the same as jobs that have disappeared due to natural technological progress.

The report pointed out that workers can learn new skills and take advantage of technology to evade unemployment, and more importantly, that technological change is often what creates new jobs.

“Automation and digitalization will not destroy a huge number of jobs, although there will be more disadvantages for low-skilled laborers,” stated the author of the report.

The report also suggested and emphasized potential solutions, such as providing ample opportunities for more education to low-income laborers. (from Korea Bizwire, Esther J. Kim

You can find the full report at: The Risk of Automation for Jobs in OECD Countries.

Posted in Adult Literacy and Basic Skills Policy, International Literacy Surveys, Literacy and Essential Skills, PIAAC | Leave a comment

Canada-B.C. Job Grant | Small Business BC

One of the challenges of implementing the Canada Job Grant is how to support employers to figure out what their training needs might be and to navigate the application and reimbursement processes. BC seems to have come up with a method to do just that. Small Business BC now has Canada-BC Job Grant Advisors who will walk employers through the process.

I do hope that these advisors are familiar with issues related to literacy and essential skills. All too often workplace training is not as effective as desired because of these issues. Doing a proper organizational needs assessment, creating a safe place for people to address their basic skills, and integrating literacy and essential skills into workplace training are just a few of the ways to respond.

Here’s the link to Small Business BC’s website:  Canada-B.C. Job Grant | Small Business BC

Posted in Canada Job Grant, Literacy and Essential Skills | Tagged