OLES funds project for Indigenous people

Last week, the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour announced a new OLES project taking place in Vancouver. I was pleased to see the announcement, transparency is good, and I will be interested to follow this project as it is implemented.

Today, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, announced funding of over $1.5 million to the Native Education College for the Essential Skills for Aboriginal Business project. Approximately 200 Indigenous people will be better prepared to take up jobs in a number of high demand sectors, such as retail, tourism, entertainment, hospitality and finance in Vancouver.

With this investment, the Native Education College is developing a culturally-relevant training model that combines employability skills, literacy and essential skills training and workplace simulation activities. Participants will also benefit from industry certifications and paid work placements for workers. Additional services to be provided by the College, including support to help with the costs of transportation for the participants to attend the activities will further encourage their completion of the skills training program.

You can read the full announcement here: Government of Canada helps Indigenous people in Vancouver get the literacy and essential skills they need to find good jobs

Posted in Aboriginal People, Employment and Social Development Canada, ESDC, Federal Government and Literacy, Indigenous People, Literacy and Essential Skills, Office of Literacy and Essential Skills (OLES), Skills | 1 Comment

Congratulations to the Further Education Society of Alberta

ABC Life Literacy Canada has awarded this year’s Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life Literacy Innovation Award (LIA) to the Further Education Society of Alberta (FESA) located in Calgary AB.

The award recognizes “New Beginnings: A Community Response to Parenting After Violence, a holistic, literacy and trauma-informed program that applies a literacy approach to working with families who have left intergenerational cycles of violence and domestic abuse. The program has demonstrated results in improving learners’ confidence in their parenting skills, an increase in literacy and essential skills as well as an overall increased interest in learning and community engagement. New Beginnings serves both families as well as shelter staff, improving access to important resources and supports. The Parenting After Violence (PAV) facilitator training was developed to prepare community workers to deliver the New Beginnings program to their clientele, expanding the reach of the program beyond shelters and bringing the learning directly to the learners.”

Four honourable mentions were also announced: Burnaby School District 41 LINC Program, Burnside Gorge Community Association, Victoria BC, Dartmouth Learning Network Society, Dartmouth NS and Frontier College, Toronto ON


Posted in ABC Canada, Frontier College | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Literacy & Numeracy recognized in Poverty Reduction Strategy

On August 21, 2018, Jean-Yves Dulcos, Minister of Families Children and Social Development, released Opportunity for All: Canada’s First Poverty Reduction Strategy / Une chance pour tous : la première Stratégie canadienne de réduction de la pauvreté. This document is touted as Canada’s first poverty reduction strategy.

The strategy bundles mostly already existing initiatives under one of three pillars: Dignity, Opportunity and Inclusion, and Resilience and Security with very little ‘new’ money identified.

The strategy gives an inclusive definition of poverty,

Poverty is: The condition of a person who is deprived of the resources, means, choices and power necessary to acquire and maintain a basic level of living standards and to facilitate integration and participation in society.[1]

I especially like that the definition goes beyond discussing only resources by including power and choice.

In addition, the strategy defines “Canada’s Official Poverty Line” based on the cost of a basket of goods and services and adjusted to account for some 50 regional differences. The strategy will be embedded in an act of Parliament. An advisory council on poverty will be created to advise the Minister.

Chapter 4 deals with the pillar of Opportunity and Inclusion. Literacy and numeracy levels are recognized as critical to reducing poverty,

Promoting opportunity means removing barriers and helping all Canadians excel through access to life-long education and skills development, which lead to quality jobs. These essential skills include literacy and numeracy among all Canadians, but particularly among young people, with their engagement in employment, education and training continually on the rise.

In a world where technology is increasingly part of all aspects of our life, more than ever, all Canadians need to be able to read, write and perform basic math to be able to participate in their communities. Young people should be actively engaged, whether in employment, education or training. Adults should be supported in pursuing life-long learning, gaining new skills and strengthening existing skills.[2]

The inclusion of literacy and numeracy is welcomed, and the government seems to understand their importance to reducing poverty.

Several federal government initiatives are cited that contribute to improved skills including the various labour market transfers, the creation of the Future Skills organization, the Digital Literacy Exchange, and the Skills Boost[3] pilot for EI claimants and adults to pursue formal education. I was disappointed that OLES and its adult literacy and essential skills program was not mentioned in the strategy.

The strategy defines its key indicators for tracking progress. Literacy and numeracy will only be tracked at this time for 15-year-old youth using Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) results every three years.

For adults, however, only one set of Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) data is available so a trend line won’t be available until 2022, two years beyond the first poverty reduction target date.

Opportunity for All has several infographics making the information easy to understand. It also has a chapter on Indigenous people and poverty based on distinguishing between First Nations, Métis, and Inuit, a distinction that often is ignored. And as with recent federal budgets, the poverty reduction strategy has a Gender-Based Analysis chapter.

Kudos to Frontier College and ABC Canada for their efforts to have literacy and numeracy included, and to all those who took part in the consultations.

Naming literacy and numeracy as indicators in the strategy is a positive step forward even if the indicators will, for the near future, only apply to youth.

[1] Page 7

[2] Page 36

[3] See http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/102.nsf/eng/home for more information about the Digital Literacy Exchange Program and https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/campaigns/skills-boost.html for more information about Skills Boost.

Posted in ABC Canada, Aboriginal People, Adult Literacy and Basic Skills Policy, Employment and Social Development Canada, ESDC, Federal Government and Literacy, Frontier College, International Literacy Surveys, Labour Market Agreements, Literacy and Essential Skills, PIAAC, Poverty Reduction Strategy, Skills, Workforce Development Agreements | 2 Comments

Getting serious about labour market information

Labour market information (LMI) – how to collect it, how to share it, how to use it – has been a challenge for this country. LMI has been defined as

“information concerning conditions in, or the operation of, the labour market. This information may be statistical or narrative. It may be related to historical, current or projected circumstances. Particular types of labour market information include data on employment and unemployment, job vacancies, qualifications, compensation and working conditions.”[1]

The Forum of Labour Market Ministers (FLMM) – the group of federal, provincial and territorial ministers responsible for labour market policies and programs – has had a longstanding working group and hosted many conversations and meetings about LMI over the years. The Advisory Panel on LMI, led by Don Drummond, reported in 2009 and, in part, looked to the FLMM to provide national coordination (Advisory Council on Labour Market Information – Final Report – 2009).

The FLMM responded by creating a non-profit organization called the Labour Market Information Council (LMIC). Representatives from the federal government, the provinces and territories form the Board of Directors. Knowledgeable people and key labour market and training organizations sit on the National Stakeholder Advisory Panel and the Labour Market Information (LMI) Experts Panel. The website is: http://lmic-cimt.ca.

Accurate and timely LMI is critical to all aspects of the education/training/employment/re-employment cycle. Adult educators and trainers rely on this type of information to customize training as well as advise clients.

The LMIC released its Labour Market Information Council – Strategic Plan 2018 – 2020 this spring with three strategic goals:

  1. Collect: Gather and improve the availability of relevant labour market information to Canadians
  2. Analyze: Undertake insightful and high-quality analyses of labour market information
  3. Distribute: Provide Canadians with timely, relevant and reliable labour market information and insights in an effective manner

More detailed information was recently posted on the LMIC’s Operational Plan (Labour Market Information Council – Operational Plan – July 2018).

The LMIC intends to engage stakeholders in its work and, given the people involved, I’m confident that the Council will be held to that intention. I’m optimistic that we might actually have, for the first time, a joined-up strategy that works across the country and for everyone in the country.


[1] Edwin L. Herr (O’Reilly, 2001) cited in The Advisory Council on Labour Market Information, “Working Together to Build a Better Labour Market Information System in Canada” (also known as the Drummond Report), May 20, 2009.

Posted in Employment and Social Development Canada, ESDC, Forum of Labour Market Ministers, Labour Market Information, Skills | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Literacy and Essential Skills in Official Language Minority Communities

Several months ago, a significant report on literacy and essential skills in official language minority communities was released. The comprehensive report entitled « Développement de l’alphabétisme et des compétences essentielles (DACE) dans les communautés de langue officielle en situation minoritaire (CLOSM) »/“Literacy and Essential Skills Development in Official Language Minority Communities” was published by the Chaire de recherche Francophonie et politiques publiques de l’Université d’Ottawa, on behalf of Employment and Social Development Canada’s Office of Literacy and Essential Skills.

Marc L. Johnson is the main author of the study, and Linda Shohet is author of the section on Quebec’s English-speaking community, under the direction of  Linda Cardinal, and with the assistance of  Guillaume Deschênes-Thériault.

The purpose of the study is to assess the needs and to draw an inventory of policies, programmes and services available in Literacy and Skills Development in Official Language Minority Communities, with a specific focus on adults with lower levels of literacy and essential skills. The study is based on secondary data and consultations with some 110 key informants in the sector. The sections on Quebec anglophone communities are written in English, the rest is in French.

Here are the links to the reports:

The needs assessment:  https://sciencessociales.uottawa.ca/crfpp/sites/sciencessociales.uottawa.ca.crfpp/files/rapport_analyse_besoins_dace_2018-03-26.pdf

The inventory of policies, programmes, services and service providers: https://sciencessociales.uottawa.ca/crfpp/sites/sciencessociales.uottawa.ca.crfpp/files/inventaire_dace_rapport_final_2017-12-08.pdf

Posted in Adult Literacy and Basic Skills Policy, Employment and Social Development Canada, ESDC, Federal Government and Literacy, Francophone literacy, Literacy and Essential Skills, Office of Literacy and Essential Skills (OLES) | 1 Comment

SRDC seeking an experienced researcher

The Social Research and Demonstration Corporation (SRDC) has posted the following job notice:

Experienced Researcher(s)

The Social Research and Demonstration Corporation is a non-profit organization primarily involved in the design, research, and evaluation of social programs and policies. Since 1991, we have been building a base of knowledge and experience about what works in employment, education, health, and social policy. While SRDC is recognized across Canada, and internationally, as a leader in the design, implementation, and evaluation of large-scale demonstration projects, we also conduct program evaluation and impact analysis for a wide range of government and non-governmental organizations.

We are currently seeking one or more full-time experienced researcher(s)/project manager(s) with a strong/demonstrated interest in labour market programming and policies, especially in the following areas: workforce development, adult learning, provision of employment support and services, youth employment programs, and labour market integration programs for new immigrants, Indigenous people, and persons with disabilities.

The successful candidate(s) will contribute to studies testing innovative labour market program initiatives.

Primary duties and responsibilities:

  • participate in the development, implementation, and evaluation of demonstration and pilot projects in collaboration with clients, labour market partners, and service delivery partners;
  • develop research/survey instruments and protocols;
  • analyze quantitative and qualitative data;
  • develop logic models, evaluation frameworks, work plans, data collection and analysis plans, and project budgets;
  • write/contribute to research reports; present research findings to various audiences;
  • develop research and evaluation proposals in response to specific client needs; and
  • manage projects, or portions of projects, as part of a team of researchers and stakeholders.

Candidate qualifications:

  • a graduate degree in a social science, with knowledge of applied research and evaluation methods;
  • a minimum of three years’ experience carrying out advanced analytical or evaluation studies;
  • strong knowledge of statistical techniques and research methodology;
  • knowledge of federal and provincial labour market policies and programs;
  • experience designing research studies, evaluation frameworks, and survey instruments;
  • excellent writing and verbal communications skills in English; the capacity to work in both official languages is considered an asset;
  • ability to present research results clearly and concisely; and
  • organized, self-motivated, and capable of working effectively in a self-directed manner as well as collaborating in a team environment.

We take pride in our employees and in their commitment to excellence. Our reputation for professionalism, methodological rigor, integrity and ethics, objectivity, and exceeding clients’ expectations is based in no small part on our high-calibre staff. We offer our employees competitive salaries and a comprehensive benefits package as well as a stimulating work environment and a collegial approach to doing challenging and important work.

The successful candidate(s) may work in either Ottawa, Vancouver, or Toronto. Applicants should submit a resume and cover letter that indicates location preference and provides a short description of research interests and skills, explaining how they relate to the required expertise and proposed responsibilities. Candidates will be required to complete a research assignment as part of the selection process.

We are prepared to fill this position(s) through an interchange program (minimum secondment of
two years) if potential candidates have access to such programs with their current employer.

Please submit applications by September 7, 2018 to:

Elizabeth Rodgers, Director, Human Resources and Corporate Services
Social Research and Demonstration Corporation (SRDC)
55 Murray Street, Suite 400, Ottawa, ON  K1N 5M3

Posted: August 7, 2018

Posted in Job Opportunities, Skills | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Hidden Gems: Evaluation of the Labour Market Development Agreements | The Welfare State Matters….

For anyone working with the unemployed and return to work efforts, this post by Donna Wood is worth a read:

The Labour Market Development Agreements or LMDAs are the mechanism used by the Government of Canada to transfer Employment Insurance (EI) funding to provinces and territories so that they can desi…

Source: Hidden Gems: Evaluation of the Labour Market Development Agreements | The Welfare State Matters….

Posted in Employment and Social Development Canada, ESDC, Labour Market Agreements, Workforce Development Agreements