Federal Government Continues to Lapse Literacy and Essential Skills Funds

On February 27, 2014, the Main Estimates for 2014-2015 were tabled in the House of Commons. The Main Estimates set out how much money will be spent on each government program. Information is also provided on previous years’ spending via the Departmental Performance Report.

For the Adult Learning, Literacy and Essential Skills Program, which is administered by the Office of Literacy and Essential Skills (OLES), spending for the coming year is requested at the 2013-2014 level, that is, $23,509,000.

The Department Performance Report shows that, for the 8th year in a row, OLES has lapsed money. In 2012-2013, OLES did not spend $9,309,000 of its allocation.

The following chart shows the authorized (or requested) spending levels and the actual spending levels since 2006-2007.

image001

Authorized spending was at a high in 2007-2008 of $47,374,000 although only $23,300,000 was actually spent. Since 2006-2007, OLES has lapsed $69,197,000, which is an average of $9,885,286 a year. These funds do not include EI Part II funds which OLES uses to fund projects and some core funding agreements. (If anyone is interested, I have the numbers going back to 2000-2001.)

With less than 6 days left in the fiscal year  and no word on the outcome of the May 2013 Call for Proposals for the Pan-Canadian Network, it is certain that at least $5 million will lapse on March 31, 2014.

Continual underspending does not indicate a commitment on the part of the government to this program, and I dare say, to literacy and essential skills.

About Brigid Hayes

Brigid Hayes has developed an expertise in learning that spans over 35 years as a senior government policy advisor and program manager and partnership developer; director of labour for a national business/labour skills centre and as an independent consultant. Her knowledge of and experience in workplace literacy and learning has contributed to her recognition as an expert in this field, and she has undertaken significant activities to both help promote and enhance literacy and lifelong learning. Brigid works as an independent consultant and expert advisor on learning, literacy, and work. She has successfully developed a strategic planning and policy development practice involving workplace literacy, essential skills, partnership development, research, and evaluation.
This entry was posted in Federal Government and Literacy, Literacy and Essential Skills. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Federal Government Continues to Lapse Literacy and Essential Skills Funds

  1. Grant Bishop says:

    True insight comes when you “Watch what they do, not what they say.”

  2. a.gardner@mail.utoronto.ca says:

    I just spent/wasted time on theOLES website looking for any recent funding activity. Nothing! Then I found your blog, made me laugh, but it is a sad indication of the state of the adult literacy field.
    I was also searching Statistics Canada to see if there were any new PIAAC reports that were supposed to be released in 2014. Nothing!
    Rather than transparent, the value of adult literacy by the feds just feels vacant.

  3. Brigid Hayes says:

    The OLES project database is so out-of-date and impossible to search. I’ve been able to get info via “Transparency” which you find at the bottom of the home page (then go to “Grants and Contributions Awards over $25,000”; then “Link to Reports for Disclosure of Grants and Contributions”; then click on the quarter/year you’re interested in. You’ll have to click on the first organization listed – from there you can search “literacy”. There’s no info about what the grant is about just the date approved and amount. Sometimes the organization issues a press release and you can find out what the project is all about. I just went into the 2014-15 info and found four projects:

    Frontier College $1,230,698.00
    Government of New Brunswick $8,000,000.00
    Quebec English Literacy Alliance $1,187,533.00
    Saint John Learning Exchange $1,329,305.00
    Skill/Competences Canada $1,449,684.00

    I would love to know what the Government of NB is doing with $8m.

    As for PIAAC reports, I’ve nothing further from what I provided in Edmonton in September. Haven’t seen any report coming out of Statscan or ESDC.

    Thanks for following my blog.

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