Once again, OLES lapses millions of dollars targeted for literacy and essential skills

In what has become an annual blog post, I am writing once again about the lapse in spending by the Office of Literacy and Essential Skills (OLES), Employment and Social Development Canada.

The 2016-2017 Public Accounts was recently tabled in the House of Commons. While Parliament approved spending of $18,009,000, only $8,457,994 was actually spent by OLES. This means that $9,551,006 was left on the table, likely returned to general revenues.

I had hoped that the Trudeau government would reverse this trend. Last year, only about 39% of the budget was spent, this year 47% was spent. This underspending is far worse than what took place over the Harper years when, on average, 57% of the budget was spent.

OLES has not had a call for proposals since 2015. In my next post, I’ll look at what projects have been funded. In the meanwhile, one certainly needs to ask what the folk at OLES do on a daily basis and why, when literacy and essential skills are still issues to be addressed, the federal government continues its lack of attention and lapsing of money. Parliament thought literacy was important enough to authorize spending; why is it that OLES can’t spend the money it has been given?

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About Brigid Hayes

Brigid Hayes has developed an expertise in learning that spans almost 30 years as a senior policy advisor, program manager and partnership developer. 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 Adult Literacy and Basic Skills Policy, Federal Government and Literacy, Literacy and Essential Skills, Office of Literacy and Essential Skills (OLES) and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Once again, OLES lapses millions of dollars targeted for literacy and essential skills

  1. ChristinePJ says:

    Thanks Brigid for diligently tracking OLES under-spending. The government’s decision to withhold funding from broader adult literacy efforts, without clear justification, is perplexing to say the least. It also appears that that a few are deemed deserving and others are undeserving of government support.

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  2. Brigid: Ditto Christine PJ’s response. It is so important that you are tracking the (lack of) action on this critically important issue. This is not acceptable when low literacy proficiency is affecting the dignity, health and welfare of so many Canadians, and Canada as a whole. Thank you for continuing to keep an eye on this and keeping those of us who care about this (and there will be more) abreast of what is and isn’t happening!

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  3. donnaewood says:

    Is there someone in OLES you can ask about the underspending or perhaps get someone from the opposition to put in a question to the government?

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  4. Maria Moriarty says:

    Thank you Bridget – where would we be without you! I have just emailed my (Liberal) M.P. to ask for an explanation!!!!!! Thanks Maria

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  5. Pingback: Once again, OLES lapses millions of dollars targeted for literacy and essential skills – Downtown Eastside Literacy Roundtable

  6. Pingback: Once again, OLES lapses millions of dollars targeted for literacy and essential skills | Adult Basic Education is a Basic Right

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