Canadians in official language minority communities receive help to improve their essential skills and literacy

News release

A life with literacy is the foundation for learning all other essential skills most valued in Canadian society and the workplace

March 5, 2019                        Ottawa, Ontario                          Employment and Social Development Canada

Canadians living in rural and remote official language minority communities (OLMCs) often lack access to the education and training infrastructure needed to help them improve their literacy and essential skills necessary for job-market success.

That is why today, Mona Fortier, Member of Parliament for Ottawa–Vanier, on behalf of the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, announced a multi-year $2 million project that will help Canadians develop their job-ready life-enhancing skills so they are better prepared to participate in the workforce.

The Coalition ontarienne de formation des adultes and its regional partners will use the Government of Canada investment to create a web-based skills training tool to help provide the distance-learning opportunities needed to support vulnerable groups with low literacy.

OLMCs in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and Yukon will be part of the pilot project. The work of this project will support pan-Canadian access in the future.

The Government of Canada works in partnership with provincial and territorial governments, employers and community organizations to provide Canadians with the resources they need to take training, achieve credentials, access job opportunities, contribute meaningfully to their communities and share in the country’s economic and social prosperity. Funding for the project is provided through the Adult Learning, Literacy and Essential Skills Program.


“Our economy is stronger when all Canadians get the skills they need to find and keep good jobs. This pan‑Canadian project is one example of how partners can work together on training initiatives that contribute to the success of our communities and strengthening the middle class.”

– The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour

“Our communities are healthier and stronger when everyone can fully participate. Through this project, more people across Canada will get essential skills and literacy training, which are a foundation for lifelong learning, so they can succeed in the workforce.”

– Mona Fortier, Member of Parliament for Ottawa–Vanier

“As Chair of the Coalition ontarienne de formation des adultes (COFA) Board of Directors, I am especially proud to highlight the importance of the Pan-Canadian Distance Learning Platform Project that will provide Francophones in Canada with access to training to develop their essential skills.”

– Monsieur Renaud Saint-Cyr, President, Board of Directors, Coalition ontarienne de formation des adultes

Quick facts

  • The Government of Canada works with more than 400 organizations across Canada every year to foster literacy and essential skills upgrading. These investments help more than 10,000 Canadians nurture their skills each year and find and keep good-quality jobs.

  • Essential skills include the skills associated with literacy (i.e. reading, writing, document use and numeracy), as well as thinking skills, oral communication, digital skills, working with others and the skills associated with continuous learning.

  • Workers with low essential skills are at greater risk of job loss, long-term unemployment and not gaining new skills to transition to new jobs. Forty-five percent of employed Canadians perform at Level 2 or below in literacy compared to 57 percent of unemployed Canadians and 61 percent of those not in the labour force.

  • The pilot-project partners are located in Francophone rural communities in remote areas where there is a lack of infrastructure and training capacity. These project partners include: L’Équipe d’alphabétisation (Nova Scotia), Collège de l'Île (Prince Edward Island), Pluri-Elles (Manitoba), le Collège Mathieu (Saskatchewan), the Learning Centre Literacy Association (Alberta) and the Association franco‑yukonnaise (Yukon).

  • A $1 million investment from the Government of Canada to the Coalition ontarienne de formation des adultes in 2017 has so far helped 24 Canadians successfully graduate from a hotel-related training program, which led these students to find good jobs and remain in Canada’s labour market.

Associated links


For media enquiries, please contact:

Véronique Simard
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Patty Hajdu, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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