The Office of Literacy and Essential Skills

From Employment and Social Development Canada

The Office of Literacy and Essential Skills (OLES) aims to help adult Canadians improve their literacy and essential skills to better prepare for, get and keep a job, and adapt and succeed at work. As such, OLES is working closely with provincial and territorial governments to support the integration of essential skills into employment and training programs, which they in large part deliver, and for which they are further supported by federal labour market transfers such as the Canada Job Fund and Labour Market Development Agreements.

Particular emphasis is placed on supporting individuals with low skills and facing multiple barriers to employment such as Indigenous people, youth, and Official Language Minority Communities (OLMCs). Accordingly, OLES is working horizontally with other ESDC programs such as the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy, the Youth Employment Strategy and the Enabling Fund for OLMCs. OLES is also partnering with other government departments, such as Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada, to enhance the availability of essential skills supports for those most in need, e.g. newcomers.

The literacy and essential skills grants and contributions appropriation is from both the Consolidated Revenue Fund – Adult Learning, Literacy and Essential Skills (ALLESP) and Employment Insurance Part II – National Essential Skills Initiative (NESI). Funding is used to make strategic investments in transformative projects to replicate and scale up proven approaches to skills upgrading across Canada and to develop innovative approaches to improve the quality of employment and training supports that are more responsive to employer and worker needs.  The program also links with the Roadmap for Canada's Official Languages 2013–18.

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