Release notice – The Health and Social Dimensions of Adult Skills in Canada

The Public Health Agency of Canada and the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada are pleased to announce the release of The Health and Social Dimensions of Adult Skills in Canada. This report provides new data and evidence on how skills like literacy and numeracy are linked to health and well-being for Canadian adults aged 16–65. Key findings include:

  • Canadians with higher literacy, numeracy and problem-solving skills generally report better health and stronger connections with their communities and society.
  • Gaps in health and social outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people almost disappear among those with the highest levels of literacy and numeracy skills.
  • Skills are associated with health independently of education. Canadians with higher skills who have not completed high school report good health at similar rates as those who have pursued postsecondary education.
  • Although Canadians are less likely to say they are in good health as they grow older, adults aged 55–65 with higher skills report good health almost as often as Canadians aged 16–24.

The report confirms that skills are important resources to help people attain and maintain good health and participate fully in society. This evidence can inform research and policy across sectors to improve health and well-being through action on social determinants of health.

The Health and Social Dimensions of Adult Skills in Canada is part of a series of reports based on Canadian data from the 2012 Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies.  Other series reports can be accessed at

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