News Release Article from  Employment and Social Development Canada

Archived - Government of Canada launches Call for Proposals to improve literacy and essential skills

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Ottawa, Ontario, April 11, 2013—The Government of Canada today launched a national Call for Proposals to create a pan-Canadian network focused on improving the literacy and essential skills of Canadians. The announcement was made by Dr. Kellie Leitch, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour, at the 16th Annual Skills Manitoba Competition. 

“Skills and labour shortages are Canada’s most important socio-economic challenge and the greatest potential threat to our competitiveness,” said Dr. Leitch. “The organizations selected under this call for proposals will help ensure Canadians have the literacy and essential skills needed to participate in Canada’s labour force.” 

Through this Call for Proposals, the Office of Literacy and Essential Skills is inviting organizations to submit proposals for projects that together, will form a pan-Canadian network that is focused on improving skills of Canadians with lower literacy and essential skills levels. 

Dr. Leitch also spoke about new measures in Economic Action Plan 2013 to connect Canadians with available jobs and equip them with the skills and training they need. These include the Canada Job Grant, creating opportunities for apprentices and providing support to under-represented groups such as persons with disabilities, youth, Aboriginal peoples and newcomers. 

The Call for Proposals is open until May 24, 2013. For more detailed information, please click here.

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The Office of Literacy and Essential Skills 

In 2007, the Government of Canada created the Office of Literacy and Essential Skills to provide adult Canadians with the knowledge and skills they need to enter and succeed in the job market. 

Through the Office of Literacy and Essential Skills, the Government works in partnership with provincial and territorial governments, employers and community organizations to provide Canadians with the tools and resources they need to take advantage of job opportunities for themselves and their families, contribute to their families and communities and share in the country’s prosperity. 

Through the Call for Proposals announced on April 11, 2013, the Office of Literacy and Essential Skills will provide up to $5 million annually in funding for the pan-Canadian network to support projects that are focused on improving the skills of Canadians with lower literacy and essential skills levels and that fulfill one or more of the following functions: information, connection, innovation and research. 

The Call for Proposals is open until May 24, 2013. 

For more information about the Office of Literacy and Essential Skills, visit 

Levels of literacy: 

Level 1—Very poor literacy skills

An individual at this level may, for example, be unable to determine from a package label the correct amount of medicine to give a child. 

Level 2—A capacity to deal only with simple, clear material involving uncomplicated tasks

People at this level may develop everyday coping skills, but their poor literacy skills make it hard to conquer challenges such as learning new job skills. 

Level 3—Adequate to cope with the demands of everyday life and work in an advanced society

This roughly denotes the skill level required for successful high school completion and college entry.

Levels 4 and 5 —Strong skills.

Individuals at these levels can process information of a complex and demanding nature. 

The nine essential skills:

1. Reading
2. Document Use
3. Numeracy
4. Writing
5. Oral Communication
6. Working with Others
7. Thinking
8. Computer Use
9. Continuous Learning

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