Facts and Research

Literacy and Numeracy in Canada is Declining and Only Action 
Will Reverse This Trend

  • Over the last 10 years, Canadian literacy rates have dropped: in 2003 we ranked above average compared to other 
    countries, we are now just average
  • Percentages of Canadians with below desired literacy and numeracy rates are staggering: 49% for literacy and 55% 
    for numeracy; this means almost 6 in 10 Canadians do not have the desired level of numeracy skills
  • In the 2013 OECD survey Canada is ranked eleventh in the world, behind the Slovak Republic, Estonia and Australia
  • Canadian youth (16 to 24 years) are under-performing in literacy compared to their OECD counterparts (Statics from 
    OECD PIAAC 2013 survey)

Essential Skills are Critical to Business Success

  • Essential skills training provides solutions for:
    • Changes in the business
    • Health and safety concerns
    • Paperwork completion and document-use challenges
    • Communication, teamwork, and leadership requirements
      (Advancing Workplace Learning study, 2013)
  • Essential skills are the building blocks for all other learning; they include: reading text, document use, writing, numeracy, 
    oral communication, computer use, thinking skills, working with others, and continuous learning
  • Essential skills proficiency is strongly linked to positive labour outcomes (employability and 
    earnings potential) (TD Economics Special Report Dec. 2013)

The Employment Landscape is Changing and Having Only
Average Skills Will Not Measure Up

  • The demand for well-educated workers is growing (up 19% since 1998) while the need of low-skilled workers is declining
    (down 11% since 1998) – Statistics Canada

Adult Learners Matter – Literacy Skills are
Directly Linked to Employment

From the 2013 OECD PIAAC survey


  • 80% of adults (ages 16 to 65) with the highest literacy levels were employed, versus only about 57% at lowest literacy levels
  • There was a noticeable increase in the employment rate even between individuals in Levels 1 and 2, the two 
    lowest proficiency levels. About 70% of individuals at Level 2 were employed

Business Case for Workplace Essential Skills Training – One Example

  • In a 2013 Social Research and Demonstration Corporation Pan-Canadian Study, 1,454 hotel industry workers received 20 hours of WLES training
    • Employers paid $2300 per employee and covered costs of missed shift
    • Employers received ROI of 27% (revenue gains of $2000 and savings of improved productivity of $1900
    • Employers saw increased customer satisfaction, room occupancy, and food and beverage sales

This study included the use of a control group so that the effects of LES training could be isolated and measured

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