Pacific Immigrant Resources Society

Pacific Immigrant Resources Society wins top place in the Canada Life Literacy Innovation Award

ABC Life Literacy Canada (ABC) is pleased to announce the top and honourable mention winners of the 2021 Canada Life Literacy Innovation Award (LIA). The annual award recognizes organizations that develop and implement innovative adult literacy skills programs in communities across Canada.

The LIA top award will be given to Pacific Immigrant Resources Society along with $20,000, which the organization can use towards future programming. In addition to the top winner, four honourable mention winners will each receive $5,000.

Each of the winners have demonstrated that their program has made a positive contribution to the lives of their adult learners as well as the community, and also serves as a model for other organizations to adapt.

“We were so thrilled to see all of the amazing submissions this year and to read about the tremendous impact that the literacy field is having on the lives of Canadians,” says Elizabeth Robinson, Director of Programs at ABC Life Literacy Canada. “We are very grateful to Canada Life for their ongoing support of this award, which helps the literacy field continue their great work to help adult learners improve their literacy skills and provides an opportunity to share best practices in the community.”

Since its inception in 2012, 50 LIAs have been awarded to literacy organizations across the country (10 top awards and 40 honourable mention awards), representing $400,000 in funding for the field.

“We’re proud to help ABC Life Literacy Canada recognize these dedicated community organizations for the work they’re doing to improve adult literacy skills and equip learners across Canada for future success,” said Debbie Down, Director, Community Relations at Canada Life. “The Canada Life Literacy Innovation Award is about recognizing the need for these programs and the positive impact they make in their communities. Congratulations to Pacific Immigrant Resources Society and each of the honourable mention winners.”

Pacific Immigrant Resources Society will be presented the LIA in October during a virtual event. The award presentation followed by a moderated discussion will showcase all 2021 LIA winners as models for best practice in the literacy sector. Register for the virtual event.

TOP WINNER, receiving $20,000

Pacific Immigrant Resources Society, Vancouver, BC

Program: Trauma-Informed Community English Class for Immigrant and Refugee Women

The program is designed to meet the needs of immigrant and refugee women with low English levels who are new to Canada, and with low income. Most families have several children and cannot afford childcare, which means that women take care of children at home. The Program aims to provide an environment that is safe, welcoming, and accessible (regardless of immigration status) that addresses women’s needs, with convenient location(s), and childcare to facilitate learning.

This program supports the development of basic and intermediate English for use in community interactions, builds awareness of and connection to available community resources so immigrant and refugee women can learn about, access, and successfully navigate the services they need to address settlement issues. It also aims to foster connections and nurture relationships amongst participants in order to build a sense of community, build cross-cultural awareness, and reduce isolation.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS, receiving $5,000 each

Canada Learning Code, Toronto, ON

Program: Digital Skills for Entrepreneurship

The Digital Skills for Entrepreneurship program is designed to teach learners basic digital skills that will allow them to pursue their business idea or grow their existing business. By the end of the course, learners are able to apply foundational skills in their everyday life, create an online presence for their business, and become a part of a network of small businesses in their community. The objective is to support learners with digital literacy basics; from opening a web browser, understanding social media, to using collaboration tools like Google Sheets to manage a budget. Learners are introduced to digital tools for branding and marketing their business.

Centre for Family Literacy, Edmonton, AB

Program: Family Book Club

The Family Book Club aims to encourage families of all literacy levels to take part. Centre for Family Literacy provides families with Literacy Kits filled with books, craft materials and learning activities – everything they’ll need to take part in the program. Facilitators guide participants through the shared reading of a book, and everyone is encouraged to read a part of the book out loud. Following this is an open discussion about the book, crafts and some writing activities. The goal is to foster shared literacy experiences between family members, focusing on the adult, and using content that is relevant to all the families in the program to help them reach their goals. The adults become co-developers in their learning and it really becomes meaningful to them.

Construction Association of PEI, Charlottetown, PE

Program: Youth in Trades 

Youth in Trades provides cohorts an eight-week classroom experience followed by a 14-week on-the-job work placement in a trade profession of each participant’s choice. Over the course of the eight-week class, cohorts are tasked with honing a select group of key employability and life skills by way of an array of both individual and group-oriented exercises that emphasizes the necessity of document use, numeracy and literacy. Participants engage in activities that underscore the significance of Essential Skills. Acquiring exposure is a vital step in preparing participants for the day-to-day realities of the work world.

Project READ Literacy Network, Waterloo-Wellington, Kitchener, ON

Program: Get Set Learn Family Literacy Peer Program

Get Set Learn Family Literacy Peer Program is designed to engage adult learners who are parents on a peer-to-peer level to further program outcomes and to provide an opportunity for adult learners (peers) to learn and gain valuable skills. In the peer position, former program participants are trained to take leadership roles to support families and enhance literacy activities which help to raise the literacy levels of both parent and child. The program gives peers, who receive Ontario Works and/or live in poverty, the opportunity to build the skills and experience they need to go on to further education, training and/or employment.