Skills for Success Day shines light on important life skills for Canadians

Today marks Skills for Success Day (formerly Essential Skills Day), an annual initiative to raise awareness about the importance of the key skills needed for learning, work, and life. Founded in 2010 by ABC Life Literacy Canada, a national literacy organization, the day encourages Canadians to improve upon these important skills.

Skills for Success include skills that are foundational for building other skills and knowledge and important for effective social interaction. They overlap and interact with each other, and with other technical and life skills. These skills, which have been identified by the Government of Canada in response to an evolving labour market and changing skill needs, include: Reading, Writing, Numeracy, Digital, Problem Solving, Communication, Collaboration, Adaptability, Creativity and Innovation. To access free workbooks and tools that support the Skills for Success model, visit

Everyone benefits from having these skills. They help you to get a job, progress at your current job and change jobs. These skills also help you become an active member of your community and succeed in learning. Skills for Success are skills that help Canadians in a quickly changing world.

The Canadian workplace, labour market and economy continue to evolve as a result of automation, artificial intelligence, and other technological advancements. This kind of automation decreases the need for physical and manual skills while intensifying the need for social-emotional skills that are not easily replaced by computers. In addition to these social-emotional skills, math and numeracy continue to play a key role in an estimated 70 per cent of jobs, especially with the growth of data-driven processes and analytics.

“The Skills for Success have been identified at a crucial time when the workforce is changing and there are rapidly evolving skill requirements,” says Elizabeth Robinson, Programs Director at ABC Life Literacy Canada. “Employers are facing challenges finding workers with the right combination of social-emotional, digital and literacy skills, while workers need support to keep up with the changing skill demands of the modern labour market. The Skills for Success have come at the right time and it’s crucial that we use this day to shed light on the importance of these skills for all Canadians.”

In Canada, the number of people who struggle with literacy skills has increased to almost one in two during the past decade. As a result, these Canadians may be unable to meet the skills demands required in today’s workforce. Improving the skills of workers can have a major impact on business bottom lines. Furthermore, individuals who have these skills are more likely to have higher salaries, better overall health and higher levels of participation in their community.

“To ensure that our country has a strong skilled workforce, it is essential to inform youth about the importance of developing the Skills for Success they need to have for a rewarding career in the continuously evolving job market,” said Shaun Thorson, Chief Executive Officer, Skills/Compétences Canada. “Skills/Compétences Canada will be raising awareness of Skills for Success Day through their Back to School Campaign, where SCC’s partners will be highlighting how they use these skills in their skilled trade or technology.”

The Activate Learning project is funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Adult Learning, Literacy & Essential Skills Program.

To learn more about Skills for Success Day and to download free resources, visit