Canada Life Literacy Innovation Award

The Canada Life Literacy Innovation Award honours innovation in the development, implementation and delivery of adult literacy or adult-integrated family literacy programs delivered by a community organization in Canada. The adult-focused literacy program makes a positive contribution to the lives of the participants as well as the community, and could serve as a model for other organizations to adopt. 

The awards are as follows:

  • one (1) top award of $20,000
  • up to two (2) honourable mention awards in the amount of $10,000 each.

The awards as granted can be invested into the program and/or applied to operating funds.

The award winners agree to participate in ABC Life Literacy Canada-facilitated Innovation Learning Labs online webinars, to talk about their programs. Please note that application content and accompanying letters of recommendation may be used to create community/learner profiles for ABC’s e-newsletter. Winners will be notified by July 31, 2023.


  • Applicants must be a not-for-profit or registered charitable organization based in Canada
  • Nominated programs must:
    • focus on helping adults improve their literacy and essential skills
    • show demonstrated results (qualitative and quantitative) in helping Canadians live a fully engaged life
    • offer an educational training experience for adults, teaching skills that enhance their engagement in life, community, workplace and family
    • demonstrate innovation and creativity in adult literacy
    • be in existence for at least 12 months
    • be able to serve as a model for other communities in Canada
    • serve adults (ages 18 and up) as the primary recipients of the educational experience
  • Past award winners (either Top Award or Honourable Mentions) are welcome to submit other programs for consideration, but winning programs from past years will not be accepted.
  • Please note: if your program is not currently running due to COVID-19, it is still eligible for the award. Likewise, if you’ve had to make major changes to your innovative program to adapt to the changing situation, we want to hear about it!

How To Apply:

Submit your application via the online application form. You must include two (2) letters of support or impact statements. One of the two letters must be from a participant/learner in your program, but can be written with the help of your staff. The other letter of support could be from an external partner, volunteer or staff member involved with the program.

For more information, including tips on how to create a strong application, watch our webinar.

Deadline: Submissions are due by June 5, 2023 at 5:00pm EDT.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Download FAQs

If you have additional questions, please contact:

Ellie Tamura
Programs Specialist

Innovation Learning Labs

This year we’re hosting four Innovation Learning Labs, thanks to the support of Canada Life through the Canada Life Literacy Innovation Award. In each webinar we will discuss one topic that is important and relevant to the literacy field in 2023. Learn more.

2022 Top Award Winner: Receiving $20,000



Cooks With Stones

Cooks with Stones (CwS) celebrates the unique, traditional teachings of the Iyarhe Nakoda Eyithkabi, which means Mountain people of Nakoda (also known as Stoney Nakoda). The program builds literacy skills and supports meaningful job placements with any employer partner through traditional Stoney Skills and teachings and demonstrates how they relate to workplace success. CwS was created with the community as part of FESA’s Going the Distance Project to address the under representation of Indigenous populations in the labour force by supporting businesses in Tourism and Hospitality.

CwS builds the capacity of employer partners to recruit, mentor and retain Indigenous employees by building their cultural competencies, their understanding of mentorship, Indigenous culture in relation to the workplace, and of the role of literacy and essential skills (LES) in the workplace. The program is a collaborative effort to remove barriers to employment for Stoney youth and creates opportunities for employment in the Hospitality and Tourism sector in the Stoney region. Through CwS, participants not only improve their literacy and essential skills, but they also start with a foundation of Stoney culture, traditions, history, and learning from the land, and then are shown how their skills are transferrable to a non-Indigenous workplace.

2022 Honourable Mention Winners: Receiving $10,000 each



Inclusive Futures: Skilled Workforce Development in Nunavut


Stella’s Circle, St. John’s, NL


Stella’s Circle Adult Basic Education Level 1 (ABE)

About Our Sponsor:

Canada Life logoCanada Life has been a major supporter of ABC Life Literacy Canada since 1999. Through their involvement with ABC Life Literacy Canada and other national literacy programs across the country, they are helping promote literacy and lifelong learning – key needs in helping many Canadians realize their potential at work, at home and in the community.

As an Imagine Canada Caring Company, they’ve supported the principles of corporate citizenship and benchmarks for community investment established by Imagine Canada for more than three decades. In this time, they’ve contributed over $200 million in support of Canadian non-profit, charitable and community organizations.