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Canada celebrates Essential Skills Day


Last week marked the 10th annual Essential Skills Day.

The Canadian government has a framework called the essential skills framework that focuses in on nine essential skills: reading, document use, numeracy, writing, oral communications, working with others, thinking, digital technology and continuous learning.

Mack Rogers, executive director at ABC Literacy Canada, said celebrating essential skills is about getting people to think and talk about skills.

ABC Literacy Canada is national charity based in Toronto. Rogers they have two primary goals. The first one is raising awareness about literacy and essential skills. Rogers said the second goal is about creating programs that they then share with the community for free.

“Essential skills are the foundational skills we have, to not only succeed in our work, but also to help us make good life choices and to have the competence to ask questions and continue to adapt to a changing world,” Rogers said.

Valley Adult Learning Association (VALA) in Fort Frances offers courses to enhance essential skills to help people fulfill their life goals.

Kim Redford, literacy instructor at VALA, said VALA offers people a place where they can upgrade their skills and find support in reaching their goals.

“Essential skills are important because it is what our government has deemed critical in order to be at your best and be most successful in our Canadian economy,” Redford said. “If you want to go out there and you want to get a job and succeed in a Canadian marketplace, then those essential skills are a critical piece to that.”

Redford added that they offer courses depending on what the individual’s goal is.

“If their goal is to move into post-secondary, then they might take some classes to get them ready and prepared for the learning environment that they might be facing,” Redford said.

The five goal paths that VALA can help achieve are employment, post-secondary, secondary school credit, independence and apprenticeship.

Due to COVID-19, VALA is currently only offering cricket and Excel. However, they do have a whole slate of online personal interest classes that are being run through their agency.

Rogers said there are also downloadable free resources on their website.

“They can order the paper copies when they have in-class workshops. All to support them in delivering learning for low-literacy learners, so learners who got disengaged from the learning world. It is about creating introductory models,” Rogers said.

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