Understanding Literacy

Below are short videos that MTML developed to help understand literacy:

Adult Literacy in Canada

How literacy or academic upgrading programs work?

Literacy Skills and Economic Impact

Impact of Literacy on Poverty Reduction

Impact of Financial Literacy on Society

Digital Literacy in the Digital Era

Connection between artificial intelligence and literacy

The Northern Literacy Network created the video below that talks about adult literacy and its benefits.

Understanding Literacy

We often think of literacy as only the ability to read and write with ease. In reality, the modern definition of literacy is much broader than this. Reading, writing, and numeracy are part of a larger set of Essential Skills that we use every day at work, at home, and in the community. Literacy includes computer and digital technology skills, oral communication, and more. It involves understanding and being able to use the information required in today’s society in order to achieve your goals, reach your potential and navigate more easily in daily life and at work.

Many people who could benefit from Literacy and Basic Skills upgrading programs do have some reading, writing and math skills. However they may lack the skills needed to cope with the changing demands of modern life and work environments. 

Community Literacy of Ontario's Literature Review

To help understand the impact and importance of the five soft skills, CLO partnered with Adaptimist Insights to review existing literature on the topic of soft skills training and its impact on adult education.

This literature review investigates best practices for incorporating psychoeducational programming into existing literacy programs. The objectives of the project are threefold:

1) to identify the key emotional and social deficits most associated with contemporary literacy challenges, 

2) to make recommendations about specific soft skill remediations that could improve literacy at both the individual and group levels, and 3) to identify the mechanics necessary to deliver such programming in the most efficient way possible

Canada’s Literacy Challenge

According to the International Adult Literacy Skills Survey (IALS), forty-two percent of Canadians have reading, writing, numeracy and essential skills below the level considered necessary for the demands of modern life and work.

Unlike many other industrialized countries, Canada does not have a national literacy strategy in place, and no federal government resources directly support literacy instruction programs. Literacy and skills upgrading programs are supported by provincial governments. In Ontario, these programs are generally funded by the Ministry of Labour, Immigration Skills Training and Development and run by community-based agencies, school boards, and colleges. In Toronto and York Region, these literacy and basic skills programs serve over 11,000 adults looking to develop or improve their skills. MTML provides support to these programs to help coordinate and promote LBS and ensure that people access the services and assistance they need.

To find a literacy or basic skills upgrading program in Toronto or York Region, visit our Programs page.

Adult Literacy Moving Forward Feb_1_2022 (1).docx

Moving Forward: The Role of Adult Literacy in Supporting Provincial Initiatives

Lead by Literacy Link South and  contributions by various LBS regional Networks across Ontario, the following report reflects on the essential role that Ontario’s Literacy and Basic Skills (LBS) programs can play in supporting citizens as they build their resiliency and reach their potential. 


Literacy and Essential Skills as a Poverty Reduction Strategy

Developed by Frontier College: The report’s key recommendation is that governments need to recognize literacy as not only a policy priority but a basic human right. Moreover, funders need to expand their thinking beyond support for single projects to include more comprehensive, integrated programs 

2022 Literacy and Mental Health Discussion Paper - ENG .pdf

Literacy and Mental Health

Discussion Paper 2022


Literacy and the Economy

Discussion Paper 2021


This white paper (2020) provides an overview for the development of the Adult Learner Model Framework.


MTML's Research Brief: The New Definition of Literacy: 2015

This research paper examines how the definition of adult literacy has evolved over time and what is contributing to these changes. We will talk about the implications of these new definitions and the importance of being a part of the conversation when definitions are made.

Finally, this paper will also include examples of how adult literacy is defined in comparable jurisdictions.