Understanding Literacy

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.

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 Training, Colleges and Universities 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 Find A Program page.