The Workplace/Workforce Literacy Symposium Report
Anette Chawla, executive director of the Ontario Literacy Coalition, opened the symposium:
Good morning and welcome to the Ontario Literacy Coalition’s Workplace and Workforce Literacy symposium.
I am delighted that you have all decided to be part of the symposium and to contribute to the further development of workplace and workforce literacy in Ontario.
Literacy for work has gone through various life cycles in Ontario. Most recently, the government’s focus has been on improving the ability of literacy programs to serve adult students who have employment goals. Yet literacy in the workplace has not received much concerted attention since the mid-1990s.
The Ontario Literacy Coalition sees this symposium as a new beginning. We want to build on the experiences from the 1990s, on current initiatives in workforce literacy and on the best approaches from other jurisdictions.
All of you hold a piece of what we believe is necessary to bring about renewed partnerships in Ontario for the betterment of workplace literacy and for literacy agencies to deliver top notch service to students.
To be successful, we all need to come together for the benefit of literacy learners, workers, businesses, unions and society. This is echoed in the results from the recent Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey (ALL) put out by Statistics Canada.
ALL is a wake up call for all of us that too many Canadians don’t have the literacy foundation they need to meet the demands of today’s knowledge society. There is a lot at stake, for individuals, for employers and for Canada as a whole. It is time for action! We want to ensure that people can live full lives – at work, and also at home and in the community.