Did You Know? (Source: Statistics Canada)

  • 1 in 7 or 15% of adult Canadians 16 years+  are in the lowest level of literacy (Level 1)
  • 27% of Canadians are in Level 2
  • 1 in 4 or 24% of adults in Waterloo-Wellington 16 years and over fall in the lowest levels of literacy
  • There are 5 levels of literacy, Level 3 is considered the level required to fully participate in today’s knowledge-based economy. The results of the latest literacy survey will be published in 2013
  • Ontario will see 42% growth in adults in Levels 1 & 2 over the next 30 years
  • 30% of high school students leave school without a diploma (Ontario Government, May 2008)
  • 1 out of 3 Canadian employers experience basic skills-related problems with their workforce, yet less than 1 out of 10 employers are involved in literacy programs
  • A prime indicator of a child’s future literacy skills is the level of literacy attained by their parents
  • 1 in 4 adults can’t read dosages and directions on over-the-counter or prescription medicines
  • Low literate adults are 2.5 times more likely to experience unemployment compared to those at Level 3 +
  • Canadians with Level 1 literacy experience daily challenges such as: trouble filling out a catalogue order form; difficulties following dosage instructions on medicine; completing a job application form; using online banking; completing the online application for Employment Insurance; and reading health and wellness information

“Using the Ontario Ministry of Finance data, the projected shortfall in the availability of workers is shown to rise to at least 200,000 and as high as 1.8 million by 2031, depending on our levels of population growth.” “Using a variety of Canadian and U.S. estimates, it is concluded that by 2031 we will need 77% of our workforce to have post-secondary credentials . . .”  – Source: People Without Jobs, Jobs Without People, Dr. R. Miner, February 2010

Who is Low Literate?

In 2008, Canadian Council on Learning analysed the literacy survey statistics to identify who is found in the lowest levels of literacy. There are over 6 million people and growing over next 30 years – both men and women. This information helps adult literacy upgrading design programs for the needs of these target groups.

6 Major Groups by size of group (largest to smallest):

  1. Majority Canadian born, English mother tongue, under 45, 39% have some post-secondary education, most have high school, employed, very negative attitudes to computers
  2. Majority Canadian born, English mother tongue, all ages, ⅓ have some post-secondary education, 28% high school, employed, negative attitudes to computers
  3. Born outside Canada, Other mother tongue, over 46, majority completed or have some high school, 82% employed, very negative to computers
  4. Born outside Canada, Other mother tongue but English speaking, older, little formal education, less positive attitudes to computers
  5. Canadian born, English mother tongue, under 35, over ½ have not completed high school, majority employed, positive attitudes to computers
  6. Canadian born, English mother tongue, 16 – 25, majority completed high school, only 23% employed, very negative to computers