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annual report 2011/2012


Message from the Board Chair “From Vision to Impact”, the title of this year's annual report, quite literally describes CLLN's path over the last year. The vision - the result of comprehensive assessment of the organization, in order to respond to an altered, much more complex literacy landscape - has taken a few years to make its way to impact. This year we are demonstrating decisively, as a board and staff, under the leadership of our new President and CEO, Lindsay Kennedy, that we have evolved this organization, and we have done so in order to continue to be relevant and passionate proponents of lifelong learning for all Canadians. Changes we are implementing are aimed at the ways in which we work and communicate with each other, our communities, partners, funders, policy-makers, opinion leaders and other stakeholders. Most importantly, changes to the organization aren’t changes in direction. On the contrary, our values and mission are still grounded in the knowledge that literacy is a social justice issue, that literacy is a human right, that being literate means that you have a voice and can be

heard. Articulating and evidencing that literacy is also an economic issue, is a new addition to this catalogue that allows us to communicate the pressing issues of basic skills development to an even broader set of stakeholders. CLLN can be proud that it is now better positioned in the literacy landscape than it has been in some time. Stabilized as an organization – from governance to a highly motivated and extremely experienced staff team, and consistently expanding our network, we have undoubtedly stepped back up to take the lead as Canada's national Literacy and Essential Skills experts and agents of change. I am pleased to present this annual report – a record of a truly remarkable year.

Janet Lane, CLLN Board Chair

After many years with CLLN, this year finds me in a new role – that of President and CEO. Having been part of the fundamental and definitional work of developing a new strategic plan with CLLN's board and its members in the past, I now have the privilege to take this organization to the next level – that of implementing the blueprint. Setting out with three clear goals early in the year: expansion of the network; bringing new voices to the table; and re-shaping CLLN's board to maximize skills of board members and align them with CLLN's strategic vision, I am happy to report that we are well on our to achieving them. Rebranding CLLN, while at times challenging, has made us more focused, more coherent, more integrated, more connected and definitely more aligned with our long-term direction and with our ultimate goals. Far from starting from scratch, we continue to do what we do best: developing relationships and partnerships, communicating and convening in order to be at the cutting edge. This is our role as an effective national leader of the L/ES community. We are building a durable, yet versatile architecture that will allow us to achieve our strategic directions – to interact, inform, influence and build knowledge and expertise – as we strengthen learning as a fundamental component of Canadian culture.

skills gaps and labour shortages. We will be filling a distinct gap in information about who delivers L/ES training to Canadians. The survey of 3000 trainers, teachers and practitioners across the country, both anglophone and francophone, will allow us and our partners to be better at facilitating the network of the L/ES practitioner community, expanding knowledge and expertise in and of the field, as well as moving towards the standardization and professionalization of L/ES delivery in Canada. CLLN's Literacy and Earnings project, in particular the latest report in the series, “Investing in Upskilling”, is making some waves around government – federal, as well as provincial/territorial – and business circles. Its remarkable findings, namely that, if we shift dollars from income support to quality adult education, governments and communities would not only save money, but actually increase revenue, are leading to further dialogue, and bringing the cause of the adult learner to the forefront. We have been able to successfully communicate our issues in much wider circles, moving the dire need for basic skills development to the top of many agendas.

Our many highlights and achievements are recorded on the following pages, but let me point out two key projects that have been pivotal work in the past year and that are evidence of CLLN making impact:

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported CLLN through the last few years, and continued to believe in our mandate and principles and seen the value of this organization. At CLLN we are committed to continuing the journey we have set for ourselves – that of making Canada a place of lifelong learning to benefit individuals, communities and the nation.

Early in 2012 we received funding from OLES to conduct the first ever labour market study of the literacy and essential skills workforce, and with that, an acknowledgement from government and policy makers that this workforce is important in times of

Lindsay Kennedy, CLLN President and CEO

Message from the President

CLLN Board & Staff ExECuTIVE Chair:

Janet Lane PTC* Committee (Literacy Alberta)


Kim Crockatt PTC Committee (Ilitaqsiniq - Nunavut Literacy Council)


Ningwakwe George, Member at Large


Fiona Murray, Member at Large

BOARd MEMBERS Patricia Ashie, CALL** Vice Chair (Essential Skills Ontario) Wendy Bulloch, PTC Committee (Literacy Partners of Manitoba) Ellen Szita, CALL Chair (Decoda Literacy Solutions) Caroline Vaughan, PTC Committee (Literacy Newfoundland and Labrador) Chris Whitaker, Member at Large *Provincial and Territorial Coalitions Committee **Committee of Adult Literacy Learners

STAFF Judy Cavanagh - Interim President and CEO (until December 2011) Chris Harwood - Manager of Field Development Annette Hegel - Manager of Communications Melanie Karalis - Research and Communication Assistant Lindsay Kennedy - President and CEO Tony Mark - Project Manager (Labour Market Study) Alyson Reid - Office Manager Pat Sample - Administrative Assistant Genevieve Tilden - Research and Communication Assistant Katy Kydd Wright - Manager of Partnerships and Research Henschel Business Services Inc - Bookkeeping CLLN gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Government of Canada's Office of Literacy and Essential Skills (OLES)/HRSDC for core and project funding. We also express our appreciation for the funds received from project partnerships, membership fees and donations.

Increasing literacies and essential skills across Canada, Canadian Literacy and Learning Network is the national hub for research, information and knowledge exchange. We are proud to be an integral part of a diverse and dynamic national network of provincial and territorial literacy and essential skills organizations: our members. Our members raise the awareness of the importance of Literacy and Essential Skills with stakeholders and partners, sharing information about the state of literacy in their provinces and territories.

They make connections to maximize resources and minimize duplication, prepare environmental scans and develop action plans to address issues. They provide leadership, not only in their provinces and territories, but also nationally, when they come together as the network. They connect to service providers in order to facilitate collaboration, research, and professional development sessions for employers and adult educators. And last, but not least, our members support learners and practitioners in their efforts to improve Literacy and Essential Skills.

They promote accessible literacy and essential skills programs for all who need them and collaborate with others in order to support learning and find solutions.

Saskatchewan Literacy Network Literacy and Learning for Life

Our National Network


Close to 10 million Canadian adults do not have the literacy and essential skills to fully participate in all aspects of civic life. Canadian industry experiences skills gaps and labour shortages. To add to that, the bar for functional literacy is getting set higher all the time. Ultimately, everything CLLN works for, is to impact the adult learner, be it the individual in a community literacy program or Canada as a whole, embracing a culture of self-directed, lifelong learning.

Canadian Adult Learners’ Week 2012 CLLN, in collaboration with the RESDAC, rolled out a full national campaign, complete with posters, an interactive web-environment and a community group tool-box.

Learner Focus Group: Workplace Literacy and Essential Skills Learners As part of CLLN’s Learner Engagement Strategy, CLLN facilitated a discussion among a group of adults who had participated in workplace/workforce education and training during the bi-annual national network meetings. The focus group participants were gathered from across Canada. The outcome of the session was to inform policy development at CLLN from the consumer or client perspective.


As champions for literacy and essential skills, we know that literacy is a key factor in determining an individual’s labour market outcomes. Over the past 18 months, CLLN has been engaged in a series of research projects exploring the economic impacts of literacy - on individuals as well as the greater economy.The result is a substantial body of work that provides new insights based on current data.

Reports The reports illustrate the opportunities for individuals, business and government that open up when investing in upskilling Canada’s workforce. Approaching the issue from a variety of angles, these reports are proving a useful tool to communicate to new audiences.

Panel discussions It is important to take the conversation of investment in literacy and essential skills out into the bigger world - this is part education, part engagement. These events have given CLLN the opportunity to collaborate with other networks and create new partnerships.


Tirelessly delivering programming across Canada in thousands of communities, in schools, colleges or community literacy organizations, L/ES professionals often work in isolation. There is little time left in the day of a practitioner to network and share best practices. CLLN is making space to collect, store and disseminate meaningful information about this workforce and their experience.

Occupational Task Profiles

Through comprehensive research and key informant interviews CLLN established a panCanadian snapshot of the wide-ranging competencies of the literacy and essential skills workforce. The report has been widely disseminated, nationally and internationally, in print and digitally. To date, Chris Harwood has shared the findings of the report with workshop participants in Ontario and Manitoba

Pan-Canadian Forum for L/ES Workforce

CLLN identified the need for a space in which to debate issues that affect the field. We have been experimenting with an online practitioner forum using Moodle and so far about 60 people have enrolled from coast to coast across Canada. The varied backgrounds of L/ES educators and others involved in the L/ES field have led to some interesting questions and discussions about position titles, mentorship and professional development. The responses have been thoughtful and thought-provoking.

Labour Market Study of Literacy and Essential Skills Workforce The first of its kind, CLLN’s workforce labour market study (LMS) will survey practitioners of L/ES on issues related to working conditions, employment and income as well as on professional background, work experience and expertise. A much clearer picture of these professionals allows CLLN and its partners to effectively facilitate a network of the L/ES practitioner community, develop the building of knowledge and expertise in and of the field, as well as move towards the standardization and professionalization of L/ES delivery in Canada. With project funding from OLES, CLLN has contracted the Social Research and Demonstration Corporation (SRDC), to conduct the survey. In addition, an advisory committee comprised of multi-sector representatives from across Canada, is guiding CLLN and the LMS throughout the process, providing critical perspective and a wealth of experience in order for the LMS to be as useful, representative and complete as possible.

Other activities this past year were: Complete visual re-branding of CLLN, Participation in CCC Skills Gaps roundtables, Presentations to Parliamentary Committees, State of the Field of Literacy and Essential Skills in Canada


Partners OLES

The Office of Literacy and Essential Skills (OLES) is focused on improving the literacy and essential skills of adult Canadians. In partnership with OLES, CLLN is part of the Centre of Excellence, developing and disseminating knowledge and tools to prepare Canada’s workforce for the challenges of the new economies.

Public Policy Forum The Public Policy Forum

(PPF) is an independent, not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of government in Canada through enhanced dialogue among the public, private and voluntary sectors. With PPF, CLLN is reaching deeper into the world of employers, engaging them in the dialogue about upskilling in the workplace.


The Social Research and Demonstration Corporation (SRDC) is recognized as a national leader in social research and experimentation. For two decades, SRDC has been building a knowledge base and learning what works in social policy,

as well as what does not work. With SRDC, CLLN has found a highly experienced partner to execute the national survey of the literacy and essential skills workforce.


ABC Life Literacy Canada connects and mobilizes business, unions, government, communities and individuals to support lifelong learning and achieve goals through leadership in programs, communications and partnerships. CLLN and ABC are collaborating on a major project to market the need for L/ES workplace training and its implementation as a business solution to small- and medium sized enterprises across Canada.

Centre for Literacy The Centre for Literacy is

a centre of expertise that supports best practices and informed policy development in Literacy and Essential Skills by creating bridges between research, policy and practice. CLLN partners with the Centre in learning events, such as institutes and workshops, action research projects and publications.


Le Réseau pour le développement de l’alphabétisme et des compétences (RESDAC) works to promote literacy as a right and also to improve the Literacy and Essential Skills of adult Francophone Canadians outside Quebec. CLLN partners with the RESDAC on many levels - from workshops and forums to the national promotion of Canadian Adult Learners’ Week. This partnership is especially important as it links the French and English literacy networks.


supports education around the world as a building block to well-functioning democracies and peaceful societies. It is a sound investment that helps nations and communities to develop economically and socially. UNESCO works to promote education as a fundamental right. It focuses on improving the quality of education, promoting gender equality, and stimulating experimentation, innovation and policy dialogue. CLLN has an ongoing dialogue with UNESCO, as well as partnering in the promotion of Canadian Adult Learners’ Week.

CuPEWith 618,000 members across

Canada, CUPE is Canada’s largest union, representing workers in health care, education, municipalities, libraries, universities, social services, public utilities, transportation, emergency services and airlines. CLLN and CUPE are working together to identify ways to build support for workplace learning and addressing learners’ needs. Other collaborators are: Council of Ministers of Education (CMEC) Canadian Chamber of Commerce The National Literacy Table Association of Canadian Community Colleges Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC)

LiteracyEXPRESS A quarterly newsletter that responds to issues relevant to the Literacy and Essential Skills Field with timely, in-depth analysis and information. This year’s issues were focused on Digital Literacy, Practitioners and L/ES in the Workplace.

Competencies: a Pan-Canadian Snapshot aka Occupational Task Profiles: Canadian Literacy and Essential Skills Workforce names the core competencies that key informants deemed to be essential. These can be useful when developing job descriptions for L/ES educators. The characteristics needed by L/ES educators are seen as part of their core competencies. As part of this snapshot CLLN has collected current samples of job descriptions from the key informants.

From Poverty to Prosperity: Literacy’s Impact on Canada’s Economic Success The authors of this report analyzed the most recent data to illustrate the impact of literacy skills on both the micro- and macro-economic

levels. The report explores whether there is evidence of a direct link between literacy skill and income level. Data relating to the ability to get a job, job retention and promotion, risk of job loss, length of time unemployed and rates of pay were examined. The report provides a summary of how literacy skill and low income are related, and what these relationships imply for public policy.

Learning to Earning: Linking Literacy and Poverty using IALS data on Earnings a literature review This literature review explores the relationship between literacy and poverty using data from the International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS). The IALS data provides extensive information about literacy and related factors such as employment, earnings, education and demographics that can be applied in the discussions of literacy and poverty. The focus on earnings, as opposed to other indicators of well-being, was mainly dictated by the scarcity of data explicitly linking literacy skill levels to other social outcomes. A series of research questions was created to guide the literature review.

Investing in upskilling: Getting to Workplace Gains for Individuals, Essentials fully revised and updated version of Employers and Government The “Getting to Workplace Essential Skills” is a Examining costs and savings associated with moving every Canadian with a Literacy Level 1 or 2 (on the international literacy scale) to Level 3, this analysis is based upon statistically matched data from the 2003 International Adult Literacy and Skills Survey and the 2005 – 2009 Surveys of Labour and Income Dynamics. The methods provide a mechanism to explore the relationships between benefit receipt and literacy skill.

State of the Literacy and Essential Skills Field in Canada 2012 For the first time those interested in the Field and beyond have a comprehensive document to refer to when looking to get a solid overview of Literacy and Essential Skills in Canada. Painstakingly researched, supported by CLLN’s national network members’ environmental scans, as well reviewing all current resources available, this report will be the baseline for future editions to come.

slide presentation to increase literacy awareness, knowledge about literacy and essential skills and/or literacy programs for employers, as well as training workplace educators. This presentation is available online with presenters’ notes.

The Big Picture - Literacy in Canada The fully revised and updated version of “The Big Picture” provides an overview of Literacy in Canada, Literacy Facts, Challenges and Barriers, and information about CLLN. It is a popular training tool for both literacy professionals and volunteers. This presentation is available online with presenters’ notes.

All CLLN publications are available online and are licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.


Looking Ahea LITERACy ANd EARNINGS PROjECT Roundtables CLLN – in partnership with Canada’s Public Policy Forum – will conduct a series of roundtables with policymakers, employers and labour stakeholders to further investigate the significant returns on investment – both, monetary and social – into literacy and essential skills.

LITERACy PROFESSIONALS Survey and Analysis The large scale (3000 practitioners across Canada, Anglophone and Francophone) strategically designed survey will be distributed, collected, analyzed and reported on over the next year, with results expected in the fall of 2013.

LEARNERS National Forum In 2013, CLLN will be partnering with CUPE and an employer organization to identify what research and knowledge is available about learners in the workplace, including success indicators from workplace learners’ perspectives, gaps in workplace learning, and accommodating cultural, linguistic and racial diversity in workplace learning. This information will be sought through surveys and key informant interviews. A national forum will identify ways to build support for workplace learning and addressing learners’ needs.

Online Learner Survey The aim of this survey is to gather information about learning as an adult. The focus is on informal adult learning, related to interests and personal development, that adults participate in voluntarily rather than as a requirement of job or career. Experiences and the results from the survey will be used to build up CLLN’s knowledge about adult learning.


Building Solutions: Engaging Employers in Literacy and Essential Skills (L/ES) development for the Canadian Workforce This 24 month project is a joint endeavour between CLLN and ABC Life Literacy. The project will focus on activities and interactions that will increase awareness on the part of Canadian small, medium and large enterprises - in all regions of the country - of the need for L/ES workplace training and its implementation as a business solution. The project team will work to bring together the business sector and the adult literacy/essential skills sector in order to address workplace training gaps. The project will result in a specific action plan for business, labour and the L/ES sector and will identify national champions who can engage other employers moving forward.

digital Skills To scaffold the ongoing dialogue within our network on how to advance digital skills of learners of all levels, CLLN will compile an inhouse body of knowledge of digital skills/digital technology and its impact on L/ES. Through a review of published reports, key informant interviews, and data gathered from subject matter experts, CLLN will be able to provide capacity building opportunities to the national network members and others to increase their understanding of the importance of this trend.

The SROI of Literacy Still at the dawn of social financing models, CLLN is developing materials and activities that will build the capacity of the L/ES field to enable our network to gain access to these new funding sources. Issues to be addressed first: developing indicators and proxies, calculating SROI, and pay for performance initiatives. Other activities to come: Poverty to Prosperity Roundtables PIAAC task force

Total Revenues $ $ $ $ $

Revenue Sources 2012 Grants

Unrestricted Funds

Expenses $ $ $ $ $

Assets $ $ $ $

Liabilities & Net Assets $


The financials have been compiled from CLLN’s audited statements. Auditing services have been provided by Rheume Williams Kalbfleisch, LLP.



A detailed auditor’s report is available at:


From Vision to Impact: Annual Report 2011/12 Canadian Literacy and Learning Network  

annual report for the fiscal year 2011/2012 of Canadian Literacy and Learning Network (CLLN)

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