Description of the project

The Literacy, Essential Skills and Business Performance of Enterprises national project aims to provide evidence for management decisions regarding investments in literacy and essential skills (LES) in small manufacturing businesses.

Project Objectives

  1. Increase knowledge and available information regarding the quality of human capital in the small-business manufacturing sector by developing a profile of the sector based on the direct measures of the LES of their workers and by comparing it internationally and nationally, so that the potential for competitiveness can be assessed.
  2. Increase business and employer knowledge of the effects of improving the LES of workers on identified indicators of business performance.
  3. Increase empirical knowledge on “what works” to improve LES of adult workers in their places of work.
  4. Increase the capacity of small and medium manufacturing enterprises (SMEs) and the 269 member corporations of the Community Futures Network of Canada by providing access to a tool that will indicate the need and time for future investments in the LES of an enterprise’s workforce with the aim of maximizing business performance.

Project Organization

Profile of Businesses

Manufacturing businesses are targeted

  • In all Canadian province
  • Including businesses in some Official Language Minority Communities (within Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick)


A Support Agent to assist the Businesses

In each province, the project will partner with local organizations that are part of the Community Futures Network of Canada who will name a Support Agent responsible to:

  • Recruit the businesses
  • Coordinate research activities within the businesses


Project Materials

  • ALL project research and administrative tools will be in a DIGITAL format and ONLINE for easy and flexible access and use by the businesses
  • Participating businesses will have free-of-charge access to their own secure section to view their Interactive Business Profile and other tools


Business Selection Criteria

  • Businesses of any size, with any number of employees, can participate. (However, the project generally aims to recruit companies of 20 employees or more.)
  • A seasonal business is eligible to participate providing that:

It is in operation (partial or full production) for a minimum of 9 months out of the year; and a core group of seasonal workers has been working for the company since at least 2010.

  • To participate, a company MUST:
    • Be a manufacturing business since at least 2010
    • Have had the same type of operations from year to year since at least 2010 
    • Confirm it will participate in all project activities
    • Have records on file for the years 2011, 2012 and 2013 for the following:


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