Why is this research important?

Currently, Canada has no Literacy and Essential Skills (LES) data or much research regarding businesses in the manufacturing sector. This information is crucial for individual manufacturing businesses in the second largest Canadian industrial sector in order to modernize and to compete globally. This project will be a first attempt to fill this gap. 

This research will examine

The Relationship between the:

Literacy and Essential Skills Levels of Workers All employees will have their literacy and essential skills assessed to determine their levels within the participating businesses. The following four essential skills will be measured:

 Literacy  Numeracy  Computer Skills  Continuous Learning


Business Performance of Manufacturing Businesses The research will gather data from the participating businesses for the years 2011, 2012 and 2013 on the following Business Success Indicators to measure the performance of manufacturing businesses:














Literacy & Essential Skills

The 9 essential skills are:

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Numeracy
  • Document Use
  • Oral Communication
  • Working with Others
  • Thinking
  • Computer Use
  • Continuous Learning

Importance of Essential Skills

4 out of 10 working Canadians do not have the literacy skills needed to participate in the knowledge economy.

Percentage of employers seeing the following 4 skills as lacking in recently hired workers (Conference Board of Canada, 2013):

  • Over 40% noted reading
  • Over 30% cited Continuous Learning
  • Fewer than 30% noted Computer Skills
  • Over 20% cited Numeracy 


Literacy Performance

Canadian workers’ DECREASING LITERACY PERFORMANCE between 2003 and 2012:

  • From an average of 280 in 2003, down to an average of 273 in 2012; both average scores were at Level 3. 

Numeracy Performance

Canadian workers’ DECREASING NUMERACY PERFORMANCE between 2003 and 2012:

  • From an average of 272 in 2003, it fell to 266 in 2012 below the OECD average of 269 (Statistics Canada, ESDC, CMEC and PIAAC, 2013)


Canadian Manufacturing Sector Performance

In 2003, 3.8 million low-literacy workers (levels 1 and 2) were concentrated in 5 sectors with the highest number (1,110,000) being in the manufacturing sector.

Low and medium-low technology manufacturing industries had the lowest literacy and numeracy score of all industries in 2012.