Category Archives: COVID-19

Literacy and Pandemic Recovery

Nearly half of adult Canadians struggle with literacy — and that’s bad for the economy

In this CBC article and podcast the importance of literacy is highlighted in terms of our recovery from the impact of the pandemic.  “Nearly half of Canada’s population has a big roadblock ahead of them when it comes to post-pandemic economic recovery — and it’s not the novel coronavirus but a fundamental set of skills for daily life.” 

The article points out that “it’s important to recognize that low literacy doesn’t mean a lack of skills.” (Monica Das)  This is such an important point!

This article includes a great story of someone who left a 30 year career in truck driving.  “At the age of 48, Piché decided to go back to school to become a social worker after overcoming significant setbacks in his life — including mental illness and addiction.”

The support available through LBS programs is critical.  It’s important to note that we all get a bit rusty.  “In short, literacy is not like riding a bike. While Canadians tend to leave the high school level with these skills, it takes practice to retain them.”

Workers with lower levels of education have been among the hardest hit during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Labour Market Information Council. Jobs requiring high school or on-the-job training saw the greatest drop in employment. Except for occupations that require university credentials, employment levels in November 2020 were still below their pre-pandemic level. Volatile Employment in 2020 for Jobs With Lower Educational Requirements

What’s more, nearly half of Canada’s population struggle with literacy which has a significant impact on the economy. (CBC) “Generally speaking, we’re below average compared to other OECD [Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development] countries in terms of adult literacy, numeracy skills,” said Michael Burt, an economist with the Conference Board of Canada.

For years literacy has been the base for building a successful work life. With the increased need for digital literacy and skilled workers, this need just continues to grow. As the skills required for employment change, literacy is becoming even more important for finding and keeping a job.

If you would like more information about adult training programs in the LOCS region, including City of Kawartha Lakes, Haliburton, Hastings, Northumberland, and Peterborough, visit our programs page or contact Carrie at


Ontario Nonprofit Network talks to Literacy Ontario Central South

In the fall of 2020 the Ontario Nonprofit Network (ONN) interviewed Carrie Wakeford, Executive Director of Literacy Ontario Central South (LOCS) and Stacey McQuoid a LOCS Board Member and Program Coordinator at the Trenton office of Community Learning Alternatives (CLA), to learn how LBS organizations in the region came together to support each other during the pandemic. 

We continue to offer support for learners and volunteers and we continue to connect with our community partners.  We support and learn from each other as we move programs online.  We meet often to share creative ideas for addressing challenges created by COVID-19.  We try to ask “What can we do” rather than focusing on what we can’t do!  

To learn more, see the ONN Blog Post: Fostering organizational resilience and innovation in times of crisis: Literacy Ontario Central South

LOCS would also like to thank Stacey for creating a video introducing the LOCS region and outlining the LBS supports and services in place during the pandemic. 

Click on the image to watch: 

COVID-19 Resources

The following is a list of COVID-19 related resources provided to LOCS by partners.  Please email any resources you would like to share to:

A Guide To Pandemic Preparedness For Businesses – The Centre for Workforce Development

Post-Pandemic Business Resumption Checklist

Post-Pandemic Business Playbook

IHSA Guidance on in Class Training During COVID-19 PDF

CCOHS Business Continuity PDF

How to Develop a Workplace Safety Plan

OCC Pandemic Preparedness Toolkit for COVID-19 PDF

Chamber Pandemic Preparedness Guide 

Peterborough Chamber Business Resources for Recovery

WSPS Pandemic Preparedness Checklist PDF

WSPS Pandemic Recovery Return to Business Checklist PDF

Resources to Prevent COVID-19 in the Workplace

Reopening FAQs – AlphaPlus

Resources for Learners, Practitioners and Parents – AlphaPlus

Video: Getting Back to Work – Health Canada

Conference Board Return to Work Survey Results

Interviews with a Lawyer: LinkedIn Videos

Furlough in Canada

The Return to Work

Can Work Take my Temperature


Every organization will have different needs and will be developing their own reopening policies and procedures and creating their own safety protocols and plans. However, sharing information can help identify best practices.

The following are not recommendations, only a summary of ideas gathered through community discussions.

Purchases: Purchasing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as a group to save costs.  Search for local PPE suppliers.  Supplies may include masks, face shields, desk and table shields, hand sanitizer, thermometers, gloves, directional arrows, and circles for the floor. Seek out funding for PPE if needed.  

Onsite: Appointment only; one-to-one meetings only; existing clients only and/or one learner/client in the office at a time. Close waiting room or have one person in the waiting room at a time.  Designated meeting rooms; meeting in group rooms not small offices; removing or limiting access to onsite computers. Provide information when scheduling appointments so people arrive with information about policies around length of stay, food/lunch, socializing, as well as the organization’s mask policy.  This will help avoid surprises and disappointments. Mounting a TV or computer screen on the wall so two people can see the screen from a distance.  Have a press release ready. Contact public health for more information.

Planning:  Develop a screening checklist to use when scheduling an appointment and using the same checklist when people arrive for their appointment. Have a ‘sign in form’ with name, date and contact information in the event you need to reach people quickly. Role playing ‘visitors to the office’ as a team so issues can be addressed before the official opening. Develop scripts.  Ensure everyone has information and forms so there is consistency. Have plans to address misunderstandings.  Some organizations have accessed the services of a consultant to help develop and assess the re-opening plans and procedures. 

Staffing: Opening in stages and setting rotating staff schedules. Mandatory masks in common areas. Surveying staff to identify personal needs and concerns.  

Cleaning Protocols: Cleaning washrooms after each use; cleaning common areas; setting a cleaning schedule and posting a tracking form.  Plan for the small details e.g. managing things like used pens or keyboards.



COVID-19 and remote learning

Highlighting this resource from the AlphaPlus LBS site:

If you are wondering if your students and learners are ready for online learning, you can use this questionnaire as a template to find out. Sandra Martinez from Centennial College LBS kindly shared this with us so that we could share it with you.

We are not suggesting that LBS programs in Ontario start distance learning programs (eChannel is doing this and is accepting new learners) and but these collections may have some good information for programs temporarily connecting remotely with learners. If you find a resource here that is particularly useful to you, get in touch and let us know how you are using it so we can highlight it here.

COVID-19: New website provides resources for LBS programs

Our friends at AlphaPlus have been hard at work over the past couple of days pulling together resources for LBS. They have created a website to support you and your program that includes:

  • General announcements and updates from the government and LBS programs
  • Links to information about COVID-19
  • Tips and tools to support working from home – ideas for connecting online and via mobile apps, setting up online courses, sharing and managing content, even sending out texts from computer 
  • Resources for learners to help them access online learning resources while they don’t have access to on-site programs.

You can find the site here: