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 literacy programs in the LOCS region, including City of Kawartha Lakes, Haliburton, Hastings, Northumberland, and Peterborough, visit our programs page or contact Carrie at