Collection: Research Materials
This paper is one in a series of documents that offer plain-language summaries of a number of online research documents from Statistics Canada. It is part of a project carried out by the National Adult Literacy Database (NALD), with funding from the Canadian Council on Learning (CCL).
Here, the author looks at a report investigating the relationships between adult literacy skills and the use of information and communications technologies (ICTs), based on data from the 2003 Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey (ALL). That survey tested adults aged 16 to 65 years using the assessment model developed for the International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS) conducted between 1994 and 1998. ALL includes data for Canada, its provinces and territories, and for five other countries.
Statistics Canada found that patterns of Internet and computer access confirm the existence of digital divides both across and within the nations included in the ALL report. Factors such as age, gender, income, and levels of education and literacy proficiency were associated with individuals’ use of ICTs and could be used to predict whether or not a respondent would be a “high intensity” computer user.
An overview of provincial and territorial ICT use in Canada showed that the Western provinces, the territories, and Ontario emerged as leaders in ICT use, although the authors found that regional patterns of ICT use were complex and varied, depending on the specific technology examined.
Also, it appeared that as literacy skill levels increased, there was a parallel increase in adults’ perceptions of the usefulness of computers.