This paper outlines a project undertaken by the Canadian Centre for Financial Literacy (CCFL), a division of Social and Enterprise Development Innovations (SEDI), a charitable organization that works with community groups to expand economic opportunities for Canadians living in poverty.
Carried out between November 2010 and September 2012, the Financial Literacy Evaluation Project (FLEP) brought together financial literacy practitioners, funders, researchers, and policy makers to begin to develop and test practical, cost-effective tools to promote and support the monitoring and evaluation of community-based financial literacy programs.
FLEP included national consultations; a literature review; the creation of a monitoring and evaluation tool set, and pilot testing of those tools; the writing of a “how to” evaluation resource; and the launch of a web-based strategy for disseminating information gained through the project.
The authors note that there is increasing demand across Canada for community organizations to offer financial literacy programming for low-income people. At the same time, funding for such programs is limited. Evaluation plays an important role in enhancing learning, improving practice, strengthening accountability, and demonstrating results.
The Research Report
This study examines dual credits and the extent to which they ease the transition to post-secondary for adult learners in Manitoba. The study focuses specifically on the dual credit enrolment of adult learners in a Manitoba adult learning centre. It examines how dual credits and their relationship to barriers affect the transition for adult learners who move to post-secondary, the policy and procedures used in administering the dual credit program and the benefits and challenges of dual credit enrolment.
Two focus group interviews were conducted with participants who graduated, with dual credits and went on to post-secondary studies. Their feedback related to the impact of dual credits upon their transition to post-secondary. These were combined with a review of the literature. Implications related to the impact of the dual credits are summarized. The study concludes with recommendations for further research.
This report offers an overview of recent research findings on the impact of poverty on young children. It was prepared as a resource for the first roundtable discussion, held in June 2012, on developing a Northwest Territories anti-poverty strategy,
The report is divided into sections dealing with brain development in the early years; the impact of stress on the developing brain; the importance of relationships; the impact of chronic parental stress; the impact of poverty; and the importance of building a strong foundation.
As well, the report includes a section on the example offered by the province of Quebec, where subsidized early childhood programs have become universally available. That initiative has enabled more women to participate in the workforce, decreased rates of poverty, and led to better academic performance for children.
Based on their analysis of data from the International Adult Literacy and Skills Survey (IALSS) and other sources, the authors of this report conclude that there is little doubt that literacy and poverty are closely linked. The authors go on to explore the implications of this relationship for public policy.
Investment in literacy would lead to both significant increases in earnings and significant reductions in the numbers of adults receiving employment insurance and social assistance benefits. Raising every Canadian adult to the level of literacy required to participate fully in today’s economy would reduce social assistance rolls by 84,000 and generate annual benefits savings of $542 million.
Research suggests that it would require an investment of roughly $18 billion to eliminate occupational literacy skills shortages in Canada. The authors point out that while this figure seems high, it would probably generate an additional $100 billion in annual earnings.
In order to realize those returns, governments should encourage employers to assess their employees’ literacy and numeracy skills and to upgrade skills where needed; increase the economic demand for literacy skill by replacing passive income support with active education policies; and create tax incentives for individuals and employers to invest in skill upgrading.
Authors: Jocelyn Charron
This literature review, which uses data from the International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS) to explore the relationship between literacy and poverty, is part of a project undertaken for the Canadian Literacy and Learning Network (CLLN).
Based on analysis of the data, the author concludes that literacy proficiency does have an impact on individual earnings. This impact varies from country to country, but appears to be stronger in Canada and the United States.
Different groups do not reap equal benefits from having literacy proficiency, as other general cognitive skills may be equally, if not more, important in explaining earning differences. The existence of collective bargaining and minimum wages rules also play a role in explaining individual earnings differences within a country.
The author notes that while long periods of unemployment tend to erode literacy skills, being employed does not guarantee that individuals will maintain these skills. The nature of their work and their own personal habits also matter.
Adults who improve their literacy proficiency eventually obtain improved earnings, but these gains may take time to materialize.
Authors: Tri-County Literacy Network (TCLN)
This document summarizes a project aimed at helping Windsor-Essex Ontario Works and the Tri-County Literacy Network collaborate to work more effectively with people living in poverty.
The project involved research to find adult literacy projects related to poverty reduction in order to determine best practices; asking Literacy and Basic Skills (LBS) networks to identify relevant resources and curriculum materials; and developing a strategic plan to help the organizations work together to achieve their goals.
The authors point to specific outcomes, including the development among staff members of strategies and sensitivities for working with clients in poverty; the identification of systemic changes that are necessary to improve services; and the identification of effective LBS strategies and programs that address poverty.
Series: Literacy is for Life Fact Sheet
Authors: Movement for Canadian Literacy
The Literacy is for Life Fact Sheet series is a series of two-pager highlights on literacy and related topics.
This Fact Sheet highlights Literacy and Poverty and how Canada's high rate of illiteracy/undereducation is not simply an education problem. It is a symptom of deep and widespread social inequality created, in large part, by poverty.
Helping BC Income Assistance Recipients Upgrade Their Education
This report examines a set of policies and practices formerly in place in British Columbia that supported access to post-secondary education and upgrading programs for income assistance (IA) recipients, particularly those facing multiple barriers to employment and education. The policies ended in 2002.
Based on interviews with staff who delivered these programs in colleges and institutes during the late 1990s, the authors describe the “best practices” for programs designed to help people with low income improve their educational credentials.
They found that effective programs address the key areas of access, retention, and transition. Other key components include identification of the existence of multiple obstacles to accessing formal education; outreach activities and strong links with community and relevant government agencies; assessment of students’ needs and capabilities; financial help with tuition, fees, books, housing, and child care; and support for academic success, including counselling, advocacy, networking, and partnerships with employers.
The authors call on the British Columbia government to change welfare rules so that people receiving income assistance can participate in postsecondary education; restore and increase designated funding to post-secondary institutions to support IA recipients; support colleges and institutes in providing programs and services that offer holistic support to students; and restore tuition-free adult basic education in British Columbia’s public post-secondary institutions.
Women's Education des femmes, Winter 1986 - Vol. 5, No. 2
Authors: Jean Swanson
This article describes a resource booklet on poverty, Poverty in B.C., developed by End Legislated Poverty (ELP), a coalition of B.C. groups.
Report of the New Brunswick Conference on Poverty and Policy
Authors: Urban Core Support Network
This is a report on a New Brunswick conference, attended by 63 invitees, including those living in poverty, public officials & administrators, representatives of labour, business, and a variety of community groups. The conference goal was to learn mutually acceptable ways for people in both the community and the government to develop effective public policy. Invitees were encouraged to attend in the spirit of working together, to reduce each other's isolation and to explore ways to work from the ‘outside' community to the ‘inside' government.