Turning the page on adult literacy with increased funding

People will have an opportunity to write the next chapter of their lives with funding for adult learning programs to improve literacy, math and digital skills in 128 communities this fall.

“Community-based literacy programs provide people living in our province with the support they need to succeed and thrive in today’s workforce,” said Anne Kang, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training. “I believe that by investing in community adult literacy programs and connecting people with the education and training they need, we are making a difference in supporting the first step in many people’s educational journeys. From creating household budgets to completing job applications, the skills gained in these programs can make a positive difference in a person’s life.”

The Province is investing $3.4 million annually for Community Adult Literacy Programs designed to help British Columbians, newcomers, work permit holders and refugee claimants improve their reading, writing, math and digital skills. This new annual funding builds on the $2.9 million invested in 2021-22.

Literacy programming typically includes one-on-one tutoring and small-group instruction, which support all levels of literacy. These community-based programs are offered by trained volunteers and focus on basic literacy, numeracy, life skills and employment preparation, and can be a starting point toward high school completion and/or further education or training.


Margaret Sutherland, executive director, Decoda Literacy Solutions –

“Literacy programs provide adults with an opportunity to develop the skills they need to achieve their goals. Whether they go on to further education, improve their employment, get more involved in their communities or are better prepared to support their children’s learning, investing in themselves is good for the individual and good for communities.”

Chandni Patel, program co-ordinator, Progressive Intercultural Community Services Society –

“The program is of great importance to the clients and the local community as it creates a space for learning, growth and understanding. Many of the clients who attended the program really enjoyed the classes as they could practise all their essential English skills and progress to employment or further education.”

Antonia Beck, CEO, Burnaby Neighbourhood House –

“Ongoing financial support for the Burnaby Community Adult Literacy Program has been essential to access literacy learning support for adults in our city. This has included reading and writing, numeracy, and financial and digital learning. We work very closely with our partners at Simon Fraser University, the Burnaby School District and the Burnaby Public Library to recruit and train tutors who are matched with learners and provide an option for a flexible and barrier-free learning environment. It has made all the difference in the world to support so many individuals work toward their life and work goals.” 

Quick Facts:

  • An estimated 700,000 people in British Columbia have significant challenges with literacy, numeracy and digital literacy.
  • In 2022-23, the $3.4-million annual provincial funding will support 97 programs delivered by 66 organizations in 128 communities throughout the province.
  • The Community Adult Literacy Program provides free English classes for newcomers, work permit holders and refugee claimants to support people new to B.C. and help set them up for success.
  • In 2020-21, CALP programs provided services to more than 3,200 learners:
    • 20.2% identified as Indigenous;
    • 72.5% female and 24.5% male;
    • 37.6% employed, 37.6% unemployed and 15.2% retired; and
    • 42.5% had previously completed some post-secondary education or skills training.

Learn More:

For details on the Community Adult Literacy Program (scroll to bottom): https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/education-training/adult-education/adult-upgrading

A backgrounder listing 2022-23 Community Adult Literacy Programs funding recipients is available online: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/Community_Adult_Literacy_Program.pdf

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