It is unfortunate that so much money is being spent on an initiative that is not being embraced by the Premiers or Canadians as a whole.
Community Learning Organizations working with low literate adults will be hit hardest by the Canada Jobs Grant. Up to March 31, 2014 transfer funds from the Federal Government under the Labour Market Agreement has supported our work to help low literate adults gain the essential skills they need to enter the workforce Canada-wide. If the Dartmouth Learning Network were funded for the services we provide based on the Canada Job Grants framework we would receive $1,500,000 to continue the good work we do. Sadly that will not be the case, and we are fearful that our current funding may end completely.
Community Learning Organizations provide free programs to help adult learners (19 years of age and older) without a high school diploma or GED gain the skills they need that will allow them to enter into the workforce and most importantly retain employment thereby breaking the cycle of poverty. Low literate adults represent 48% of the Canadian population; these statistics have not changed in decades and are not expected to change until 2031.
The Dartmouth Learning Network supports over 150 adults, a great bargain for the $150,000 in transfer funding we have received under the Labour Market Agreement each year for the past five years. We offer large classroom, small classroom, one-on-one learning, computer classes, employment readiness classes and specialized math classes. The proposed Canada Jobs Grant would only support 10 adults. It is unfortunate that we seem to be narrowing the scope of support.
As the cross-Canada promotion tour continues we look forward to hearing the views of all Canadians, and we encourage media to dig deep into uncovering the story that lays hidden beneath - will low literate adults benefit from the Canada Jobs Grant? Are employers in a position to set aside $5,000 per employee for training? Will apprentices who are not able to pass their exams due to poor literacy, numeracy and document use skills be helped? Perhaps most importantly, is the Canada Jobs Grants what Canadians really want, or just what someone thinks we want, and if it is not what we want how do we put an end to it?