apple Introduction

Community Literacy of Ontario has been funded by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities to develop this online training module, which will look at Ontario’s Literacy and Basic Skills (LBS) programs’ assessment requirements, practices and tools. Assessment is one of the five services provided by LBS Service Delivery Agencies (along with Information and Referral, Learner Plan Development, Training, and Exit and Follow-up).lbs

This module is an overview of the Information and Referral service for practitioners in LBS agencies. Practitioners who are new to the literacy field and Ontario’s Adult Literacy Curriculum Framework (OALCF) will find a wealth of information and resources in its content. It will also be useful for those more experienced practitioners as a review and as a source of sample tools and resources. In addition to having their own sections, resources and samples are embedded in all sections of the module

Information and Referral is the first of the five services provided by LBS Service Delivery Agencies. Why do we say it is the first service? It is listed first in the LBS Service Provider Guidelines which can be found at It is also the first service we provide to individuals, partner agencies and the community. It is said “first impressions last the longest,” so, as our I & R service is the first exposure others have of us, it is critical.

As its name implies, the I & R service incorporates two activity areas:

• providing information to other parties
• making referrals to, and receiving referrals from, other programs and services

There is a third activity, though, which is interwoven through both information and referral, and that is collaborating with partners.

According to the LBS Service Provider Guidelines:

“The lnformation and Referral service ensures that information about the LBS service provider’s literacy training opportunities, approaches and targeted clients is available to learners, potential learners, clients, volunteers, other interested individuals and referring organizations.

LBS service providers also provide Ontarians entering their delivery site with information on and referrals to all Employment Ontario employment and training programs and services.”

When we discuss I & R as a Literacy and Basic Skills delivery service, we need to look at it in the context of the Ontario Adult Literacy Curriculum Framework (OALCF). The OALCF is the ‘product’ we are ‘marketing.’ It is what we are providing information about and what we are receiving and making referrals for.

Therefore, we need to have a general understanding of that framework. The next section provides a brief overview of the OALCF. Those who are already familiar with OALCF or who have read about it in other Literacy Basics modules may want to skip this section.

Often people don’t know what type of help they need – they are able to describe what is happening to them, but don’t know how to find the services that can help. Looking for help means locating dozens of phone numbers and/or websites (for those who have access), and then searching through a maze of agencies and services to make the right connection. I & R services were created to help people negotiate this maze; [they] exist to provide linkages between the individual and the services available in their community. I & R specialists help a caller find out what they need and then find the best way to get help.
Canadian Mental Health Association, Peel


The following section is an overview of the Ontario Adult Literacy Curriculum Framework (OALCF). As the OALCF is the backbone of all LBS service, this section is included in the modules of each of the five LBS Services.

  • Information and Referral
  • Assessment
  • Learner Plan Development
  • Training
  • Exit and Follow-Up.
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