Not the Best Option, May We Suggest

Not everyone who walks in the front door of your literacy program will end up as a program participant. Based on your initial conversation, or further along in the initial assessment, you might determine that your agency or LBS service is not the best option for the person. You may also find that the person isn’t eligible for the LBS program (see Eligibility in the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities Requirements section of this module). In these cases, you would refer him or her to a more appropriate Employment Ontario program or another service in your community. Take these steps:

  • Explain why. It is important that you take the time to explain your rationale for recommending another option to the client.
  • Be sure to provide a contact name and phone number for the other literacy program or community service.
  • Have learners sign a release of information so that you can share the assessment results.
  • Although it is not necessary to follow up to confirm if the client went to or registered at the other service, it is a good referral practice.

In order to be able to make appropriate referrals, you must be well-informed about what services and programs are available in your community. This is all part of the LBS Information and Referral service. For more on this service, go to the Literacy Basics Information and Referral module.

Different Places, Different Processes

Literacy agencies across the province approach the initial assessment in different ways. In some areas, the Literacy Services Planning and Coordination (LSPC) committee has developed an assessment tool that is used by most or all of the literacy agencies in the community. An example of this is the Assessment and Training Referral Guide for Northwestern Ontario Employment Ontario Service Delivery Partners that can be downloaded from the Learning Networks of Ontario website.  Elsewhere, each individual literacy agency conducts initial assessments using methods and tools that are most suitable for their clients and practitioners. In other areas, there is a common assessment centre where all initial assessments take place and learners are then referred to the most appropriate delivery agency.

LBS Participant Registration

Once you have completed the initial interview and assessment and determined that the client is eligible to be an LBS learner, you may complete the intake process.

So, just what information should you be gathering at intake? The LBS Participant Registration Form lays out the basic information that you will need to collect to get the learner registered on EOIS-CaMS and started in the LBS program. Review the form to see the specific information you will need. In general, the first sections of the form cover what some people refer to as the learner’s tombstone information:

  • personal information (sometimes referred to as ‘tombstone data’)
  • contact information
  • voluntary, self-identifying membership in a specific group such as minority, disability, newcomer to Canada, First Nations, Metis, etc.
  • formal education and training history
  • employment history

Although it is not an MTCU requirement to complete all the information in the last three bullets above, the information helps MTCU with statistical analysis. These details also help you and other Employment Ontario programs to serve the client better. For example a person with a back pain issue or who is hard of hearing you may be able to ensure accommodations are made for these self-identified disabilities. A person with First Nations or Metis background may get value from learning using Indigenous resources and may have special funding available for the next step in towards their goal. It is worth noting that these factors may improve your suitability score, as well (see next section. Learner Suitability).

You should explain to learners how the information you are collecting will help you develop the learner plan, determine suitability, provide them with better supports, etc. You can also explain that gathering certain information is an MTCU requirement for the learner to enter the LBS Program.

The learner will easily be able to provide some of the information you need (e.g., personal information); other information will be determined as you proceed with the assessment (e.g., assessment information). You may or may not be able to gather all of the information you require at an initial interview. It could take two or more sessions to complete the list.

You should explain to learners how the information you are collecting will help you develop the learner plan, determine suitability, provide them with better supports, etc. You can also explain that gathering certain information is an MTCU requirement for the learner to enter the LBS Program.

Learner Suitability

Some of the information you need to gather refers to learner suitability criteria. Learner Profile Suitability is one of the four measures of the Effectiveness dimension of your agency`s Overall Service Quality. The Indicators of Effectiveness are listed in the LBS Service Provider Guidelines (effective October 2016). At the time of this writing, the Indicators of Suitability were:

  • education level attained (less than grade 12)
  • source of income identified as one of the following:
    • Ontario Works
    • Ontario Disability Support Program
    • no source of income
    • crown ward
  • time out of school, or training (6 years or more)
  • age (older than 45 years of age and under 64)
  • history of interrupted primary and secondary education
  • person with disability (as defined by the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act and Ontario Human Rights Code)
  • Indigenous Person
  • Deaf
  • Deaf blind
  • Francophone

Personal Information, Privacy and the Notice of Collection and Consent

A significant section of the LBS Participant Registration contains the Notice of Collection and Consent. This notice needs to be understood by the learner. Because this may be difficult for many learners to read and understand, you are required to explain or provide a simpler version to help them understand their rights. In order to be registered, the learner must not only sign the consent to collect, use and disclose the learner’s personal information as covered in the notice, they must also sign that their service provider has explained its use and the disclosure of the information for its purpose. These are to be signed before you start a file or enter information onto the EOIS-CaMS online database. The date of the signatures on the consent and acknowledgement must be prior to the entry of any participant/learner into the EOIS-CaMS.

As the collectors of personal, private information, LBS Service Providers are also required to have their own privacy and personal information policies. These should be explained carefully to learners, as learners also need to sign an acknowledgement that their Service Provider has explained its use and disclosure of learners’ personal information (see also the section on Confidentiality). 

Other Assessment Information to Collect

Some information you might want to gather during the Intake and Initial Assessment is not included on the Participant Registration form. This information may be required on the Learner Plan, in the learner’s file, or simply to better serve the learner. Below are some examples

  • Learning styles and preferences – MTCU requires us to document the learner’s preferred style of learning in the learner file. A good way to meet this requirement is to include the learning style in the Learner Plan. Some agencies will include learning styles screening in the initial assessment while others wait until the learner is enrolled (for information see the section on Learning Style and Disabilities).
  • Vision or hearing problems
  • Medical concerns that may impact learning (e.g., bad back so can’t sit for extended periods of time or prescription medication that might have side effects)
  • Means of transportation (Will you need to provide training supports for travel?)
  • Other supports needed (Will you need to provide training supports for daycare, etc.)
  • Learner’s preferences as to scheduling, location, setting (depending on what your program can offer)
  • Allergies, special needs
  • Other interests

Gateway Centre for Learning uses an Additional Intake Information Form to collect the extra details they feel help them serve learners better. There is a copy of this in our Sample Forms section.

Questions and Activities for Reflection

  1. Review some initial assessments of learners in your program. How would you rate the assessments in terms of being contextual, level appropriate, task-based and commonly understood?
  2. Think about a time when your skills were assessed. Some examples could be tests or performance reviews. What did you like or not like about the experience?
  3. Think about how you presently do initial assessments. What steps could you take to make the potential client more comfortable about, and during, the process?
  4. What additional information does your agency gather at intake and initial assessment that isn’t required on the Participant Registration? How does your agency use this information?

How could you include the collecting of personal information as part of your skills assessment?

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