Getting to Know Your Support Organizations
Employment Ontario also funds several types of support organizations for LBS providers – Regional Literacy Networks, and provincial Sectoral, Cultural Stream and Service Organizations.
Support organizations have 4 core functions:
- Support seamless client pathways across EO and the Ministry of Education (EDU), Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services (MCCSS), Ministry of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade (MCIIT) and non-EO programs.
- Support quality delivery by providing resource development and support (including instructional content, mode of instruction and assessment)
- Support the improvement of service provider organizational capacity.
- Support the collection and distribution of research findings and contribute regional, sector or stream perspective to LBS-related research projects
Cultural Stream Organizations
In order to respond to distinct learner needs, the Literacy and Basic Skills Program distinguishes among four cultural streams: Anglophone, Francophone, Native and Deaf/Deaf-Blind learners. Cultural stream organizations provide accessible and culturally-relevant training, research, networking and resources to their respective streams.
La Coalition ontarienne de formation des adultes (COFA) supports providers of French language Literacy and Basic Skills.
Ontario Native Literacy Coalition (ONLC) supports Indigenous literacy practitioners and learners.
Deaf Literacy Initiative (DLI) supports the Deaf and Deafblind literacy community in Ontario.
Currently, there is no stream organization for Anglophone providers.
People who want to improve their literacy skills come from different kinds of social and economic backgrounds, and they all bring individual challenges, histories and learning styles to the learning process. Because of this, MLTSD funds three different literacy sectors or types of literacy programs, based largely on their method of delivering training: community-based, school board, and college programs.
College programs generally focus on the Apprenticeship and Post-secondary goal paths, with some focus on employment.
The College Sector Committee for Adult Upgrading (CSC) leads the Ontario College System in the creation of provincial resources, procedures and standards related to the development and delivery of relevant LBS programs and/or services.
School Board programs generally focus on the Employment and Secondary School Credit goal paths, with some focus on Apprenticeship.
Ontario Association of Adult and Continuing Education School Board Administrators (CESBA) represents the broad spectrum of programs offered by Ontario school boards to promote and advance adult and continuing education. CESBA’s LBS Committee represents the work of the School Board LBS Sector (public and Catholic boards in Ontario funded to deliver LBS in their communities).
Community-based programs generally focus on the Employment and Independence goal paths, with some focus on preparation for Secondary School Credits.
Community Literacy of Ontario (CLO) and Laubach Literacy Ontario (LLO) are provincial networks of community-based literacy agencies across Ontario. Both provide many services to community literacy agencies such as sharing information, developing resources and tools and offering conferences and other PD opportunities. CLO tends to focus more on developing resources for agency administration and staff development, while LLO tends to focus more on training and resources for tutor training and student development, and members receive discounts on New Readers’ Press materials.
These above are general statements about how the LBS agencies work in collaboration to provide a continuum of services. They do not include the various, specific service niches that agencies may engage in or change from year to year. There may be exceptions to these statements based on local needs or gaps.
Each of these providers has a specific niche, forming a network of services. The LBS service providers work very closely to provide the range of services best suited to the local community and economy. One type of literacy program does not fit all learners. The strength of literacy services in Ontario is the variety of providers in place to respond to the variety of needs and goals.
Where possible, a mix of literacy programs exists in each community to meet individuals’ goals. Regional Learning Networks network with service providers from all streams and sectors in their area, and with each other, to strengthen and improve the literacy system within Ontario.
Community-based agencies are independent, non-profit organizations that offer one-to-one tutoring and small group instruction. Tutoring is often done by trained volunteers. These programs often focus on students who have the most barriers and/or need a significant amount of upgrading. Community-based programs in the Francophone, Native and Deaf streams may deliver all levels of LBS training, especially in areas where other sectors do not offer adult programming in these streams.
School board upgrading programs are usually part of the continuing education department and use instructors in class and group situations. They generally focus on the middle levels of literacy with a view to preparing students for high school credits, as well as other goals.
College upgrading programs are often part of the college preparatory studies department, employ instructors and provide services in classroom settings. They often focus on the higher levels of literacy with a view to preparing learners to enter post-secondary and apprenticeship programs.
Please see the Literacy Basics Training module for more details about the different models of training delivery, including on-line learning.
Regional Literacy Networks are supportive hubs of literacy information and service co-ordination for specific geographic areas across Ontario. Each network considers local geographic, community and economic impacts when planning for future literacy services. They bring together literacy service providers from all sectors and streams and local community partners to talk about literacy and literacy pathways to goals such as employment, apprenticeship/skills training, Grade 12 diploma, college post-secondary programs or civic participation. While literacy service providers and networks each have standard functions across the province, the manner in which they address local needs differs from region to region.
Literacy, or learning, networks provide a gateway to the education and training system while supporting its development and improvement. Each network functions independently with their own board of directors and non-profit status. Networks are funded to provide similar services, thus ensuring consistent access and co-ordination throughout the province. Regional learning networks work in co-ordination and collaboration with each other and with the other support organizations.
Key Network services
- co-ordinate and facilitate community literacy service planning at a regional level, bringing together all sectors and streams present in the community
- act as a communication hub to enhance communication among literacy delivery agencies, Ministry, Employment Ontario partners and other community partners in the region, and the rest of the province
- work with service delivery agencies and stakeholders to provide a regional information/referral strategy that includes referral into and out of LBS, and provide regional referral and information as necessary.
- distribute, promote and discuss research, resources and professional development opportunities related to adult upgrading/literacy, sometimes hosting professional development for literacy practitioners (paid and volunteer).
- educate the public and other key stakeholders at the regional level on the nature and extent of literacy needs of adults and youth in Ontario
- co-ordinate and manage literacy development projects
There are 16 Regional Network organizations.
You can see them all on the Learning Networks of Ontario interactive map.
Literacy Link Niagara (LLN)
Mid North Network (MNN)
Project READ Literacy Network (PRLN)
QUILL Network (QUILL)
Literacy Northwest (LNW)
Literacy Ontario Central South (LOCS)
Provincial Service Organizations
Service organizations are funded by Employment Ontario to provide specific services to support all LBS organizations. These services include, but are not limited to, technology training and support, curriculum and on-line learning resources and free access to webinar and meeting platforms.
AlphaPlus provides training, services, tools and resources to adult literacy agencies and educators in Ontario in order to increase adult literacy skills through the use of digital technologies.
AlphaPlus supports literacy educators and agencies by providing tools and resources to increase digital literacy skills among both adult learners and practitioners through a goal-oriented approach to skill development. Periodically, AlphaPlus might conduct research and analysis on the use of computers and digital technology in literacy training delivery. AlphaPlus offers a regular newsletter, webinars about digital technology and coaching services for LBS agencies that want to improve their use of technology.
Employment Ontario funds Contact North to co-ordinate and provide platforms for the e-Channel on-line learning initiative. Both learners and practitioners can access courses through the e-Channel portal.
The e-Channel organizations are
- Avon-Maitland District School Board– manages The Learning Hub for the Anglophone stream
- Sioux Hudson Literacy Council manages Good Learning Anywhere for the Indigenous stream
- la Coalition ontarienne de formation des adultes manages F@D (Formation à distance) for the Francophone stream
- George Brown College manages Deaf Learn Now for the Deaf stream
- ACE Distance Delivery Online – Ontario colleges’ Academic and Career Entrance courses
Contact North also hosts a webinar and meeting platform for LBS providers to present training and hold meetings with colleagues across Ontario. This is at no cost to LBS agencies.
Centre FORA (Centre franco-ontarien de ressources en alphabétisation) is a French language publisher and distributor that produces printed and interactive learning materials for adult learners as well as training support materials for instructors, its two priority audiences.
Ningwakwe Learning Press
Ningwakwe Learning Press is an Aboriginal social enterprise that creates, publishes, markets and prints Indigenous literacy and cultural learning resources for all peoples. They create learning materials and curriculum that meet the needs of adult learners in a holistic and culturally relevant way. They also provide publishing and printing services to all businesses and organizations.