In 1987, Essential Skills Ontario was incorporated as the “Ontario Literacy Coalition” or “OLC” as part of a pan-Canadian framework that included 12 other provincial and territorial coalitions. At that time, the organization served as an umbrella organization that encompassed and represented the interests of all literacy support organizations, spoke to government and worked to raise awareness of literacy and essential skills.

Throughout our 28 years of existence, Essential Skills Ontario (as the OLC) has produced some remarkable work, including: leading several public awareness campaigns about the importance of literacy; working closely with the 16 regional networks that currently coordinate and assist literacy programs across the province; launching Action for Family Literacy Ontario (AFLO) - a provincial working group that brought the family literacy community together; holding several successful conferences and launching Beyond the Book: Learning from our History, Canada’s first documentation of literacy as a historical movement.

As time goes on, things change. Today our role and scope have evolved to meet the needs and demands of today’s world. We believe ensuring all adults in Ontario who want to advance in this world have the opportunities and supports to gain the literacy and essential skills they need to reach their full potential is more important than ever. We are working to find the most innovative ways to elevate Ontario’s workforce, deliver results that matter, and build stronger communities.


The Evolution to Essential Skills Ontario