This research is intended to:

  • better understand the literacy needs and preferences of NWT seniors; and
  • make recommendations for better and more relevant literacy supports and services for NWT seniors.

The research involved consultations with 75 informants primarily in Inuvik, Yellowknife, Fort Simpson, Fort Resolution, and Wekweti. Community case studies were prepared for Inuvik and Fort Resolution


Literacy is viewed as understanding, using and sharing information, communicating, and connecting. It is staying current in a world where information and technology are rapidly changing. “Literacy is about more than reading and writing. It is about being able to function in our world: to understand, imagine and create.” (Yellowknife literacy provider) The NWT Seniors Society believes that culture and language are at the centre of what literacy means in the NWT “literacy has to respect seniors’ needs and culture.”

A Literacy Profile of the NWT Senior Population

The NWT has a rapidly growing NWT seniors population with low literacy. Limited school education and declining Aboriginal language use are two significant factors that increase the risk of NWT seniors being unable to function independently in activities of daily living in their home, community and work.1

Without support NWT seniors with low literacy may be at risk of:

  • abuse and financial ‘scams’ from family members and caregivers.

1 Over one third of the NWT seniors who continue to work