Reconnecting with Literacy

Reconnecting with Literacy

On May 4-6 NWT Literacy Council staff attended the Decoda Literacy Conference.  This was the first conference staff had attended in over two years. 

Decoda is the Provincial Literacy Coalition of BC.  The theme of the 2022 Decoda Literacy Conference was “Literacy Connects Us!”.  It was a fitting theme for a conference that brought together literacy practitioners from across the country for discussions on adult literacy practises, family literacy programs, and programs to support newcomers. Karen Johnson, our Community Connections Coordinator, facilitated a workshop that discussed her program and the outdoor recreational activities that she offers to newcomers to Yellowknife.

In addition to the many workshops, there were engaging keynotes and panel presentations.  Of particular interest to me was a keynote from Craig Alexander, Chief Economist at Deloitte, who provided many insights on the economic benefits of literacy to society and the economy as a whole.

I have been sitting on the advisory committee for Decoda’s Displaced Worker project for three years.  This project has been researching promising practices for workers who have been displaced from their jobs due to a planned or unplanned event, such as an industry shut down, tourism decline, or natural disaster.

The Displaced Workers project is a three-year federally-funded project designed to:

  • research Literacy and Essential Skills (LES)programs that currently exist
  • evaluate program effectiveness
  • find gaps in the LES of displaced workers
  • develop promising practices and programs to support Canadian workers who have been displaced from their jobs.

The project emphasizes workers who are hard to reach, or reluctant to access skills training or employment services.  (

Our committee met for a day prior to the conference.  It was a chance to hear from Community Literacy Practitioners who have been running pilot literacy programs to support displaced workers in communities throughout BC, as well as a few across the country.

“Connection” was the theme that ran through the project for us - as Executive Directors from organizations in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Nova Scotia and the NWT.  The Literacy community has not had many opportunities to gather, network and share since the closing of many national organizations that were in place to support conferences, research and networking.  This committee has begun to fill that gap.  We plan to continue meeting beyond the Displaced Worker project end date.

The committee meeting and the Decoda Literacy Conference provided our staff with an opportunity to gather, share and be inspired by the many programs that are happening in BC and across the country.  It was a valuable opportunity to be reinvigorated as we move ahead to fully re-opening programs after a difficult two years.

  • Kathryn Barry Paddock, Executive Director


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