Hi there tout la gang,

We don't have much to say about research in practice at the Café right now

but we are talking policy and practice over here now: Literacy Enquirers.

Monday, February 2, 2009


The Ontario Literacy Coalition has prepared a document about the recent Canadian Budget: Implications of the January 27, 2009 Federal Budget for the Ontario Literacy Field.

Many items in this document are relevant to literacy workers beyond the borders of Ontario. You can download a 588kb PDF of the document by clicking here.

The document outlines some of the spending that may benefit literacy programming such as the enhancements to Employment Insurance benefits, the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Partnership (ASEP) and the Targeted Initiative for Older Workers; the creation of a Strategic Training and Transition Fund and a Community Adjustment Fund; plus infrastucture projects such as those aimed to repair, retrofit, and expand facilities at post-secondary institutions and local and community cultural and heritage institutions such as local theatres, libraries and small museums.

This next bit is especially relevant (but not news?) to those who have responded or are planning to respond to requests for proposals from the Office of Literacy and Essential Skills (OLES).

Implications for federal funders:
The budget indicates departments have not been accurately forecasting their spending which resulted, in 2007-08, in the highest level of lapsed funds (the amount of funding that is appropriated by Parliament but not spent by departments) in recent years at $7.6 billion, or about 9 per cent of appropriated funds. (Page 210)

Note: The Federal Government’s Public Accounts has reported lapses in literacy spending for the last few years. There may be increased scrutiny of the spending on literacy. (Click image to see numbers more clearly).

Under the National Literacy Secretariat, we used to be able to see which literacy projects had been funded by checking out the Grants and Funding Program pages. Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) has a proactive disclosure page where:

On 21 October 2005, the Government announced its commitment to proactively disclose the awarding of grants and contributions over $25,000 as part of its Management Improvement Agenda. ...Beginning on 31 May 2006, and every three months thereafter, this Web site will be updated to include information on grants and contributions awarded in each fiscal year quarter by Service Canada on behalf of Human Resources and Social Development.

You can see all the HRSDC grants but cannot tell which grants were funded as literacy projects. I am not sure if this where you can find literacy projects. I cannot find the Literacies grant here.


Nancy Friday said...

I sigh with you. Funders and government are becoming more and more like lawyers - they speak a language unto themselves and spin a system so complex that nobody, including themselves, can navigate it. People at the bottom of the system (you know the majority of us) are required to be over-accountable upwards while those at the top end aren't able or required or willing or whatever - to account back downward.

Bartering works best - you do this for me with your skills, talent, knowledge and goodness - and I'll do this for you with mine. Seems pretty simple to me - doesn't even involve numbers.

How did we ever allow things to get so far away from the bartering system? So complex?

Think income tax - now that's another hornet's nest, isn't it! Got its own language, and their own system of complexity.

Nancy :)

literacies publisher said...

in the next issue of literacies brigid hayes is writing about what happened around the NLS that made the system so impenetrable. a lot to do with a certain type of accountability and accounting.

and now we have OLES. they seem to be somewhat out of touch with the realities of the literacy field. the narrow scope of the calls, the unwieldy requirements for partnerships and bookkeeping, and the fact that they take so long to decide what is to be funded or not makes it very difficult for many of us to apply for funds.

i wonder if the lapsed funds is a reflection of the fact that their approval process seems to be very bogged down or because fewer groups are applying.

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