Adult literacy in Canada has faced increased challenges since 2004. CUPE National initiated a study in 2017, to assess adult literacy across Canada and to identify the impact of recent changes. The report focusses on the current state of adult literacy in Canada, on recent public policy trends, and how practitioners are adapting on the ground.

It was often unclear which organizations were still delivering programs, training practitioners, or developing adult literacy policy after the major federal funding cuts to literacy between 2006 and 2014.

The adult literacy movement remains vibrant and active across the country, supported by a patchwork of funding and the deep dedication of literacy practitioners, researchers and advocates. However, due to the absence of a national vision, reduced provincial commitment, and lack of resources to reach vulnerable and marginalized learners, there is reduced cohesion and progress in the national adult literacy movement. The need for adult literacy has not diminished.

Nearly forty representatives from across the adult literacy field in Canada were interviewed for the study.

The report outlines key recommendations for a national literacy strategy, increased public and institutional awareness, national and grassroots literacy networks, and sustained, long-term funding.