Displaced Workers Project

Man in a warehouse moving a blue canister
The Displaced Workers Literacy and Essential Skills (LES) project studies the gaps and needs of Canadian workers displaced from their jobs.

Workers who have been displaced from their jobs are from all parts of Canada, from all sorts of jobs, and are in all phases of their employment.

They are workers who have been displaced from their jobs through planned or unplanned circumstances such as mill closures, industry slow-downs, tourism decline or natural disasters.

Their lives and those of their families are often thrown into crisis when their job disappears. Finding new employment can seem like an impossible task.

Enhancing Displaced Workers’ Literacy and Essential Skills Project

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

  • research 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.

Project objectives:

  • to fill knowledge gaps about what does and does not work for LES training and support for displaced workers to improve their employability
  • to help employers understand what skills employees need for the jobs of the future
  • to identify and test effective LES programs for displaced workers

We have a BC Team of literacy outreach coordinators who reflect local knowledge and experience in 10 regions of the province.

A Canadian Network Advisory Committee links a network of literacy leaders from across Canada.

Using these connections, we are gathering data through:

  • questionnaires to literacy and service organizations
  • surveys of workers displaced from their jobs
  • focus groups
  • interviews with workers, employers and service providers
  • case studies
  • beta-test projects

This place-based information will be used to develop both place-based and sector-based training.

Canada-wide Questionnaire

BC Displaced Workers Survey

Case Studies

Beta-Test Projects

Reports and data from across Canada show that large numbers of people are losing their jobs due to automation, shifts to digital technology, industry and global market conditions, and tourism decline due to COVID-19.

Many are in remote communities with few job opportunities. Many don’t have access to training locally, or have the technical literacy to access online training.

We are learning about the industries, gender, age, identity and education levels of displaced workers, and the services and training they need to find work.


For more information contact Heather Deal, Director, Adult and Workplace Learning, at hdeal@decoda.ca.