Essential Skills Awareness

Essential skills include the skills associated with literacy (i.e. reading, writing, document use and numeracy) but goes beyond to also include thinking skills, oral communication, computer use/digital skills, working with others and the skills associated with continuous learning. They provide the foundation for learning all other skills and enable people to better prepare for, get and keep a job, and adapt and succeed at work.

Document NameDescription
What are Essential Skills_ESDC Two-page list of the 9 Workplace Essential Skills with description of skill, typical applications, and examples of how the skills are used in workplaces.
Essential Skills and Your Business Presentation prepared to help businesses understand Essential Skills –what they are and how to use them when hiring and when succession planning, and the importance of having employees realize the value of Essential Skills when looking at their own employment and advancement plans.

Essential Skills Profiles

Essential skills profiles describe how workers in an occupation use each of the nine essential skills. Employers use the profiles to develop or choose the right kind of training for their employees and/or create job advertisements, interview questions and job evaluations. See select profiles below or visit the Government of Canada's website to access over 350 Essential Skills Profiles.

Document NameDescription
Small Business Owner-Operators Essential Skills Profile This profile contains a list of example tasks that illustrate how each of the 9 essential skills is generally performed by Small Business Owner Operators. The levels of complexity estimated for each task are ranked between 1 (basic) and 5 (advanced).
ES Profile _Supply Chain_Sales&Marketing Manager This profile contains a list of example tasks that illustrate how essential skills are generally performed by Sales and Marketing Managers.
ES Profile_QC Manager_Food & Bev Processing This profile contains a list of example tasks that illustrate how each of the 9 essential skills is generally performed by Quality Control Managers in the Food & Beverage Sector.
ES Profile_Supply Chain_Purchasing Manager This profile contains a list of example tasks that illustrate how each of the 9 essential skills is generally performed by Purchasing Managers.
Food Processing Skills Canada - National Occupational Standards Guide The guide outlines the main skills and knowledge employees need to perform their jobs competently Job descriptions can be found for those working in production, food safety, logistics and many other areas. Use this simple guide to understand how to plan for and build your skilled workforce

Essential Skills Assessments

Use the tools below to assess the Essential Skills of your employees or yourself. Further tools, assessment and training support can be found on the Government of Canada's Literacy and Essential Skills website.

Document NameDescription
ES Active Listening self-assessment One-page active listening self-assessment, which is part of Communication Skills
ES Bridging the Gap between Youth & Employers The Essential Skills Portfolio can be used in the recruitment process to identify, analyze and assess the strengths, weaknesses and training needs of prospective youth employees in four key areas of the Essential Skills set, including: Oral Communications, Thinking Skills, Working with Others, Computer Use
ES Document Use Indicator This tool can be used by employers to learn more about the Document Use skills of their employees. It gives an indication of skill levels by providing examples of Level 1 and Level 2 assessment questions.
ES General Business self-assessment Two-page, high-level Essential Skills self-assessment for businesses to help identify where skills gaps may exist.
ES Hiring Assessment_Interview Guide One-page guide to help you quickly assess the entry-level Essential Skills of an employment candidate.
ES Hiring Questions and Checklist Hiring Questions and Checklist with question on Essential Skills: Working with Others, Oral Communication, Critical Thinking, and Document Use
ES Organizational Needs Assessment The Organizational Needs Assessment provides a framework for conducting a basic Essential Skills needs assessment in your organization. Using this tool will help you determine whether Essential Skills gaps are affecting your organization’s performance and identify which skills may require upgrading.
ES Small Business Owner self-assessment Two-page, high-level assessment of the Workplace Essential Skills that most Small Business Owners need in order to be successful.
ES Supervisors self-assessment Two-page, high-level assessment of the Workplace Essential Skills that most Supervisors need in order to be successful.
ES Working with Others self-assessment Assessment questions for employees to identify the Working with Others Essential Skills that are required in their current job. Can be used to help engage employees to improve skills where necessary.
Connector - A Skills-Matching Tool The Connector is an online assessment tool that provides users with accurate assessments of their supply chain knowledge and their essential skills with respect to the 48 occupations for which the Supply Chain Management Association has written occupational standards. Based on knowledge gaps identified through the assessments, the tool generates customized learning plans and activities to upgrade competencies for current and desired roles. Finally, the tool links users to information about education and training available across Canada to build skills where gaps exist.

Essential Skills Learning Material & Support Programs

Use the tools below to help improve the Essential Skills of your employees or yourself. Affordable, customized training is available to companies that want to improve their business outcomes through improved Essential Skills of their employees. Follow the links below to learn more about the support available in your province.

Document NameDescription
ES_Communication Skills Tips Tips to improve Communications Skills such as active listening and effective listening.
ES_Critical Art of Listening workshop Overview of components of effective listening, as part of Communication Skills.
ES_for_Entrepreneurs_Document Use Essential Skill Workbook on Document Use. Practice the Document Use skills entrepreneurs needs to be successful.
ES_for_Entrepreneurs_Oral Communication Essential Skill Workbook on Oral Communication. Practice the Oral Communication skills entrepreneurs needs to be successful.
ES_for_Entrepreneurs_Thinking Skills Essential Skill Workbook on Thinking Skills. Practice the Thinking skills entrepreneurs needs to be successful.
ES_for_Entrepreneurs_Writing Skills Essential Skill Workbook on Writing Skills. Practice the Writing skills entrepreneurs needs to be successful.
ES_How I Act In Conflicts Self-assessment on your approach to managing conflict. Understanding your style to improve conflict management.
ES_Navigating Workplace Documents One-page offering quick tips on navigating workplace documents.
Manufacturing Essentials Certification Excellence in Manufacturing Consortium (EMC) is looking for manufacturing employers and communities to implement Manufacturing Essentials Certification (MEC) Programs – a fully funded initiative designed to help manufacturers increase their workforce productivity and become more competitive in a growing global marketplace. EMC will provide training programs for two key occupations (i.e. supervisors and production workers).
New Brunswick Dept. of Post-Secondary Education, Training & Labour (PETL) PETL provides an initial Training Needs Assessment to identify the essential skills required in the specific workplace. Based on the results, training is customized and can be delivered on site. Training ends with a final evaluation of the impacts and recommendations for future learning opportunities within the business.
Nova Scotia - Workplace Education Initiative, Dept. of Labour & Advanced Education (LAE) The Workplace Education Initiative promotes learning at work and supports the development of your workers by increasing workplace skills. Workplace Education Coordinators are available to help you assess the learning needs of your business, recommend education programs for your workers, help you apply for funding that is available to cover the cost of an instructor, and provide support while your program is taking place.
Newfoundland & Labrador Dept. of Employment & Labour The Department of Employment & Labour is responsible for delivering Essential Skills supports to businesses and individuals
Prince Edward Island - Skills PEI, Dept. of Education & Lifelong Learning Skills PEI is a division of the Department of Education and Lifelong Learning. It was established in 2009 to manage the design and delivery of employment and skills development programming that supports job seekers and employers.
WorkBC Visit the WorkBC site to learn about programs and funding you can employ to train your workers and power the opportunity for new hires. You’ll also find many resources and tools to help your employees develop the essential skills they need to do a great job for your organization.