Award-winning pan-Atlantic workplace essential skills project launches new website

November 5, 2021, Corner Brook

For immediate release


Funded by the Government of Canada’s National Essential Skills Initiatives program, ESAF targeted rural and remote coastal communities, among those most affected by the labour market shortage. “High unemployment in rural areas has long been a challenge in Atlantic Canada and elsewhere,” said Brent Melanson, President of the LCNB, which led the initiative. “In addition to generations of young people leaving these communities, low literacy rates and a lack of essential skills hamper those left behind. This phenomenon not only affects people, but the businesses looking to employ these people. The innovation we were able to put forward throughout Atlantic Canada has proven to have a significant positive impact.”

ESAF was awarded an honourable mention Canada Life Literacy Innovation Award in 2020 for its unique contributions to literacy programming in Canada. It was recognized as a rare and a shining example of an innovative solution to a wide-spread issue.

The 3-year pilot was a major undertaking that applied a holistic approach to workplace essential skills training. The project improved the essential skills of not only 108 participants, but also provided valuable, immediately applicable skills to the 40 mentors across 17 participating employers. It’s a true success story: upon project completion, 76% of participants were hired by their placement employer.

The project goals were to:

  • Increase the pool of skilled labour
  • Connect unemployed local workers to available jobs
  • Provide job-related training and skills matching
  • Improve the literacy and essential skills of all participants, including learners and managers
  • Develop and test an innovative blended training program that could be adapted by other sectors

The project achieved all of these goals and more. Many participants see their experience with Essential Skills for Atlantic Fisheries (ESAF) as their second chance, highlighting how the program increased their confidence, motivation, and desire to continue their learning. Employers noted that, as a result of the training program, they gained a new pool of ready-to-work employees, their managers were better prepared to effectively communicate with employees and allowed them to re-examine their existing HR policies through a new lens.

The overwhelmingly positive results of the pilot speak for themselves. In response to current challenging labour shortages in long-term care facilities, the ESAF model is now being replicated in the health care sector in New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador. In Literacy Coalition of New Brunswick (LCNB) Executive Director, Lynda Homer’s words, “ Much credit goes to all involved including our amazing team and outstanding project manager, Dianne Léger.  We’re very proud of what we accomplished and look forward to seeing how other industries can now benefit.”

The Literacy Coalition of New Brunswick (LCNB) is the primary advocate for literacy in the province. For 32 years, LCNB has worked with government, educational institutions, business, labour, community organizations, and individuals. The LCNB helps practitioners, children, youth, families, adult learners, and workplaces develop the skills necessary for New Brunswickers to succeed in the modern-day knowledge-based economy.

For more information, please contact:


Dianne Léger

ESAF Project Manager – Literacy Coalition of New Brunswick



or Lynda Homer

Executive Director – Literacy Coalition of New Brunswick



or Margie Lewis

Executive Director – Newfoundland and Labrador Laubach Literacy Council

709 634 5081


Click the links below to access the ESAF Final Evaluation Report and the ESAF Final Report

ESAF Final Report (Sept 27, 2021)_French_FV

ESAF Final Report (Sept 27, 2021)_English

ESAF Final Evaluation Report – March 2021 – Final_French_FINAL 2021 07 13

ESAF Final Evaluation Report – March 2021 English

Click here to go to the ESAF Storyboard video ESAF Story Boards Copy 01.mp4 (

To access the ESAF Website click this link

To access the ESAF Project on Facebook go to