In December 2007, United Way of London & Middlesex and the City of London released Literacy in London & Middlesex: An Opportunity to Reach our Full Potential, a report of the current state of literacy in the community. One fifth of adults in the community are functioning at the lowest level of literacy.

These adults are often unable to read basic signs and instructions on a medicine label and are not prepared to participate fully in the technological workforce. This represents a significant loss of potential – socially and economically. With the release of the report came a call to action resulting in the establishment of the Literacy Implementation Committee to create a Strategic Literacy action plan for the community.

A November 2009 Employer Survey conducted by Literacy Links South Central in partnership with the Elgin Oxford Middlesex Local Training Board (now Elgin Oxford Middlesex Workforce Planning and Development Board), Goodwill Ontario Great Lakes, Literacy London Inc, London Employment Help Centre and Pathways Skill Development and Placement Centre found that local employers in Southern Ontario unknowingly rate Essential Skills1 as the skills they most require for a successful workplace. The survey provided evidence that sustainability of small, medium and large businesses in all business sectors requires employees with well-developed Essential Skills to help them cope with increasing job complexity and changing technology.

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