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Assessments and Referrals – Information for Service Providers




What are LBS programs and who are they for?

Literacy and Basic Skills (LBS) refers to FREE adult education programs funded by Employment Ontario through the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. LBS programs help adults improve their Essential Skills, including foundational reading, writing, and math skills. Learners can also work on their computer skills and capacity for self-management and self-directed learning. LBS programs are goal-oriented and a personalized learning plan is designed for each learner to help them work towards achieving their declared goals. Full-time and part-time programs are offered during the daytime and evenings.

LBS programs are intended for individuals who are comfortable in spoken English, French or ASL but want to focus on upgrading their skills.  These programs are different from English as a Second Language (ESL) and Language Instruction for Newcomers (LINC) programs. Sometimes individuals benefit from concurrent participation in an ESL or LINC program as well as an LBS program.  For information about ESL and LINC programs, contact your local school board or visit and




What are some signs your client would benefit from an Literacy and Basic Skills program?

One of the first steps in making an effective referral to an adult literacy program is recognizing when a client is struggling with basic reading, writing and numeracy. While some clients are aware of their need for upgrading, others are not. Anyone can struggle with low literacy skills, and formal education is not always an accurate indicator of an individual’s literacy skills. 


Who is a good candidate for a LBS program?

A Literacy and Basic Skills (LBS) program is a good option for individuals who:

• Did not finish high school and need support to improve their reading, writing, math and basic computer skills in order to find employment, prepare to write the GED test, or upgrade their skills   before beginning high school credit courses;

• Have finished high school but have been out of school for a while and need to work on basic skills in order to prepare for college, apprenticeship or employment;

• Need to strengthen their reading, writing, math and basic computer skills, as well as their capacity for self-direction and self-management, in order to enhance their independence and their level of participation in the community;

• Are employed or underemployed, and who want to upgrade their skills in order to find more gainful, sustainable employment.


To help you better assess your client’s needs and make the right referral, please download MTML’s assessment and referral tools:

Making the Connection – Adult Literacy and Academic Upgrading Referral Guide – developed to help frontline workers at employment centres, social service agencies and community programs. It is designed to help you identify clients who are eligible for adult literacy and upgrading programs and to assist you in making appropriate referrals. – website providing comprehensive information and assessment guides to help you identify the various learning pathways and transitions your client might need. These resources include information and guidance about English as a Second Language (ESL) and Language Instruction for Newcomers (LINC) programs.

Quick Reference Guide to Adult Learning Pathways – resource material to compliment the website.

Basic Skills Screening Assessment Questionnaire for Clients:

Literacy Screening Tool – English

Literacy Screening Tool – French

These tools have been designed to help you identify clients who could benefit from adult literacy and skills upgrading programs, available in English and French.

Many additional professional resources can be found on our resources page.


Call the Literacy Access Network for Toronto and York Region

416-961-5557 | 1-855-611-2212