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Through extensive research, the Government of Canada and other national and international agencies have identified and validated these key Essential Skills for the workplace. These skills are used in nearly every job and at different levels of complexity. They provide the foundation for learning all other skills and enable people to evolve with their jobs and adapt to workplace change.

Reading is understanding information in the form of sentences or paragraphs. 

Document use is reading signs, labels, lists, or drawings; interpreting information on graphs; and entering information on forms. 

Numeracy is using numbers and thinking in quantitative terms to complete tasks, such as estimating amounts, scheduling, or analyzing data. 

Writing is conveying ideas by writing text and writing in documents, such as filling in forms or typing on a computer.


Oral Communication is using speech to give and exchange thoughts and information. 

Working with Others is working with co-workers, as a member of a team, or in a supervisory position. Thinking is evaluating ideas or information to reach a rational decision. 

Digital Technology is using computer applications or technical tools such as word processing, e-mails, or spreadsheets. 

Continuous Learning is ongoing learning as part of work, through on or off site training, or from co-workers. 

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