The Health and Social Dimensions of Adult Skills in Canada
Date posted: February 19, 2018
Research indicates that people with lower skills in literacy, numeracy and problem solving in technology-rich environments often struggle to participate in social activities, manage chronic conditions, find and interpret health information, and access other social services. Now, a new report uses large scale data to take a look at this in Canada.
The Health and Social Dimensions of Adult Skills in Canada: Findings from the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) is a newly released report from the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC) and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC). Here are some of the key findings:
- Health and social outcomes are unevenly distributed within Canada.
- Higher skills are associated with better health and social outcomes.
- Skills are associated with health and social outcomes independently of education.
- Indigenous peoples tend to report poorer outcomes – but skills may narrow some gaps.
- Immigrants’ outcomes vary with length of residence in Canada.
- Skills are not enough to show an improvement in health and social outcomes for unemployed Canadians.
- More research is needed on the skills, health and social outcomes of workers in precarious employment. (Precarious employment refers to ‘non-standard’ work arrangements, such as casual or temporary positions.)
Implications in the executive summary are:
Analysis of the PIAAC health and social outcomes data provide evidence on the relationship between literacy, numeracy, and PS-TRE proficiency and the health and well-being of Canadians. Existing theoretical and empirical evidence confirms that there is a connection—likely a causal one—between education and health. This report builds on that literature by confirming that skills are associated with the health and social outcomes measured in PIAAC independently of factors like education, and that skills may help to ameliorate health and social outcomes for Canadians at greater risk of social and economic disadvantage. These findings suggest that increased proficiency in information-processing skills has the potential to provide social and economic benefits to both individual Canadians and Canadian society. (p.4-5)