Made in the North Forum

Made in the North: Policy & Practices Exchange on Skills Development was a forum for some 140 adult educators, employers, policy makers, language experts, literacy practitioners, aboriginal and community leaders, and others working in the area of literacy and essential skills development in the three territories and Labrador. The Yukon Literacy Coalition, NWT Literacy Council, and Ilitaqsiniq-the Nunavut Literacy Council jointly organized the event, which was held in Yellowknife, NWT, from October 23 to 25, 2012.

The purpose of the gathering was to support made-in-the-north approaches to adult learning, including literacy and essential skills; the sharing of ideas and resources; and the creation of a northern action network. The event was funded by the Government of Canada’s Office of Literacy and Essential Skills; Government of the Northwest Territories’ Department of Education, Culture and Employment; Government of Nunavut’s Department of Education; and Yukon Territorial Government’s Labour Market Programs and Services, Advanced Education.

The program offered keynote presentations by leading thinkers and dynamic workshops on current policies, practices, and innovations in literacy, adult learning, and essential skills development in northern Canada. The program culminated in large-group dialogue sessions, designed to build on the wealth of perspectives of the many stakeholders in the room and led by professional facilitators with a strong foundation in the North.


Delegates enthusiastically endorsed the idea of a pan-northern network to continue the work started at the forum and to learn more about successful initiatives. They recognized the important role non-formal learning plays in adult learning, and the need to have the flexibility and the funding to deliver on this promise. Most of all, there was a sense of pride in how people in Yukon, NWT, Nunavut, and Labrador were developing innovative, made-in-the-north, programs that responded to northern needs.

The Forum offered government representatives who attended a better understanding of the differences among the territories and the unique issues related to learning in the North. As one government representative noted, “We overestimated the commonalities and underestimated the differences.”


Forum Resources


Made in the North Final Report: What We Learned [PDF]

“New Directions in Adult Literacy and Basic Education” [PDF]

— Presentation by Heather McCagg-Nystrom, Aurora College 

“Workplace Literacy and Essential Skills in NWT” [PDF]
— Presentation by Lisa Campbell, on behalf of the NWT Literacy Council 

“Building the Foundation: Namibia and Yellowknife” [PDF]
— Presentation by Patricia Salt, Learning Support Strategist 

“Holistic Portfolio Development at Nunavut Arctic College” [PDF]
— Presentation by Jennifer Archer, Nunavut Arctic College

“Northern Innovations in Family Literacy: Sustainable, Holistic and Effective” [PDF]
— Presentation by Kathryn Barry Paddock, NWT Literacy Council 

“Rethinking the Embedding of Essential Skills” [PDF]
— Presentation by Patricia Salt, Learning Support Strategist 

“Nova Scotia Workplace Education Initiative: An Evolution from Workplace Literacy to Human Resource Development Tool” [PDF]
— Presentation by Joe Brown, Manager of Worplace Education and Training, Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Advanced Education