Adult Literacy in Nova Scotia: A Critical Examination of Policies and their Effects


  • Scott MacPhail Mount Saint Vincent University
  • Leona English Saint Francis Xavier University



Adult Education, Literacy, Policy


The purpose of this research is to examine the current adult literacy policies and practices in Nova Scotia and how they affect the learning journey of adult students in this province. Particular attention is paid to the provincial government’s involvement, especially through the Nova Scotia Adult Learning Act. The authors use case studies (composites) to analyze three categories of adult participants: adults who seek literacy training, adults with basic literacy abilities who are unskilled and rely on government support, adults who are underemployed and seeking a possible career change. Using these categories, they show the obstacles to be overcome as adult literacy learners deal with community-based, provincial, and national bodies and levels of government in order to realize their goals. The authors conclude with recommendations regarding adult education and the implementation of the new Adult Learning Act.


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How to Cite

MacPhail, S., & English, L. (2013). Adult Literacy in Nova Scotia: A Critical Examination of Policies and their Effects. Canadian Journal for the Study of Adult Education, 25(2), 1–16.