Canada: Janice Brant and Paul Zakos


Warning the audio below is far from perfect but will allow the spirit of the presentation to come through (webmaster).


Warning the audio below is far from perfect but will allow the spirit of the presentation to come through.

from the The Power Within People:: A Community Organizing Perspective-hill, Antone, and Myers

from the The Power Within People:: A Community Organizing Perspective-hill, Antone, and Myers

Creation Story

Creation Story

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a longhouse.jpg


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Canadians for a Modern Industrial Strategy - Links to the Collective.


Canadians for a Modern industrial strategy (CMIS) brings together people from labour, business, and the community who believe our economic success and social well-being depend on adopting a proactive industrial strategy. We want everyone who is concerned about the future, about jobs, about nature, and about education, to have a meaningful voice in deciding what the world of tomorrow looks like a future that is not only rich, but rich in equality; where no one is left behind.

CMIS believes that when education treats people as whole people— not just as resources for the economy—it can be a great equalizer in society. With fair access to quality public education, people are better able to pursue career goals and achieve a higher standard of living. Education can therefore reduce income inequality. However, education enhances equality in many other ways too. When people learn, they empower themselves to better understand who they are and how to achieve their own goals. it is empowering to the self and to one’s community.

This note recognizes the shared objectives and actions of the International Indigenous (RPL) Collective and CMIS. We both understand that RPL has the capacity to develop critical consciousness. It can help to recognize previous learning and bridge the gap between current learning and future goals. RPL empowers people and communities, as education should.

A second objective of this note is to recognize that RPL is a good idea,but is still in the early stages of broad acceptance in society and academic institutions. When good ideas are not fully embraced, there is normally a reason. Here, it is argued that the major reason RPL is not better recognized is because the dominant view of education is stuck in the past. Education, particularly post-secondary education, is too often seen as a tool for feeding the needs of labour markets. From this point of view education is sold as a product in a formal classroom. Because of this, governments and post-secondary institutions are reluctant to recognize prior learning.

( Link to Full document )

A few words from an important supporter of PLAR and the Conference


by Smokey (Warren) Thomas – President of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), Major Conference Supporter and PLAR Advocate for over two decades

Every movement or change effort needs champions – individuals and organizations.

There are many in the business of PLAR; its story of birth, development implementation.

Locally Mr. Thomas walks both these lines. We became involved just prior to the dismantling of Kingston Psychiatric Hospital where Smokey was once employed and his concern for his patients and staff in 1999 when we took a PLAR team into the hospital to do portfolio work with employees who were being let go.

“PLAR became for me a bright spot in the fight for a better future for working people and the conference shines a light on the work that people are doing with PLAR in variety of ways not only in Canada but internationally both in mainstream and Indigenous communities. All of which I have grabbed onto to help. It is often a hard sell to the general population because of the educational system (at least in Ontario) keeps most educators in a box where we choose to play the traditional game in a seriously outdated government funding formula.


“I view PLAR as a more flexible and positive alternative to  rigid, outdated academic processes for adult learners and a valid way for working people to demonstrate their skills and knowledge and  their contributions to their families and  communities. I have been fighting my whole life for social justice and the recognition of the contributions that working people make to our communities, our province and our country.

I am happy to support this approach and the PLAR conference and have done so for many years. I wish you every success in this, the 30th annual conference, and I am disappointed I can't be there in person. I always get charged up at these conferences with a few new ideas to try on my journey”.

30th ANNUAL PLAR Conference

“Celebrating 30 Years of Adult Learning Practice and Recognizing Prior Learning”

May 22 – 24, 2019

Travelodge by Wyndham, Belleville, ON


Over the past 30 years, this conference has been the catalyst for a variety of Indigenous, local, provincial, national and international PLAR/RPL and adult learning initiatives. At this annual gathering, many adult learning practitioners have willingly and enthusiastically shared their knowledge and expertise, helping shape public policy and practice. The results have been far reaching; the Canadian Association for Prior Learning Assessment (CAPLA) (1994), the International Indigenous RPL Collective (2009), and the Adult Learner Focused Institution (ALFI) (2007) are three noteworthy initiatives that have been influenced by delegates attending the conference.

One of the strengths of the conference has been its focus on building strong and enduring relationships with like-minded Indigenous and non-Indigenous colleagues across Canada, the USA, the UK, South America and South Africa. PLAR/RPL has increasingly come to be recognized as an essential component of a set of international policies and best practices, aimed at reaching out to adult learners whose needs have not been well served by conventional approaches to education and employment.