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Essential Skills and Work Habits in the OSP

Essential Skills

The skills in the OSP are the Essential Skills that enable people to perform tasks required by their occupation and other activities of daily life. These skills provide people with a foundation for learning other skills, and enhance their ability to adapt to change. Skill levels are provided for each skill. Compare Human Resources and Skills Development Canada's (HRSDC's) list of nine Essential Skills to the Essential Skills and work habits in the OSP. Compare HRSDC's Essential Skills to the Canadian Language Benchmarks.

The skills included in the OSP are listed below. Click on the skill title to learn about skill levels. Click on the video icon to see a sample task for skill level 1 or 2.

Reading Text:
The comprehension of text consisting of sentences and paragraphs.
The preparation of written materials for a variety of purposes.
Document Use:
The use of labels, lists, signs, graphs, charts, tables,forms, and other similar materials.
Computer Use:
The use of any type of computerized technology.
Oral Communication:
The use of speech for a variety of purposes.
Money Math:
The use of mathematical skills in making financial transactions, such as handling cash, preparing bills, and making payments.
Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting:
Planning for the best use of time and money, as well as monitoring of the use of time and money.
Measurement and Calculation:
The measurement and calculation of quantities, areas, volumes, and/or distances.
Data Analysis:
The collection and analysis of data in numerical form.
Numerical Estimation:
The production of estimates in numerical terms.
Job Task Planning and Organizing:
The planning and organization of one’s own work.
Decision Making:
The making of any type of decision, using appropriate information.
Problem Solving:
The identification and solving of problems.
Finding Information:
The use of a variety of sources, including written text, people, computerized databases, and information systems. (See also Reading Text, Document Use, Computer Use, and Oral Communication above.)
Skill levels are provided for each skill. Skill levels are associated with workplace tasks and not the workers performing these tasks.

Work Habits

The OSP also includes a section on work habits, since it is important for everyone in the work force to have good work habits as well as the appropriate skills. Please note that there are no skill levels associated with the OSP Work Habits. However, performance indicators are listed for each work habit.

The work habits included in the OSP are listed below. Click on the video icon to see a sample task.

       Working Safely

  • Working in a manner that prevents injury to self and others
  • Reporting unsafe conditions
  • Participating in health and safety training, as required
  • Using and wearing all required protective equipment and devices


  • Working willingly with others
  • Showing respect for the ideas and opinions of others
  • Taking responsibility for his or her share of the work
  • Contributing to the team effort by sharing information, resources, and expertise


  • Being punctual
  • Following directions
  • Giving attention to detail
  • Using time effectively and producing work on time
  • Acting in accordance with health and safety practices


  • Organizing work priorities when faced with a number of tasks
  • Devising and following a coherent plan to complete a task
  • Revising the plan when necessary to complete a task or to make improvements

       Working Independently

  • Accomplishing tasks independently
  • Independently selecting, evaluating, and using appropriate materials, tools, resources, and activities
  • Using prior knowledge and experience to solve problems and make decisions


  • Beginning and completing tasks with little prompting
  • Approaching new tasks with confidence and a positive attitude
  • Seeking assistance when necessary


  • Asking questions and seeking clarification, where appropriate
  • Identifying and making use of appropriate resources and support when needed
  • Being proactive regarding individual rights and responsibilities, where appropriate

       Customer Service

  • Listening effectively to determine and meet clients’ needs
  • Interacting positively with both co-workers and clients/customers
  • Endeavouring to meet and exceed expectations
  • Creating a positive impression of the company or organization


  • Recognizing and acting on opportunities
  • Showing perseverance
  • Being innovative and creative
  • Being versatile and resourceful

See how Essential Skills and work habits are used in work, learning and life.


See how Essential Skills and work habits are used in work, learning and life.


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