Who we are


We are Canada’s leader in online skills assessments and learning solutions.


The Essential Skills Group Inc. (ESG) is a national leader in the development of innovative, integrated web applications that test and build foundational skills, such as reading, writing, numeracy, digital skills, and problem-solving. We can test skills in any language.

To date, our web applications have delivered more than 600,000 online assessments and customized learning plans, making ours the most widely-used online foundational skills assessment in Canada.

More than 600 organizations currently use our web applications. Our clients include governments, post-secondary institutions, sector councils, researchers, associations, First Nations, NGOs, and private sector companies from across Canada. We also do testing in Thailand, Vietnam, Nepal, India, Mexico, and Columbia with people who want to assess their English proficiency.

ESG is led by Michael Herzog, MBA, and Divona Herzog, MCE, and backed by a solid team of IT experts and other specialists.

The need for ESG

There are approximately 12 million Canadians who lack sufficient foundational skills such as reading, writing, numeracy, and problem-solving. These people face real challenges coping with the demands of a knowledge-based economy. They generally earn less money, are unemployed more often, have more accidents at work, and have greater difficulty learning new skills, as compared to those with higher foundational skills. We want to make a difference in the lives of these individuals.



Percentage of Canadians who have
insufficient reading skills



Percentage of Canadians who have insufficient document use skills



Percentage of Canadians who have
insufficient numeracy skills

Skills we assess and develop



The ability to understand reading materials in the form of sentences and paragraphs. We use this skill to scan information, skim for overall meaning, evaluate what we read and integrate information from multiple sources.


The ability to use numbers and think in quantitative terms. We use this skill when doing numerical estimating, money math, scheduling and budgeting math and analyzing measurements or data.

Working with Others

The ability to work with other workers to carry out tasks. We use this skill when we work as a member of a team or jointly with a partner, and when we engage in supervisory or leadership activities.


The ability to engage in the process of evaluating ideas or information to reach a rational decision. We use this skill when we solve problems, make decisions, think critically, and plan and organize job tasks.


The ability to write text and documents. We use this skill when we organize, record, document, provide information to persuade, request information from others and justify a request.

Digital Skills

The ability to use different kinds of computer applications and other related technical tools. We use this skill when we operate cash registers, use word processing software, send emails and create spreadsheets.


Speaking and listening – the ability to use speech to give and understand thoughts and information. We use this skill to greet people, take messages, reassure, persuade, seek information and resolve conflicts.

Document Use

The ability to perform tasks that involve a variety of information displays such as technical drawings, lists and tables. We use this skill when we read and interpret signs, labels, lists, graphs and charts.

600000Assessments completed
135000Individual test-takers
600Organizations using our websites
660Free online learning activities

Example Web Applications


Click on the images below to learn about some of our web applications.

  • CSC's Skills Marker Web Application (ESEE)
  • ITA Essential Skills Website
  • La Cité College's Skills for Success Web Application
  • scc
  • stocking up on skills
  • build your career with essential skills
  • workplace essential skills assesment (wesa)
  • alberta workplace essential skills
  • essential skills for ontario tradespeople
  • essential skills for aboriginals
  • workplace education manitoba research assessment
  • essential skills readiness assessment
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