In May 2012, the Canadian Career Development Foundation (CCDF) began a project, The State of Practice: Essential Skills Applications with First Nations, Inuit and Métis in Canada (FIMESA), that’s aim, is to: • Increase the understanding of Essential Skills Applications for First Nations, Inuit and Métis by developing a comprehensive inventory of current Essential Skills practices aimed at increasing employability and employment for First Nations, Inuit and Métis youth and adults living in diverse environments and; • Increase capacity in the field by developing an Essential Skills (ES) community of practice engaged in the development and assessment of the inventory, the widespread dissemination of results and promotion of ongoing innovation through the sharing of best practices in Essential Skills application and evaluation. This project is meant to solidify the field’s understanding of the state of practice with respect to ES applications tailored to First Nations, Inuit and Métis populations, help “uncover” factors which contribute to strong employability and employment outcomes and, through the establishment of an ES community of practice, identify, share and promote innovation and excellence in service delivery and evaluation. The purpose of this literature review is to describe the current level of need for Essential Skill development among First Nations, Inuit and Métis, to explore the state of practice of Essential Skills initiatives with these populations in Canada and to examine innovative practices in an effort to determine potential “markers of excellence” in ES programming.