Statement from a national network of organizations, people and researchers concerned about adult literacy in Canada

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Statement from a national network of organizations, people and researchers concerned about adult literacy in Canada

Choose success – Invest in literacy
Our world is transforming rapidly. Trends such as globalization, digitalization and demographic shifts are changing work, communities, the way society functions, and how people interact. In this environment literacy skills matter.
Literacy is more than reading and writing. It is about our ability to learn. It is about problem-solving and critical thinking. It is about accessing information and having the tools to understand and analyse that information. Literacy skills help us realize our life goals and meet the communication and information demands at work, at home, and in the community.
Literacy is about more than the individual person. It’s also about our country. Strong literacy and essential skills contribute to a strong economy, civic engagement, and a healthy population. Although Canada’s skills in general are above average, the proportion of those at the lowest levels has grown slightly over the past decade, and we have a striking digital literacy gap. We need a vision to ensure everyone has the skills to respond to the challenges and opportunities of a complex and rapidly changing world.
Why this matters:

  • Our standard of living will be secured and no one will be left behind
  • Our human rights commitments will be met
  • Our families and communities will be more resilient, informed and interconnected with access to digital tools and information
  • Our investment in education and learning will increase quality of life
  • Our economy will be strengthened by skilled workforce
  • Our democracy will be supported by civic engagement and participation

We can improve literacy in Canada. We can support people to participate in society and the economy. With leadership at the federal level leading to policy, funding, and conversation, we can achieve success for Canadians, today and for generations to come.
Canada needs:

  • A national literacy policy to ensure consistency and commitment to advancing literacy programming in Canada. While the provinces and territories deliver literacy programming, the federal government has a vital role to play in setting a national framework and honouring Canada’s international commitments. The federal government can support coordination across government and with other orders of government and stakeholders to ensure we make the most of everyone’s potential.
  • Federal funding for literacy to foster innovation, share best practices, and support accessible and affordable literacy programming for all adults who need it. The current federal government has taken steps by negotiating with the provinces and territories to provide literacy and essential skills training to the employed and unemployed. But much more can be done to enhance literacy levels in the family, at work and in the community particularly for Indigenous people, people living in Official Language minority communities, and those new to Canada.
  • Implement Canada’s international commitments on adult education including UNESCO’s Education 2030 Framework for Action (2015), Recommendation on the Development of Adult Education (2015) and Bélem Framework for Action (2009).
  • Conversations about lifelong learning to enable all adults to learn in a safe and supportive environment to reduce stigma and ensure success. We must increase access to technology and the learning and tools to use technology. Workplace literacy programs, family literacy activities, community-based programs, and financial and social supports will give everyone the opportunity to learn.

We call on all candidates in Canada’s 43rd general election to consider how they will address the literacy needs of Canadians. We call on you to choose success: invest in literacy.

Contact Us
Brigid Hayes (English)
(613) 614-2408
Daniel Baril (French)
(514) 602-4129

Post your support and comments on Twitter: #literacy4all and #alphabétisationpourtous
ABC Life Literacy Canada, Mack Rogers, Executive Director
Adult Basic Education Association, Sara Gill, Executive Director
AlphaPlus, Alan Cherwinski, Executive Director
Alphare, Annie Poulin, directrice générale
BC Health Literacy Networks
Canadian Labour Congress, Hassan Yussuff, President
Calgary Learns, Nancy Purdy, Executive Director
CanLearn Society, Krista Poole, CEO
Centre de documentation sur l’éducation des adultes et la condition féminine (CDÉACF)
Change Makers’ Education Society, Karen Buchanan, Executive Director
Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy, Desneiges Profili, Executive Director
Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy – Creston, Gillian Wells, Community Literacy Coordinator
Coalition ontarienne de formation des adultes, Gabrielle Lopez, directrice générale
Community Literacy of Ontario, Joanne Kaattari, Co-Executive Director
Decoda Literacy Solutions, Margaret Sutherland, Executive Director
Éduc à tout, Jacques Tétreault, Directeur
Fédération des maisons d’hébergement pour femmes, Adeline Jouve, Agente communication et promotion
Fédération du Québec pour le planning des naissances (FQPN), Julie Robillard, Co-coordinatrice
Frontier College, Stephen Faul, President & CEO
Réal Gosselin, tuteur (Université Sainte-Anne)
Brigid Hayes, Brigid Hayes Consulting
Institut de coopération pour l’éducation des adultes, (ICÉA) Daniel Baril, Directeur général
Lakes Literacy, Jennifer Petersen, Literacy Outreach Coordinator
Literacy Coalition of New Brunswick, Lynda Homer, Executive Director
Literacy Haida Gwaii, Beng Favreau, Executive Director
Literacy Link South Central, Tamara Kaattari, Executive Director
Literacy Matters Abbotsford, Sharon Crowley Literacy Outreach Coordinator
Literacy Nova Scotia, Jayne Hunter, Executive Director
Literacy Quebec, Gabrielle Thomas, Executive Director
North Coast Immigrant and Multicultural Services Society, Louisa Sanchez
NWT Literacy Council, Kathryn Barry Paddock, Executive Director
Ontario Native Literacy Coalition, Michelle Davis, CEO
Peter Gzowski Foundation for Literacy, Joanne Linzey, President
Christine Pinsent-Johnson, PhD, Alpha Plus & Adult Literacy and Lifelong Learning Researcher
Public Health Association of BC, Gord Miller, President; Shannon Turner, Executive Director
READ Saskatoon, Sheryl Harrow-Yurach, Executive Director
READ Surrey-White Rock, Dr. Allan Quigley, EdD, President
Margerit Roger, M.Ed., Eupraxia Training
Irving Rootman, Adjunct Professor, School of Public Health and Social Policy, University of Victoria
Saskatchewan Literacy Network, Phaedra Hitchings, Executive Director
Linda Shohet, Researcher & Consultant, Adult Education and Literacy
Pierre Simard, travailleur social (Montréal)
Suzanne Smythe, PhD, Associate Professor, Adult Literacy and Adult Education, Faculty of Education, Simon Fraser University
South Island Literacy, Mitra D. Evans, Westshore Literacy Outreach Coordinator
Matthias Sturm, AlphaPlus & Simon Fraser University
Diana Twiss, Chair, School of Access and Academic Preparation; Program Coordinator, Community Development & Outreach, Capilano University
Dr. Kathleen Venema, Associate Professor of English, University of Winnipeg
Donna Woloshyn
Yukon Learn Society, Julie Anne Ames, Executive Director
Yukon Literacy Coalition, Beth Mulloy, Executive Director



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