Candidates: where do you stand on Literacy?
Advancing Literacy in Canada: An urgent call to action
In today's rapidly-changing world, a solid literacy foundation – both for individuals and for our society – is more important than ever before. Yet according to a study recently released by Statistics Canada, 2 out of 5 Canadians do not have the literacy skills necessary to meet the demands of today's information-based society. This is a national issue and demands national attention.
The economic and social benefits to be gained from improving literacy are huge. A recent report from the CD Howe Institute shows that a 1% rise in literacy would raise Canada’s productivity and increase our GDP by as much as $18 billion a year! Also, addressing literacy is key to addressing many of our most pressing social issues – contributing to better outcomes for children; greater equity for Aboriginal peoples; smoother integration of newcomers; lower healthcare costs; less poverty; safer communities; greater civic participation; and more.
Despite the potential benefits, only a small percentage of Canadians who need help are getting the supports and training they need. Across the country, literacy organizations have been trying to address our literacy challenges with too few resources, and without the benefit of a coordinated national vision and strategy.
The time is right for federal leadership.
Literacy is too important to our nation not to have national leadership, vision, and a comprehensive pan-Canadian strategy. The literacy community is not alone in calling for action on literacy. The call has been echoed by a wide range of stakeholders. An all party Parliamentary Standing Committee, a multi-sectoral Minister’s Advisory Committee, provincial and territorial government leaders, and also leaders from business, labour, and the Aboriginal community have all identified literacy as a priority.
Your responses to the following questions will give us an idea of where you stand on literacy. Thank you for taking the time to respond.
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