|literacy.ca||Volume 5, No. 2, Winter 2003|
Reviewing the Canadian Literacy Scene
The surveys revealed that many of us who work in literacy are so stretched that it is difficult to find the thinking time needed to reflect on issues outside our region or province or sometimes even beyond the doors of our programs! This section will help you recap some key elements about how our adult literacy programs are delivered and supported.
Canada is one of the few industrialized countries without a national system for adult basic education.
In Canada, literacy and adult basic education, like most social issues (welfare, health, education, training) fall mainly under the jurisdiction of provincial and territorial governments. The federal government does play a role in developing policy directions and in providing some funds for literacy initiatives through provincial transfer payments, Labour Market Development Agreements, other specialized federally delivered programs, and the National Literacy Secretariat.
The mandate of the NLS is to share information and expertise on literacy issues and act as a catalyst for literacy action on behalf of Canadians. With an annual budget of about $30 million, it supports a number of projects and initiatives to develop learning materials; improve access to literacy programs; increase public awareness of the importance of literacy; improve coordination and information among literacy partners, and advance literacy research. The NLS does not fund the delivery of direct, ongoing literacy training.
The provincial and
Within the provinces and territories, adult literacy programs may be delivered by various providers including colleges, school boards, unions and community based agencies. They may deliver targeted services to various population groups including Aboriginal, Deaf (or Deaf-Blind), Francophone, Anglophone, developmentally delayed, prison inmates, workers, and/or unemployed literacy learners. A significant amount of literacy training in this country is delivered by trained volunteers.
Each province and territory has a coalition that is funded to provide support and services to literacy organizations within their region.
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