Literacy: A Cornerstone of the Innovation Agenda
We have serious literacy challenges in Canada: 22% of Canadian adults do not read well, and another 26% do not have the literacy skills necessary to contribute to the economic and social development of their communities and our country. (1) Addressing these literacy challenges is key to dealing with the most pressing issues of our time. It has implications for the workplace and the economy, innovation, child poverty, health, community safety / community development, immigrant settlement, social cohesion, and more.
The Canada of the future will need all hands on deck. Yet we are helping less than 10% of Canadians who could benefit from literacy training to develop their potential as workers, parents and citizens. (2)
In the 2001 and 2002 Throne Speeches, the federal government made a commitment to work with the provinces and territories and the voluntary sector to develop a national literacy strategy, as part of a comprehensive Innovation Agenda. The literacy community is eager to contribute to that development. As part of our contribution, we are in the process of developing our shared vision and agenda for adult literacy and essential skills. The realization of this vision and agenda will require action by many players, including the federal government; provincial and territorial governments; national, provincial / territorial literacy organizations; business and labour; other community partners; and individual learners and literacy workers.
In the following pages we propose guiding principles for a pan-Canadian strategy on literacy and essential skills, and outline actions we want the federal government to take in developing and implementing the strategy.
Guiding Principles for a Pan-Canadian Literacy Strategy
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