New report reveals the future of literacy in Canada's largest cities
OTTAWA, Sept. 8 /CNW/ - A new report from the Canadian Council on Learning (CCL) provides an unprecedented look at the future state of adult literacy in Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal, from 2001 through 2031.
Released to coincide with UNESCO International Literacy Day, The Future of Literacy in Canada's Largest Cities uses statistical projections to generate literacy profiles for the country's largest metropolitan areas. According to the report, the four cities will experience significant, above-average growth in the number of adults with low literacy in the coming decades.
CCL first drew attention to this issue in its 2008 report, Reading the Future: Planning to meet Canada's future literacy needs, which predicted that 47% of adults in Canada would be living with low prose literacy skills by 2031. (This is based on the number of people who scored below Level 3 on the International Adult Literacy and Skills Survey (IALSS), a survey conducted by Statistics Canada and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.)
CCL's new report goes a step further, offering a first-ever look at low literacy in specific cities. The report reveals that Ottawa can expect to see an 80% increase in adults with low literacy; from approximately 275,000 in 2001 to nearly 500,000 by 2031. Toronto and Vancouver meanwhile will experience increases of 64%, with the former jumping from 1.9 million in 2001 to nearly 3.2 million by 2013 and the latter from nearly 800,000 in 2001 to more than 1.3 million by 2031.
"These new numbers challenge the popular belief that the state of literacy in Canada will improve over time given Canada's growth in post-secondary graduates. The reality is that additional concentrated effort will be necessary," says Dr. Paul Cappon, President and CEO of CCL.
"Although the percentage with low literacy will change very little, we expect to see the number of adults living with low literacy increase by more than three million to 15 million within one generation. These numbers may appear distressing for municipal leaders and decision-makers, but I believe that this information can serve as a useful starting point to improve our literacy future."
The report shows that the key drivers behind this change are a spike in the population of seniors (as literacy skills tend to wane as people age) and the growing number of immigrants with low literacy. In fact, by 2031 Toronto is expected to be home to 1 in 5 of Canada's immigrants with low literacy.
In addition to the report, CCL has launched an updated and expanded version of its interactive PALMM tool (Projections of Adult Literacy—Measurement Movement), a free online program that allows users to calculate and compare future literacy rates for Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal—as well as 10 provinces and three territories.
"While the literacy outlook for Canada's major cities appears gloomy, CCL believes that with the right tools and knowledge—such as PALMM—it is well within our power to change the situation," says Cappon.
CCL is also able to produce similar literacy projections for 18 other cities and regions across Canada. For more information about our range of products and services, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information about The Future of Literacy in Canada's Largest Cities, or to try out the PALMM tool, go to www.ccl-cca.ca/readingthefuture
What is prose literacy and how is it measured?
Prose literacy refers to the knowledge and skills needed to understand and use information from text, such as news stories, editorials, poems and fiction. It is the most-commonly understood definition of literacy. Adult literacy is often measured on a prose literacy scale of 1 to 5. Level 3 is widely considered to be the minimum threshold for coping with the demands of the global knowledge-based economy.
The Canadian Council on Learning is an independent, not-for-profit corporation. Its mandate is to provide evidence-based information to Canadians so they can make the best decisions about learning throughout all stages of life, from early childhood through to the senior years.For further information:
|Sheena Powell |
Canadian Council on Learning
613.782.2959 ext: 6252
Canadian Council on Learning
613.782.2959 ext: 6243