Canada's Prosperity will Suffer Without Federal Support for Digital Literacy

OTTAWA, July 7 /CNW Telbec/ - Canada's leading digital literacy organization, Media Awareness Network (MNet), is sounding the alarm that Canada will continue to trail other countries in productivity and innovation unless a national plan for digital literacy is put in place.

In its submission to the Government of Canada's consultation on the digital economy MNet asserts that there is a connection between Canada's declining performance in the digital economy and its failure to develop a national digital literacy strategy. The paper, Digital Literacy in Canada: From Inclusion to Transformation, calls on the federal government to take a leadership role in supporting solutions that will create citizens who know how to use digital technologies to their fullest and can think critically about digital content.

"Canada is at a crossroads", says Jane Tallim, MNet's Co-Executive Director, "we can either continue with our traditional ways of doing business and educating our students, workers, and citizens, or we can seize the new economic, social, and cultural opportunities generated by digital technologies. Other countries are recognizing digital literacy as a key cornerstone of their economic plans; Canada must do the same or risk falling behind."

"Digitally literate citizens have the skills to take advantage of e-commerce, e-government and e-health services, and know how to use technology effectively for communication, collaboration and creation. These are skills that all Canadians - from children to seniors - need for active participation in a digital society." concludes Ms. Tallim.

MNet outlines several action items the government needs to take to support digital literacy in Canada, including the immediate steps of:

    
    -   creating a digital literacy taskforce to develop a blueprint for a
        National Digital Literacy Strategy;
    -   supporting national research on the digital skills needed by Canadian
        children and youth; and
    -   facilitating a summit of key stakeholders to discuss implementation
        through the education, government, community, and job training
        sectors.
    

To read the discussion paper Digital Literacy in Canada: From Inclusion to Transformation, visit: http://www.media-awareness.ca/english/corporate/media_kit/reports-publications.cfm.

Media Awareness Network (MNet) is a Canadian not-for-profit centre of expertise in media and digital literacy. Its vision is to ensure children and youth possess the necessary critical thinking skills and tools to understand and actively engage with media. MNet's programs are funded by its public and private sector sponsors and partners, who include: CTVglobemedia - Canwest - TELUS - Bell - Canadian Internet Registration Authority - National Film Board of Canada. (http://www.media-awareness.ca/)

SOURCE MEDIA AWARENESS NETWORK

For further information: For further information: Ann Marie Paquet, Communications Officer, Media Awareness Network, 613-224-7721, ext. 231, apaquet@media-awareness.ca

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MEDIA AWARENESS NETWORK

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