Low literacy levels threaten Canada's economic future: ABC CANADA comments on new report Reading the Future



    TORONTO, June 12 /CNW/ - ABC CANADA Literacy Foundation believes the
Canadian Council on Learning's Reading the Future offers a clear picture of
Canada's low literacy levels. According to Reading the Future, the forecasted
number of Canadians with low skills will increase by more than three million
to 15 million by 2031.
    "The Canadian economy will suffer as the number of Canadians with low
literacy skills increases, so we need to prepare workers for shifts in their
industry and new technologies," says Margaret Eaton, president of ABC CANADA
Literacy Foundation.
    ABC CANADA thinks Reading the Future offers feasible recommendations
based on the perspective that Canada's economic and social well-being, health
and competitiveness are strongly linked to literacy levels. The creation of
accessible literacy programs that address the needs of the individuals facing
literacy challenges today is key. Reading the Future profiles these Canadians
as employed and unaware of the extent of their literacy challenges. It also
explains that those with low literacy skills have mastered the mechanics of
reading, but lack the ability to deal with complex texts. This means millions
of Canadians will not be able to carry out the tasks required in the emerging
economy.
    "It is becoming increasingly clear that Canadian businesses and
governments need to make an investment if the country is to stay competitive,"
states Eaton. "We know from the report that a large percentage of those with
low literacy skills are employed, so the workplace is the ideal venue to
address literacy training. This is underscored by the report's strong
recommendation for upgrading programs supported by the private and public
sector."

    ABC CANADA Literacy Foundation is Canada's private-sector voice
championing adult literacy. The national charity envisions a Canada where
individuals, regardless of their circumstances, are provided the opportunities
to increase the skills that prepare people for realizing their full potential
at work, at home and in the community. To learn more about literacy, visit
www.abc-canada.org.





For further information:

For further information: Ashley Tilley, Communications Co-ordinator, ABC
CANADA, Literacy Foundation, (416) 218-0010 ext. 127, atilley@abc-canada.org

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ABC Life Literacy Canada

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