Council of the Federation Announces Literacy Award Winners for 2008

    QUEBEC CITY, July 17 /CNW Telbec/ - Provincial and territorial Premiers
today announced the recipients of the fourth annual Council of the Federation
Literacy Award. The award recognizes outstanding achievement and excellence in
literacy. It is presented to educators, volunteers, learners, community
organizations, non-governmental organizations and businesses.

    The recipients of the 2008 Council of the Federation Literacy Award are:

    Daniel Haines - Alberta
    Janice Douglas - British Columbia
    Anita Martens - Manitoba
    Greg Drewett - New Brunswick
    Rinette Bouchard - New Brunswick
    Lillian Moores - Newfoundland and Labrador
    Mardy Voudrach - Northwest Territories
    Harris J. Hayne - Nova Scotia
    Niutaq Cultural Institute - Nunavut
    Alfred Jean-Baptiste - Ontario
    PEI Literacy Alliance - Prince Edward Island
    Autumn Lane Rice - Québec
    Irene Jacques - Saskatchewan
    Gordon Hardie - Yukon

    Premiers recognize that literacy is a key element enabling labour force
participation, which in turn contributes to productivity and the country's
economic well-being. In 2004, Premiers created this award in recognition of
the importance of literacy as an essential building block to a vibrant society
and economy.
    "I am pleased to congratulate the recipients of this year's Council of
the Federation Literacy Award," said Jean Charest, Premier of Québec and
incoming Chair of the Council of the Federation. "On behalf of all Premiers, I
applaud the exceptional efforts and outstanding contributions of these
individuals and organizations. Their hard work and accomplishments are worthy
of recognition by Canadians across the country."
    Each award recipient receives a certificate, signed by their Premier, as
well as a Council of the Federation Literacy Award medallion.

    The Council of the Federation comprises all thirteen provincial and
territorial Premiers. It enables Premiers to work collaboratively to
strengthen the Canadian federation by fostering a constructive relationship
among the provinces and territories and with the federal government.

    To learn more, visit

                           Biographical Information
           2008 Council of the Federation Literacy Award Recipients

    Daniel Haines - Alberta

    Daniel Haines is a student with Project Adult Literacy Society (PALS).
While continuing to improve his own reading and writing skills with a
one-on-one tutor, Daniel has gained immense confidence and became a strong
advocate for adult literacy. He speaks openly about the stress he felt hiding
his literacy difficulties in the workforce for 30 years. In 2003, he became
involved in the Students for Students Steering Committee at PALS, and in 2004,
was nominated as a Student Director on the board of Literacy Alberta. He is
currently Alberta's Learner Representative in the Movement for Canadian
Literacy, sits on three literacy boards, and has attended focus groups in
Ottawa with the National Libraries Summit. This past year, Daniel organized a
focus group in Edmonton as part of the national survey on Literacy and Health.
He was also part of the first adult learner group to speak to a Senate
committee. He is well-respected as a leader and mentor among his peers, and is
known for his hard work, humor and passion for literacy.

    Janice Douglas - British Columbia

    Janice Douglas began her career in literacy as a children's librarian in
1967. She is a tireless leader in the library community and has contributed to
the development of literacy for all. Janice was a founding board member and
former chair of Word-on-the-Street (a national literacy festival), a founding
partner for Family Literacy Week in British Columbia, and a supporter of the
introduction of Mother Goose programming around Vancouver. While her work has
had a positive influence on children's reading activity in Vancouver, Janice
has not neglected adults. She developed One Book One Vancouver, an adult
literacy program designed to get the whole city reading the same book. She
also created Man in the Moon, a literacy program for male caregivers and their
children. With 40 years experience behind her, Janice continues to be a
literacy champion in her current role as Staff Liaison on the Community
Relations Committee at the Vancouver Public Library.

    Anita Martens - Manitoba

    Anita Martens arrived in Canada in the late seventies filled with hopes
of a bright future but soon found herself in a difficult situation. She was a
single mother with three small children and limited English skills. Years
later, Anita spent a few months in a literacy course and began to dream of
continuing her education. Her confidence grew as her skills improved. She
continues to work hard to improve her English and complete her Grade 12. Her
goal is to attend college to become a health care unit clerk. Anita is
generous and always happy to assist others. She volunteers once a week at the
local Health Sciences Centre, and is a member of the Learner Speakers' Bureau
and the Student Advisory Group. In April 2008, she was a member of the adult
learner caucus at the Council of Ministers of Education Pan-Canadian Literacy
Forum. Her motto, "I decided to get better instead of bitter," perfectly
summarizes her quest to overcome barriers of language, education, and personal
circumstance in order to better herself.

    Greg Drewett - New Brunswick

    Greg Drewett knew he needed to improve his literacy skills when, at 32,
he lost his job as a plumber's assistant because he did not have the necessary
certification. With severe dyslexia, he had dropped out of school in Grade 9.
At first, it seemed this would prevent him from getting his General
Educational Development (GED). However, in the past two years, Greg has
benefited from an amazing level of support from volunteer tutoring, a
community-based literacy class and a special class at the community college.
With a community fund-raiser to help with living expenses, dedication, and
much hard work, Greg was able to pass the GED exams this spring. He now
expects to go back to work for his former employer and start his
apprenticeship at the New Brunswick Community College.

    Rinette Bouchard - New Brunswick

    While still a young girl, Rinette Bouchard had to leave school to take
care of her ill parents. She was a model student, but circumstances prevented
her from returning to school. Several years passed, and Rinette still dreamed
of earning her diploma, improving her skills and obtaining a better job. After
making the decision to go back to school at the age of 56, nothing could stop
her. Rinette completed the three intermediate levels of French and Mathematics
in record time. She then worked tirelessly to prepare herself to write the GED
exams. Rinette passed all five of her exams on her first try. She was able to
apply for the jobs of her choice and returned to the labour market in the
field she had always preferred: health.

    Lillian Moores - Newfoundland and Labrador

    Lillian Moores has been involved with literacy in Newfoundland and
Labrador since 1989. Currently she is a board member of Literacy Newfoundland
and Labrador and an Adult Basic Education instructor at the College of the
North Atlantic in Grand Falls-Windsor. Ms. Moores has been an avid volunteer
giving of her personal time to assist learners and communities in responding
to literacy needs. She served as President of the Newfoundland and Labrador
Laubach Literacy Council for three years and also served a ten-year term as
Provincial Training Officer for the province. In this position Ms. Moores
represented Newfoundland and Labrador nationally on a literacy board.
Ms. Moores received the Volunteer of the Year Award for Laubach Literacy in
2006 and the Canada Post Educator Award in 2007.

    Mardy Voudrach - Northwest Territories

    As an infant, Mardy Voudrach was stricken with meningitis. The disease
impeded Mardy's ability to learn and left her with a partially paralyzed hand
and tongue. Despite her tragic start in life, Mardy has demonstrated an
exemplary level of courage and determination in advancing her literacy and her
life. Prior to enrolling in a one-on-one tutoring program in Tuktoyaktuk, she
could not read or write, and spoke very little. In the past year, she has
worked very hard on her literacy studies while continuing physical training
for her hand and tongue. Mardy can now speak clearly, do basic math, read and
write texts, use a computer, and operate a digital camera. Since improving her
literacy skills, Mardy has started her first job. Her employer describes her
as "a great asset to our workplace," while highlighting her "very positive
work ethic."

    Harris J. Hayne - Nova Scotia

    After more than 20 years, Harris J. Hayne's decision to return to
learning was not an easy one. He dreamed of becoming a power engineer but
learned from the Antigonish County Adult Learning Association (ACALA) that he
read at a seventh-grade level. By studying on his own throughout the summer,
he was able to improve his reading to a tenth-grade level. He continued to
work with the ACALA and, in June 2007, acquired his Nova Scotia High School
Graduation Diploma for Adults. Harris showed determination, a strong work
ethic, and provided leadership to his fellow students. He took time out of his
schedule to talk to and motivate those around him. One year after his decision
to return to learning, Harris is on the honour roll as a power engineering
student at Nova Scotia Community College.

    The Niutaq Cultural Institute - Nunavut

    The Niutaq Cultural Institute is located in Igloolik, Nunavut, and serves
the thirteen communities of the Baffin Region. Their goal is to preserve Inuit
culture and beliefs. This is done partly through two major projects:
traditional knowledge transcribing and wildlife traditional knowledge
transcribing. The institute, in collaboration with the Qikiqtani Inuit
Association, recently produced a collection of oral histories. Unikkaaqtuat
Qikiqtaniinngaaqtut: Traditional Stories from the Qikiqtani Region, Volume 1:
Arctic Bay and Igloolik, was published in syllabics and translated to English.
The Niutaq Cultural Institute plans to publish additional traditional stories
in October 2008.

    Alfred Jean-Baptiste - Ontario

    Alfred Jean-Baptiste is a recognized community leader who has been
raising public awareness and understanding of the issue of literacy for nearly
20 years. His leadership and creative approach to adult learning has helped
raise the profile of literacy in Toronto and increase accessibility to
academic upgrading programs. Alfred joined the Toronto East End Literacy
Project (now the Centre for Community Learning & Development) in 1989 as a
program coordinator and became Executive Director in 1998. He played a leading
role in the development of Toronto's first community-based pathway to higher
education for adult learners and supported the creation of a highly-regarded
consulting service that raises public awareness of the impact of inaccessible
language on people at all literacy levels. Alfred is the author of several
books and publications on literacy, equity and participatory research.

    The PEI Literacy Alliance - Prince Edward Island

    The PEI Literacy Alliance is an umbrella group for organizations with an
interest in literacy. Their mission is to "advance literacy for everyone in
PEI." In the past two years, they have given away $16,000 worth of bursaries
and scholarships to adult learners. In 2007, they tutored 769 children in
their Summer Tutoring Program, completed two health literacy research
projects, and raised $36,000 for literacy projects. Their membership has
steadily increased over the years to a total of 29.

    Autumn Lane Rice - Québec

    Autumn Lane Rice lives in the Outaouais region. While attending school as
a child, she experienced intense periods of rejection and loneliness. This
left her with a negative image of schooling in general and prevented her from
completing her education. In 2003, she found an ad for a community literacy
course and signed up. She now sees the difference this course has made in all
aspects of her life. She is more confident, has better interactions with
others, can read and write properly, and has improved her working conditions.
Through learning, Autumn has overcome obstacles and has profoundly contributed
to her personal, social, and working life.

    Irene Jacques - Saskatchewan

    Irene Jacques, an Elder from Standing Buffalo First Nations, has been a
strong advocate for Aboriginal literacy since the 1990's and an inspiration to
all. As a mother of 10 with many grandchildren and great grandchildren, Irene
Jacques, or Eagle Woman in Dakotan, knew from personal experience that
literacy and continuing education played a vital role in the involvement and
success of Aboriginal people in Canadian society. She first became involved in
literacy as an Elder advisor to the Saskatchewan Literacy Network. She has
served numerous literacy committees including the Circle of Learning Literacy
Benchmarks Advisory Committee, the Justice Literacy Advisory Committee, and
the National Aboriginal Literacy Design Committee. Irene is a founding member
and the first president of Canada's National Indigenous Literacy Association
and a founding member of the Saskatchewan Aboriginal Literacy Network.

    Gordon Hardie - Yukon

    Gordon Hardie dropped out of school without being taught to read and
write properly. Since deciding to return to learning using the Wilson Reading
Program, Gordon has become increasingly involved in promoting literacy in the
Yukon. Gordon is the Adult Learner Representative for the Literacy Action
Network - a group of learners that meets twice a year in Ottawa to discuss
issues related to being an adult learner in Canada. He is a winner of the
Canada Post Award for Adults Learners and sits on the steering committee for
the Literacy Gathering in Dawson City in May 2009. He was also declared a
Literacy Hero by the Yukon Literacy Coalition. Gordon actively promotes
literacy at the grass roots level. He is self-motivated and a determined
leader who desires literacy for all Yukoners.

For further information:

For further information: Hugo D'Amours, Press Secretary, Office of the
Québec Premier, (418) 643-5321,; Loretta O'Connor,
Executive Director, Council of the Federation Secretariat, (613) 563-4066,

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