News Release - Manitoba

April 14, 2008

ADULT LEARNERS TO BENEFIT FROM PROVINCE'S NEW LITERACY INITIATIVES: MCGIFFORD

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New Strategy Launched, Support Increased By $1.1 Million, Literacy Act Proclaimed
Adult learners will have more opportunities to better their lives with several new initiatives to strengthen and support adult learning and literacy, Advanced Education and Literacy Minister Diane McGifford announced today at the opening of the first Pan-Canadian Interactive Literacy Forum.
 
“Literacy skills affect every facet of our lives.  Our increased support of literacy is an investment in healthier communities as Manitobans are better equipped and fully able to participate as citizens,” said McGifford.  “We live in an information age where increasing literacy skills is essential to meeting the growing demands of the knowledge-based economy.”
 
The government will invest an additional $1.1 million in adult learning and literacy in Budget 2008.  The new investment brings to $19.3 million the support for adult learning and literacy.  The Manitoba government has more than doubled funding for adult literacy programs since 1999.
 
The minister also announced public consultations to develop a new adult literacy strategy.  Consultation throughout Manitoba will begin this month and conclude this summer.  In addition, workshops held at the forum over the next two days will provide additional insight and feedback for development of the strategy.
 
The minister also confirmed the proclamation of Manitoba’s Adult Literacy Act, the first of its kind in Canada, which will come into effect on Jan. 1, 2009, and will guide efforts to improve adult literacy levels across the province.  The act strengthens the existing collaboration between government and community stakeholders to promote the development of a more strategic and effective approach to addressing literacy. The act also formalizes in law the governance of the current adult literacy program and refines the criteria for funding, program standards and student outcomes.  
 
Education, Citizenship and Youth Minister Peter Bjornson and Competitiveness, Training and Trade Minister Andrew Swan also invited the literacy community to take part in the country’s first
Pan-Canadian Interactive Literacy Forum, Literacy, More than Words, being held today and tomorrow.  Both ministers noted that high literacy levels are as important in the workplace as they are in school.
  
The Council of Ministers of Education, Canada has joined provincial and territorial governments to highlight a range of literacy issues countrywide.  During the Pan-Canadian Forum, Manitoba participants will focus on literacy levels and how they impact labour productivity.
 
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