Canada's Education Ministers Take the Lead on Literacy


TORONTO, April 14, 2008 -- The Pan-Canadian Interactive Literacy Forum, an innovative event sponsored by Canada's education ministers through their intergovernmental body, the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC), is now under way in nine different locations across the country.

“We can't afford to be silent about the fact that millions of Canadians struggle with literacy,” said Shirley Bond, British Columbia's Minister of Education. “My province is proud to serve CMEC as the lead province for literacy because low literacy levels affect education, health, the economy, and more. Nothing can empower people and change individual lives like strong literacy skills.”

The forum marks the launch of CMEC's new literacy action plan, which aims to raise awareness about literacy issues and increase literacy rates from coast to coast to coast. The plan includes

  • sharing literacy policies among provincial and territorial governments
  • creating networks of organizations and individuals to gather and share teaching resources for learners of all ages
  • encouraging additional literacy research, statistics sharing, and the effective use of data


“Canada's education ministers recognize the fundamental importance of literacy for all Canadians,” said Kelly Lamrock, New Brunswick's Minister of Education and Chair for CMEC. “We are looking forward to hearing the views of participants at the forum to strengthen our action plan and move forward on a national literacy agenda.”

A first-of-its-kind event, the forum is using webcasting technology, including real-time streaming video, to connect 3,500 learners, literacy experts, and representatives from the education, non-profit, business, and labour sectors at sites across the country. Each site has its own theme, and these, taken together, tell a pan-Canadian story, speaking to the overall theme of the forum, which is “Literacy: more than words.” The individual site themes cover everything from Aboriginal to workplace literacy:


  • Arviat, Nunavut — Literacy: The Path to Success
  • Edmonton, Alberta — Literacy: Never Too Early, Never Too Late
  • Montreal, Quebec — Vision, Innovation, Participation
  • Regina, Saskatchewan — Aboriginal Literacy
  • Saint John, New Brunswick — Literacy: Passport to Prosperity
  • Toronto, Ontario — Literacy for Life!
  • Vancouver, British Columbia — Communities Working Together for Literacy
  • Whitehorse, Yukon — Building Literacy Communities through Technologies
  • Winnipeg, Manitoba — Literacy Works! Building a Skilled and Resilient Workforce


The forum will also result in a legacy of materials and resources that will be of use to educators, learners, literacy providers, and all Canadians for years to come.

“The Pan-Canadian Interactive Literacy Forum is a signature piece for Canada's diverse education systems,” said Raymond Théberge, Director General of CMEC. “It demonstrates how provinces and territories can work together to the benefit of all Canadians.”

CMEC is an intergovernmental body composed of the ministers responsible for elementary-secondary and advanced education from the provinces and territories. Through CMEC, ministers share information and undertake projects in areas of mutual interest and concern. Learn more about CMEC and the Pan-Canadian Interactive Literacy Forum by visiting

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Chris George
Tel.: (289) 241-4095

Colin Bailey
Tel: (416) 962-8100, ext. 259