Statement by the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour to mark International Literacy Day

September 8, 2016                  Gatineau, Quebec                    Employment and Social Development Canada

The following statement was issued by the Honourable MaryAnn Mihychuk, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, today on the occasion of International Literacy Day:

Today is International Literacy Day, a day to celebrate national and international efforts made to increase literacy rates around the world. This year’s 50th anniversary theme “Reading the past, writing the future” addresses the ongoing challenge to improve literacy and essential skills in an ever-changing world.

We in Canada, in particular, know that literacy is the foundation of opportunity.

Literacy and essential skills involve more than reading and writing. It means the ability to identify, understand, interpret, communicate, compute and employ information in daily activities. These skills provide a foundation for further skills development and lifelong learning.

Around the world, improving literacy can improve the social and economic conditions and the health of people and communities. Here at home, it is no different.

We can, and must, do better. We must work harder for new Canadians, for Indigenous communities, for youth at risk, and for Canadians across the country, to help them develop the skills, like literacy that are vital to success.

Today, I salute and thank all of those who invest their time and effort to improve literacy, in Canada and around the world.


Associated Link

Literacy and essential skills


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John O’Leary
Director of Communications
Office of the Hon. MaryAnn Mihychuk, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour

Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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International Literacy Day

International Literacy Day is celebrated annually on September 8. This celebration was established in 1965 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to raise awareness about literacy and its importance in our daily lives.

Office of Literacy and Essential Skills

In 2007, the Government of Canada created the Office of Literacy and Essential Skills (OLES) to provide adult Canadians with the knowledge and skills they need to enter and succeed in the job market.

Through OLES, the Government works in partnership with provincial and territorial governments, employers and community organizations to provide Canadians with the tools and resources they need to take advantage of job opportunities, contribute to their communities and share in the country’s prosperity. OLES provides funding through the Adult Learning, Literacy and Essential Skills Program and the National Essential Skills Initiative.

The Government of Canada has identified nine essential skills that we all use in every job. These include reading text, document use, numeracy, writing, oral communication, working with others, thinking skills, digital skills and continuous learning. They are the foundation for learning all other skills and let us grow with our jobs and handle changes at work.

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