Government of Canada helps Canadians with disabilities improve their literacy and essential skills

BURNABY, BRITISH COLUMBIA, January 22, 2010—Adults with disabilities who have low literacy will benefit from a federally funded project aimed at expanding access to literacy and essential skills training. Senator Yonah Martin (new window) made the announcement today on behalf of the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development (new window).

“Our government strongly supports partnerships with organizations like the Neil Squire Society to improve the literacy and vocational skills that disabled Canadians require to help them get jobs and build better futures,” said Senator Martin. “In today’s economic environment, it is more important than ever that all Canadians have the skills they need to participate in the job market.”

The Neil Squire Society will receive $294,725 for its project entitled Distance Computer Comfort – Online Computer Tutoring for People with Physical Disabilities through the Adult Learning, Literacy and Essential Skills Program (new window). Based on the Society’s in-class Computer Comfort program, this project aims to increase access to literacy and essential skills training for lower-skilled adults with disabilities in rural and urban areas across Canada.

“This funding is instrumental in our effort to reach out across Canada,” said Dr. Gary Birch, Executive Director of the Neil Squire Society. “In particular, this program will enhance our capacity to reach Canadians with disabilities, some of whom are the most marginalized people in our society. We are extremely grateful to the Government of Canada for helping us to develop this program.”

Literacy and essential skills are key to ensuring that Canadians can fully participate and succeed in the workforce. The Government of Canada’s Office of Literacy and Essential Skills (new window) works with partners such as provincial and territorial governments, employers and community organizations to provide Canadians with the tools and supports they need to maximize opportunities for themselves, their families and their communities.

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This news release is available in alternative formats upon request.

For further information (media only):

Michelle Bakos
Press Secretary
Office of Minister Finley
819-994-2482

Media Relations Office
Human Resources and Skills Development Canada
819-994-5559
Backgrounder

About the Office of Literacy and Essential Skills

The Government of Canada created the Office of Literacy and Essential Skills as a centre of expertise for helping to increase the literacy and essential skills of adult Canadians. The Office focuses on improving the literacy and essential skills of adults to help them participate more fully in the workplace, the community and family life.

While Canada currently faces economic uncertainty, skills shortages remain a significant challenge. The Government of Canada is helping individuals develop the skills they need so they can get jobs and build better futures. To make this happen, the Government is investing $36 million this year in the Office of Literacy and Essential Skills.