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November 1, 2010
For immediate release

Atlantic Ministers of Education and Training Launch “Literacy: It means more than you think” Campaign

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Improving quality of life by increasing literacy and essential skills is the goal of a new Atlantic awareness campaign launched by the Council of Atlantic Ministers of Education and Training (CAMET). Ministers announced the joint initiative in their respective provinces by presenting the campaign’s French and English TV ads, which begin airing today on stations across the Atlantic region.

The campaign slogan, “Literacy: It means more than you think,” underlines the fact that literacy encompasses much more than reading, writing, and numeracy. It affects every aspect of an individual’s daily life, whether as a learner, employer, worker, or parent. The objective of the campaign is to increase awareness amongst Atlantic Canadians regarding the links between literacy levels and quality of life, health, the economy, and employment. It will further challenge more Atlantic Canadians to improve their essential skills by making literacy everyone’s business.

“Literacy and essential skills are the foundation for lifelong learning and play an integral role in the development of healthy families and communities, a more vibrant, efficient workforce, and a stronger economy in New Brunswick and across the Atlantic region,” said Martine Coulombe, Minister of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour. “Our government is committed to actively promoting literacy and today’s launch of this exciting, new regional campaign affirms this commitment.”

“Strong literacy skills instill confidence and empower Newfoundlanders and Labradorians with the tools they need to participate fully in both society and the workplace, from conducting on-line banking to helping children with their homework,” said Darin King, Minister of Education. “I am proud of the excellence of our adult literacy programs and services, and I am pleased to collaborate with our Atlantic partners in promoting improved literacy levels as an essential component in building a better future.”

In addition to highlighting the links between literacy levels and personal and professional development, the campaign reinforces the fact that in today’s knowledge-based society, literacy is vital to the Atlantic region’s economic progress. Studies such as the most recent International Adult Literacy and Skills Survey (IALSS) indicate that more than half of Atlantic Canadians have literacy and numeracy levels below the minimum skills levels needed for coping with the demands of everyday work and life.

“Improving literacy and essential skills is key to making life better for Nova Scotians,” said Marilyn More, Minister of Labour and Workforce Development. “The ‘Literacy: It means more than you think’ campaign reinforces this message. We hope it will inspire Atlantic Canadians to embrace lifelong learning and encourage them to find the many programs and opportunities in the region to improve essential skills.” “The ‘Literacy: It means more than you think’ campaign exemplifies the commitment Atlantic ministers made to work together to promote the social and economic benefits of literacy throughout the region,” said Allan Campbell, Minister of Innovation and Advanced Learning. “Prince Edward Island is committed to engaging learners, employers, and stakeholders in advancing literacy awareness. I look forward to continued collaboration with our Atlantic counterparts to strengthen literacy levels throughout the region.”

Literacy was identified as a priority with the signing of the Resolution Concerning Literacy by premiers at the January 2008 Meeting of Atlantic Cabinets. In response to the premiers’ resolution, on September 25, 2009, Atlantic ministers of education and training released Literacy: Key to Learning and Path to Prosperity– An Action Plan for Atlantic Canada 2009-2014. The regional literacy action plan outlines joint strategies ministers will undertake to promote literacy and improve literacy levels throughout the region. A component of the ministers’ plan is the development of an Atlantic literacy awareness campaign.

The Atlantic literacy campaign, “Literacy: It means more than you think,” will be implemented over four years, and is divided into two phases. Phase One of the campaign, delivered through the four French and four English TV ads, will inform Atlantic Canadians regarding the importance of strong literacy and essential skills. Phase Two of the campaign will mobilize partnerships with stakeholders and employers, and encourage adult learners to participate in adult learning programs.

For further information on the “Literacy: It means more than you think” campaign and to view the TV ads, please visit the CAMET website at

Additional information regarding provincial adult learning programs and services is available on the four provincial government websites.

CAMET is an agency of the Council of Atlantic Premiers (CAP), and its purpose is to enhance cooperation in public (Entry–12) and post-secondary education in Atlantic Canada by working together to improve learning, optimize efficiencies and bring added value to provincial initiatives.


Literacy on Prince Edward Island – Nov. 1, 2010

CAMET “Literacy: It means more than you think” Atlantic Canada literacy campaign

The “Literacy: It means more than you think” campaign by the Council of Atlantic Ministers of Education and Training (CAMET) will be implemented over four years, and divided into two phases. The goal of Phase One (years one and two) is to create public awareness of what literacy means and how important literacy is to our daily lives. These empowering messages will be delivered through the campaign’s television advertising.

The focus of Phase Two (Years three and four) of the campaign will be on encouraging potential learners to participate in adult learning programs, as well as developing more grassroots tactics to enhance and mobilize partnerships among employers, adult learning, and community organizations.

Beginning November 1, with the launch of the campaign by ministers, these television advertisements will run for four weeks on stations across the four Atlantic provinces. The stations include ATV Maritimes, CBC Halifax, CBC Fredericton, CBC Charlottetown, CBC Newfoundland and Labrador, NTV, and CBAFT.

A second four-week flight of the TV advertisements will take place in year two of the campaign. The ads will air across the same Atlantic stations.

Literacy Statistics

In 2007, there were 40,000 of 94,000 Islanders between the ages of 16 and 65 lacking the literacy skills needed to be successful in a knowledge-based economy. This is 42 per cent of the age group who for the most part make up the workforce.

Also in 2007, almost 46 per cent of youth aged 16-25 had low literacy performance.

Government actions

Some recent government initiatives to promote literacy include:

• In 2009-2010, Prince Edward Island led North America in the percentage of people who achieved the Grade 12 Equivalency Certificate through the GED process.

• the Literacy Action Plan for Atlantic Canada, which has seen the Atlantic ministers of education and training commit $1.5 million over the next five years to improve literacy learning for all age groups;

• the Primary Literacy Intervention Program (PLIP), which has given grade two and three students focused help with literacy for the last three years;

• allocating $195,000 since 2006 in Family Literacy Grants to improve children’s literacy skills, support parents to teach their children and support schools to engage parents and students in literacy learning; and

• Reading Recovery® English Implementation, grade one students with literacy difficulties received 12-20 week training courses from trained Reading Recovery® teachers, and professional development is being provided to 40 teachers.

• The Literacy and Adult Basic Education program was developed in 1997 to respond to the learning needs of adult Islanders who for whatever reason did not have success in completing high school in their years in the school system.

• 800-1000 Islanders participate in literacy and upgrading classes annually. The program includes literacy for low level learners, Pre-GED and GED Prep, and credits for high school attainment.

Partners in the Community

Some actions by government’s partners in the community to promote literacy:

• PEI Volunteers for Literacy provide one on one tutoring for adult Islanders who want to read better.

• Workplace Learning PEI Inc., a partnership of business, labour and government ensures literacy, essential skills training and assessments for the workforce and workplace.

• PEI Literacy Alliance helps make it easier for people with low literacy to get help, encourages Islanders to build their literacy and learning skills for the benefit of their economic, cultural, political, social and personal lives.

• Holland College delivers and manages the Literacy and Adult Basic Education Program , province-wide and researches literacy and adult learning that assists in future program planning.

• College Acadie delivers and manages the Literacy and Adult Basic Education Program to our Acadian community.

• University of Prince Edward Island provides training for educators, has been instrumental in family literacy research.

Media Contact: Ron Ryder
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