12 million adults have low literacy skills

Employers in unique position to increase literacy
By Shannon Klie
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 08/07/2008

Almost one-half of Canadian adults and 42 per cent of working-age Canadians are below the internationally accepted literacy standard for coping in a modern society, according to a report from the Canadian Council on Learning.

The proportion of Canadians with poor literacy skills is expected to remain at about 48 per cent for the next two decades as the council projects the number of Canadians with low levels of literacy will reach 15 million by 2031 — an increase of more than three million.

“We’re not talking about illiteracy, we’re talking about low levels of literacy. The reality is that there are very few people in Canada who can’t read or write, but there are many Canadians who don’t have the fluid, automatic reading skills to be able to interpret new texts or unfamiliar situations,” said Nadine Valk, senior program specialist at the Canadian Council on Learning (CCL) in Ottawa.