Mr. Speaker, as we welcome representative organizations to Parliament Hill for the annual Literacy Action Day, we are reminded of the theme that inspires this gathering, that literacy is for life.
Indeed, literacy engages and impacts upon every aspect of our individual lives. It is at the core of our early childhood learning, our personal development, our economic opportunity and our capacity to participate fully in all aspects of life and society, from individual and family literacy to workplace and political literacy. It is no less vital to us as a people, for in a knowledge based economy literacy has a crucial role to play in ensuring that Canada continues to be a productive, competitive and economically secure environment.
Regrettably, the final report of the International Adult Literacy Survey revealed that some 40% of Canadians between the ages of 16 and 65 have very low or limited levels of literacy, while 8 million Canadians, or 2 in 5 working age Canadians, do not even have the skills to contribute as full participants in our society and economy.
Accordingly, I am encouraged that the government's skills and learning agenda and the Speech from the Throne reaffirmed the government's commitment to knowledge as the engine of the new economy with the imperatives of literacy at its core.