moved for leave to introduce Bill C-327, An Act to establish a national literacy policy.
Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to have my bill seconded by the hon. member for Louis-Saint-Laurent, a wonderful colleague.
Today is a very auspicious day to table this bill because it is International Teachers' Day.
This bill, which would establish a national literacy policy in consultation with the provinces, businesses, unions, experts, media and the public, is intended to address the serious issue of literacy in Canada. The bill would impose a leadership role on the federal government to enable action in a coordinated way among all the parties that are already working in their individual jurisdictions. It would require the government to report to Parliament once a year on action that has been taken.
I wish today to recognize the efforts of volunteers across our country who are working to improve literacy in the country, including a number of Edmonton organizations: the Edmonton literacy coalition, the Centre for Family Literacy, PALS and the John Howard Society.
Four in 10 Canadian adults fall below the literacy requirement. By 2031, more than 15 million Canadian adults will have low literacy levels. Unless some action is taken to reverse this trend, it has been stated by OECD and a number of think tanks that we will face profound challenges for Canada's social well-being and economic prosperity.
Right now, 60% of immigrants have low literacy and among aboriginal people, including the Yukon, 69% of the aboriginal population in the Northwest Territories have low literacy, and 88% of Inuit. Of course, this is also affiliated with the fact that they are struggling to learn their own languages.
I look forward to the support of the House for improving literacy in Canada.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)