FREDERICTON (GNB) – The following message was issued today by Premier Brian Gallant on the occasion of New Brunswick Literacy Day, Wednesday, April 18:

Literacy is a fundamental skill that helps unleash one's potential. Strong literacy rates are crucial to the future prosperity of our economy.

Unfortunately, many New Brunswick adults face challenges with literacy and numeracy skills, particularly at the level required for working in a knowledge-based economy.

Job creation and economic growth are priorities for New Brunswickers and your government is committed to ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to develop the skills they need to reach their full potential and achieve their goals. When individuals do well, so do their families, communities and employers.

If we want to improve the quality of life for New Brunswick families, we know that one of the best investments we can make is in education and training. This is an investment that will also help ensure long-term economic growth.

Last year your government released a new literacy strategy, Unleashing the power of literacy: New Brunswick’s Comprehensive Literacy Strategy. The strategy highlights key action areas for improving literacy skills for all New Brunswickers at every step along the continuum of learning, from early childhood to adult and lifelong learning.

Since the release of the strategy, your government has been working collaboratively with literacy partners across the province. To achieve full success, we will continue our strong collaboration with our valuable community partners, including businesses, public libraries, non-governmental organizations, post-secondary institutions and volunteers. By working together we can improve family literacy levels in our province.

In addition, the multi-year New Brunswick Economic Growth Plan aims to maintain an educated workforce, and improving literacy is one of the steps to get there. Literacy is also a key component of the New Brunswick Family Plan framework document as it relates to lifting people out of poverty. And our 10-year education plans recognize that students need to make a seamless transition between learning to read and reading to learn. We are seeing improvements, for the first time in six years there was an improvement in the Grade 2 reading assessment results in the anglophone sector based on the 2016-17 provincial assessment.

On New Brunswick Literacy Day we also take the time to recognize contributions through the Council of the Federation Literacy Awards. The premiers and territorial leaders created the awards in 2004 to recognize the importance of literacy as an essential building block to a vibrant society and economy. This year, we are pleased to recognize the hard work and dedication of two adult literacy teachers in the province; Lise Beaulieu and Howard Lane.

  • Beaulieu has been an instructor for 15 years at the Centre d’apprentissage adapté pour adultes at the Atelier Tournesol in Edmundston. She implemented the Braille Literacy Program in the northwest. Beaulieu helps people with visual barriers to improve their reading and writing skills and knowledge to access post-secondary training or a job. Aware that it is important to respect the learners’ pace and their differences, she delivers the program according to their needs and level of knowledge, while showing them the many opportunities open to them. Beaulieau conveys courage, strength of character, and resilience to the learners through her teaching.
  • Working in the Miramichi region, Howard Lane’s educational philosophy, authentic application and practical approach evokes his compassion and advocacy for adults who occasionally may be marginalized from the mainstream due to physical, social, or emotional issues. He launched the Cooking to Learn Program as well as other initiatives, including the national-award-winning program Achieve. Lane's dedication, love for what he does, and love for who he teaches is exemplary.

Together, with a strategic and collaborative approach to support literacy, we will create a job-ready workforce for generations to come and ensure that every New Brunswicker is able to fully thrive in their community.