FREDERICTON (GNB) – The following statement was issued today by Premier Blaine Higgs in recognition of New Brunswick Literacy Day, Wednesday, April 21:

As we work toward our goals of creating a world-class education system and energizing the private sector, we recognize the importance of literacy.

The most recent international data on adult literacy has both concerning and encouraging news. The average literacy score for New Brunswick adults was about five points lower than the Canadian average (268 compared to 273); however, the statistics also indicate that, among people with a bachelor-level education, New Brunswickers scored above the national average in both literacy and numeracy. This suggests that, given the right tools, we are able to compete academically and in the world of work. It also reinforces the importance of promoting literacy initiatives to adults with lower levels of education, so they can improve their standing in the workforce and in life.

On New Brunswick Literacy Day, we take time to recognize and congratulate the 2020 Recipients of the Council of the Federation Literacy Award. 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.

Élizabeth (Betty) Levasseur of Lac Baker has been involved in literacy for more than 30 years. She was instrumental in volunteering and raising funds for the Community Adult Learning Centre in Clair. She has also served as counsellor, vice-president and president of the Alpha la Vallée lnc. Regional Committee in Edmundston.

Peter Sawyer of Moncton has worked in adult literacy since the late 1970s. As chair of the Greater Moncton Literacy Council, he helped establish Laubach Literacy Canada. He is also a founding member of the Laubach Literacy provincial chapter and has been involved with the provincial Literacy Coalition and Writer’s Federation and the Frye Festival.

Literacy is fundamental in our educational institutions and in our workplaces; without it our challenges are greater, but with it, our potential – as individuals and as a province – increases exponentially. With a solid foundation of literacy and numeracy skills, I am confident we can reach our objectives and create a brighter future for all New Brunswickers.