FREDERICTON (GNB) – The following statement was issued today by Premier Blaine Higgs in recognition of New Brunswick Literacy Day, Wednesday, April 17:

Literacy is a fundamental skill that everyone needs. It opens the door to opportunities, not just for individual New Brunswickers, but for our province.

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

The average adult literacy score in Canada and New Brunswick is at level two. One in five New Brunswickers have literacy levels that are below the average. Most individuals among this group do not have a high school diploma.

These are not just skills you need in the workplace, but ones you use every day in our increasingly technological world. These skills can help individuals reach their full potential, achieve their goals and take advantage of opportunities. Strong literacy rates are crucial to the future prosperity of our economy.

We are committed to working together to create a world-class education system in this province. No child should ever get a lesser education because they live in New Brunswick. Early literacy is the key to so much: good jobs, strong families and equal opportunity.

The earlier we can put our children on the right path, the better. We know it is important to act with urgency when children struggle, so that they do not fall through the cracks.

Our government is committed to improving education results by putting teachers back in control in the classroom. Teachers are at the frontline when it comes to early childhood literacy, but they cannot do it alone. We must all work together if we want to improve literacy skills and create a province we are all proud to call home.

On New Brunswick Literacy Day, we also take time to recognize the 2018 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.

The winners of these annual awards have faced obstacles, made tough choices, and by persevering have changed their lives for the better. The award winners from New Brunswick are Chantal Pelletier and Tyler Kerr. Their inspiring stories show us what is possible.

By working together, we can improve literacy levels in our province and create more of these success stories.