Today is International Literacy Day, and it’s a time to reflect on the importance of education, learning and skill development in rapidly evolving workplaces.
Unions play an important role in ensuring workers can make gains in their workplaces by improving their skills through workplace programs. We know that adult literacy programs are vital to many people in our cities and towns who try to build better lives for themselves and their families.
Workers need these programs to gain the essential skills required to participate in our increasingly digital and high tech economy. We must also work and build on apprenticeship programs to help workers get the certifications they want and or train to get a trade.
We must also build on family literacy programs and supports for skill-building opportunities for our children as the parents work to build essential skills. Learning can and must become a family affair for those with families. Almost 50 per cent of Atlantic Canadians do not have the literacy and essential skills required to work and thrive in a knowledge-based, digital society.
There has never been a more important time to support adult and family literacy programs, and apprenticeship programs.
The federal government must restore core funding to literacy organizations across Canada. Without federal funding, literacy organizations are being forced to lay off staff, reduce programs, and turn away those in need of skills training. PEI just announced its closing its provincial literacy organization and others have done the same. Without these programs, thousands of people will not be able to build the skills they need to get better job. Without federal core funding, the organizational capacity at literacy Nova Scotia continues to erode and our ability to leverage funds for important project work is significantly diminished. We need help and it’s time the Federal Government restores funding to these important programs.
Nova Scotia Federation of Labour President Danny Cavanagh is also the Board Chair for Literacy Nova Scotia