We are delighted to share that a Strong Start Education Caucus has been formed at Queen’s Park, supported by 15 MPPs from across the communities where Strong Start is delivering its Letters, Sounds and Word program.

This group of impassioned leaders, representing all parties, believes in the importance of literacy for children and come to the table ready to work together to create the brightest future for the children of Ontario. They are using their profile, networks and influence to raise awareness for our cause and make important introductions for Strong Start throughout the province of Ontario.

Waterloo MPP Catherine Fife used her Member’s Statement to highlight the work of Strong Start which is featured below:

Strong Start thanks former MPP and Speaker Dave Levac for getting the Caucus started while he was still serving. We also appreciate his willingness to serve as our Volunteer Caucus Advisor.

The purpose of the Strong Start Education Caucus is to harness the profile and influence of Members of Provincial Government (MPPs) to raise awareness and support for Strong Start’s Letters Sounds and Words program in communities across the province of Ontario.

A transcript of MPP Fife’s statement is below:

Members Statement, Catherine Fife June 19, 2019

Strong Start began as a community project in 2001 in Kitchener Waterloo. Today it is a charitable organization that trains thousands of volunteers across Southwestern Ontario to work one on one with young children to help them learn to read. The Waterloo Catholic and Waterloo District School Boards are early adopters and I am proud of their leadership. A child’s vocabulary at the age of 5 is a predictor of their vocabulary at the age of 17. By the end of Grade 3, 74% of struggling readers rarely catch up. Ontarians with low levels of literacy are more than twice as likely to be in poor health and living in low-income households with slim chances of employment. It is clear that increasing the literacy rate would not only benefit people’s well-being, but it would also boost Ontario’s economy. We take literacy for granted, but just like public education, if we get literacy right, almost everything falls into place. This is why early intervention programs like Strong Start are essential. It will take our collective energy to ensure that every child in Ontario can access the additional support they might need to improve skills. It is so encouraging that members from all parties have come together to form the Strong Start Education Caucus and I would like to thank Machelle and Colette from Strong Start, former Speaker Leveque for forming the Strong Start Education Caucus and his continued commitment to the program. We must support these programs so that every child can succeed. This is our shared responsibility as legislators.