Of all the issues that Canadians are concerned about – the environment, health care and the war against terrorism – literacy is never identified as a pressing problem. This is not surprising, since it is hard to imagine how Canada can have a literacy challenge when it has a caring, inclusive society, a modern industrialized economy and a well developed primary, secondary and post-secondary education system. So it is a quite shocking fact that many Canadians lack the necessary literacy skills to succeed in today’s economy: a situation that is eroding their standard of living. Surveys show that almost four in 10 youths aged 15 have insufficient reading skills; while more than two in 10 university graduates, almost five in 10 Canadian adults and six in 10 immigrants have inadequate literacy.

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