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Burlington, February 11, 2002 - The Halton Social Planning Council and the Peel-Halton-Dufferin Adult Learning Network have released the study, A Profile of Literacy Skills and Needs for Halton. This study provides a description of literacy skills as measured by the International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS), provides a demographic and socio-economic profile of the different geographical areas using 1996 Census data and provides an information base necessary for the planning and development of a system of literacy services that addresses the changing needs of learners in Halton Region.

This study clearly establishes that the region of Halton follows trends documented in the research on literacy. Strong relationships exist between: literacy skills and age; literacy skills and education; literacy skills and income; literacy skills and employment. The findings show that 1 in 5 Halton adults (18 years of age and over) do not have a high school diploma. This particularly affects the population groups aged 45 and over. Also, according to the International Adult Literacy Survey, approximately 50% of those working in different occupations and industries within Halton do so using low literacy skills (IALS Levels 1 and 2). This means that they have serious difficulty dealing with printed materials and most likely identify themselves as people who have difficulties reading (Level 1) or they can deal only with material that is simple and clearly laid out, and material in which the tasks involved are not too complex. They read, but not well. (Level 2)

"People today need more advanced literacy skills than ever before to cope with the changing pace of society both at home and at work," said Sue McCormack, Executive Director of the Peel-Halton-Dufferin Adult Learning Network. "This report will help to raise awareness about literacy skills and needs in Halton, and will assist local literacy providers in their outreach and planning activities."

Ted Hildebrandt of the Social Planning Council concurred, stating that, "Literacy is an essential skill in building a competitive labour force in a changing world based on information and knowledge. This report establishes the important link between literacy and economic and human development." This report will contribute to the deliberations throughout our community as we work together to create informed citizens and build a labour force relevant for the future.

A copy of the full study is available electronically or by contacting the Council's office.


For further information, please contact:
Ted Hildebrandt
Halton Social Planning Council
Email: thildebrandt@cdhalton.ca
Phone: 905-632-1975 or 905-878-0955