Celebrating a literacy leader
McGuinty Government Names Council Of The Federation Award Winner
Alfred Jean-Baptiste, a popular Toronto community and literacy leader, has won the Ontario 2008 Council of the Federation Literacy Award.
Born in St. Lucia, Mr. Jean-Baptiste is an accomplished educator and author. In 1982, he was a Senator in the St. Lucia Parliament. He was also Minister of Community Development and Social Services. He moved to Toronto in 1985 where he was the program coordinator of the East End Literacy Program. He is now the executive director of the Centre for Community Learning and Development in Toronto and is active in a number of communities and organizations.
Premier Dalton McGuinty honored Mr. Jean-Baptiste for his important work in adult literacy and life skills training. His approach to literacy inspires students to see learning as part of their lives. This helps them work towards and achieve goals.
Nearly half of all adult Canadians have low literacy skills. Improving literacy gives more people the opportunity to fully participate in community life.
The Council of the Federation Literacy Award celebrates the accomplishments and contributions of literacy advocates. The winners are announced at the summer meeting of Canada's Premiers.
- The International Adult Literacy and Skills Survey found that 16 per cent of Ontario adults don’t have basic literacy skills; another 26 per cent would benefit from literacy upgrading.
- Literacy is the single most important determinant of employability and wage rates.
- Ontario has invested nearly $75 million this year in a program that helps people improve their literacy skills.
“This year’s award celebrates Alfred Jean-Baptiste for his 20-year career as a community leader. His dedication to bridging cultures through language is what Ontario needs now.”
“Language is not simply a means of communicating information. It is a very important way of establishing and maintaining relationships with other people.”