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Championing Adult Literacy

News Release

Championing Adult Literacy

Premier Honours Council of the Federation Literacy Award Winner

Office of the Premier

The Ontario government announced today that Tim Nicholls Harrison, CEO of the Owen Sound and North Grey Union Public Library, is this year's recipient of Ontario's Council of the Federation Literacy Award.

Premier Kathleen Wynne is recognizing Mr. Nicholls Harrison for his compassion and commitment to helping adults get the literacy and basic skills they need to lead more independent lives, further their education and get good jobs. 

For nearly 30 years, Mr. Nicholls Harrison has helped people work toward their employment and educational goals. Before being appointed CEO of the library four months ago, Mr. Nicholls Harrison managed the library's Adult Learning Centres: Grey-Bruce-Georgian, where he and his team of staff and volunteers helped adults strengthen their literacy skills and gain the confidence to pursue new opportunities. 

Established in 2004, the COF Literacy Award acknowledges the importance of literacy as an essential building block in the development of a vibrant society and a prosperous economy. 

Recognizing Ontario's community leaders and helping people realize their fullest potential is part of the government's plan to invest in people, build modern infrastructure and support a dynamic and innovative business climate.

Quick Facts

  • The Council of the Federation Literacy Awards are presented annually, one for each province and territory, to recognize the excellence of educators, volunteers, learners, community organizations and businesses in many areas, including family, Aboriginal, health, workplace and community literacy.
  • Ontario’s Literacy and Basic Skills Program provides free training to people who have skills below the Grade 9 level in reading, writing and math.
  • The program is delivered by more than 200 organizations –- including colleges, school boards and community agencies –- at more than 300 sites across the province.
  • In 2013-14, the program helped more than 43,000 learners. About 64 per cent of the learners got a job or went on to further education or training.

Background Information

Additional Resources


Kathleen Wynne

“Reading and writing are essential skills that can help people find good jobs and improve their standard of living. By helping people build these skills, Mr. Nicholls Harrison is giving them the ability to reach new heights. I would like to congratulate Mr. Nicholls Harrison on his award and thank him for helping to make Ontario a place where everyone has the opportunity to succeed.”

Kathleen Wynne

Premier of Ontario

Reza Moridi

“I want to congratulate Mr. Nicholls Harrison for providing literacy programs that not only help people learn valuable new skills, but also strengthen the local community and our economy. His leadership and commitment to education is admirable and he is a fantastic Ontario representative for this prestigious award.”

Reza Moridi

Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, and Minister of Research and Innovation

“The library is very pleased that Tim’s vision and leadership is being recognized. He is a passionate advocate of lifelong learning and works daily with his dedicated staff to support our community.”

Richard Thomas

Chair, Board of the Owen Sound and North Grey Union Public Library



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