September 8 is International Literacy Day. CUPE believes literacy and skills training are fundamental rights for workers and for all people.

We are facing significant changes in our workplaces and in our lives. In this environment, literacy and skills will be more important than ever.

Trends such as globalization, digitalization, and demographic shifts are changing work, communities, the way society functions, and the way people interact.  The current pandemic also highlighted and accentuated problems that were already present, especially in terms of the use of communications tools and technology.

Literacy is more than reading and writing. It’s about our ability to learn, problem-solve and think critically. It’s about accessing information and having the tools to understand and analyze that information. Literacy skills help us realize our life goals and meet the communication demands at work, at home, and in the community.

Literacy is about an educated and literate society. Strong literacy and essential skills contribute to civic engagement, a healthy population, and a strong economy with good jobs.

Although Canada’s literacy skills are above average, the number of those at the lowest levels have grown over the past decade. Literacy is clearly a fundamental question of social and economic equality. We need a vision to ensure that everyone has the skills to respond to the challenges and opportunities of a complex and changing world.