New interactive map offers literacy profiles for more than 50,000 neighbourhoods across Canada

by NationTalk on September 9, 2009685 Views

September 8, 2009 Ottawa — In recognition of UNESCO International Literacy Day the Canadian Council on Learning (CCL) has launched an online tool that will allow users to explore profiles of prose literacy in 52,200 cities, town and communities across the country.As part of its commitment to providing information that Canadians can use, CCL’s free Prose Literacy Map (available at provides an extraordinary look at adult literacy data in Canada.

“This innovative map represents a valuable learning opportunity for millions of Canadians, and arrives on a day which is traditionally dedicated to exploring literacy issues,” says Dr. Paul Cappon, CCL’s President and CEO.

“Though many believe Canada is well-equipped on the literacy front, the fact is that nearly half of all adults have low literacy levels meaning they are ill-prepared for the current demands of our rapidly changing world.”
What is prose literacy?

Prose literacy refers to the knowledge and skills needed to understand and use information from text, such as news stories, editorials, poems and fiction. It is the most commonly understood definition of literacy.

Adult literacy is often measured on a prose literacy scale of 1 to 5. Level 3 is widely considered to be the minimum threshold for coping with the demands of the global knowledge-based economy.
How does CCL’s prose literacy map work?

The map uses data from the 2003 International Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey (IALSS) which was conducted by Statistics Canada and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and combines it with 2006 Census data.

The result is an immersive and interactive look at prose literacy across the country,* represented by average adult prose literacy scores (on a scale of 0 – 500) or by regions of lower literacy.

According to the 2003 IALSS, 48% of adults in Canada had low literacy levels, at, or below, Level 2.

* Due to data restrictions, certain parts of Northern and off-reserve native populations, could not be represented on the map.

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The Canadian Council on Learning is an independent, not-for-profit corporation funded through an agreement with Human Resources and Skills Development Canada. Its mandate is to provide evidence-based information to Canadians so they can make the best decisions about learning throughout all stages of life, from early childhood through to the senior years.

For more information, or to inquire about an interview, please contact:

Micheline Sabourin
Canadian Council on Learning
613.786.3230 x221

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