Northwest Territories Literacy Council

This Week in Literacy

Friday, April 25, 2008

Community Events and Information

Author, Elizabeth Hay to Visit Yellowknife
Elizabeth Hay was born in Owen Sound, Ontario, the daughter of a high school principal and a painter, and one of four children. She attended the University of Toronto, then moved out west, and in 1974 went north to Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories. For the next ten years she worked as a CBC radio broadcaster in Yellowknife, Winnipeg, and Toronto, and eventually freelanced from Mexico. In 1986 she moved to New York City, where for a time she taught creative writing in the continuing education department of New York University. In 1992, with her husband and two children, she returned to Canada, settling in Ottawa, where she has lived ever since.

In 2002 Elizabeth Hay received the Marian Engel Award for a body of work that includes novels, short fiction, and creative non-fiction. Her first novel was A Student of Weather(2000), a finalist for the Giller Prize, the Ottawa Book Award, and the Pearson Canada Reader's Choice Award at The Word on the Street, and winner of the CAA MOSAID Technologies Inc. Award for Fiction and the TORGI Award. Her second novel, Garbo Laughs (2003), won the Ottawa Book Award and was short listed for the Governor General's Award. Hay is also the author of Crossing the Snow Line (stories, 1989); The Only Snow in Havana (non-fiction, 1992), which was a co-winner of the Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-fiction; Captivity Tales: Canadians in New York (non-fiction, 1993), and Small Change(stories, 1997), which was a finalist for the Governor General’s Award, the Trillium Book Award, and the Rogers Communications Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize.

Schedule for Yellowknife
May 12 - Brown Bag Lunch at the Library noon - 1:00 pm
Come and hear Elizabeth read from her new book.

May 13 - NACC Presentation - 7:30 – 9:30 pm
Elizabeth and other local authors and musicians will give a presentation.  Admission by donation.

May 14 - Baker Centre - 2:00 pm
Elizabeth will share her stories with the seniors during coffee break. 

Nominations open for Commissioner’s Awards
NWT Commissioner, Tony Whitford, has re-established the Commissioner’s Awards.  Nominate someone in your community or group who has contributed to our social, economic or cultural life. The deadline is June 13, 2008.  Contact or call 1-888-270-3318 or in Yellowknife 873-7400.

May 15 next deadline for Yellowknife Community Foundation
The next deadline to apply for a Yellowknife Community Foundation grant or scholarship is May 15, 2008. Visit

Canada Post Community Literacy Award nominations open
The Canada Post Community Literacy Awards nominations close on May 23, 2008. For the awards booklet, write to: 2008 Canada Post Community Literacy Awards
2701 Riverside Dr Suite N0020, Ottawa ON  K1A 0B1 or go to

True Sport Community Fund deadline is May 31
The True Sport Community Fund helps improve access and inclusion to sports programs for low income, Aboriginal and new Canadian children and youth.  The grants are $5,000 or $25,000.  For guidelines go to or contact

ABC CANADA Now Accepting Journalists' Submissions for Gzowski Award
Deadline: June 20, 2008

ABC CANADA Literacy Foundation has announced a call to all Canadian journalists for submissions to the Peter Gzowski Literacy Award of Merit The Peter Gzowski Literacy Award of Merit was developed by ABC CANADA, in honour of the late broadcaster and journalist Peter Gzowski, to acknowledge the great contribution made by a Canadian journalist, in any media, in raising awareness of the adult literacy issue in this country. The competition is open to all professional journalists working and residing in Canada. Journalists may submit their own work, or nominate the work of a fellow journalist. Entries may be of either a local or national interest, and may be based on reporting analysis, commentary, special section, feature or series. Entries will be accepted from the following categories: newspaper (daily, community, regional or national), magazine, television news, television feature (news magazine/talk show), radio interview and Internet. Entries for the 2008 competition must have been published, broadcast or posted online between January 1, 2007 and December 31, 2007 (calendar year, last year).

The selection committee will evaluate each article or broadcast based on specific criteria including accuracy of information and balanced reporting on subject matter, thoroughness of analysis, journalistic style, and the importance of the commentary in generating awareness and/or “heat” on the literacy issue. The winner will be notified by Friday, July 25, 2008.

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In the News

Frank McKenna addresses Pan-Canadian Literacy Forum
Frank McKenna, former premier of New Brunswick and the current deputy chair of TD Bank Financial Group, delivered the following remarks to the Pan-Canadian Literacy Forum on Tuesday, April 15, from Saint John, New Brunswick:

Thank you
Let me first congratulate the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC) for organizing this forum.  It’s an incredible initiative - presented in an innovative way. And it’s a real testament to the co-operation and collaboration required to generate national attention on literacy matters. I also want to acknowledge the participants in Saint John - and across the country - who’ve made history by participating in this unique national gathering.  You’re very much behind today’s achievements and, I’m confident, will be at the forefront of tomorrow’s accomplishments, as we work toward improved literacy outcomes for all Canadians. To read more go to

Adult Learners to Benefit From Province's New Literacy Initiatives, April 14, 2008
New Strategy Launched, Support Increased By $1.1 Million, Literacy Act Proclaimed Adult learners will have more opportunities to better their lives with several new initiatives to strengthen and support adult learning and literacy, Advanced Education and Literacy Minister Diane McGifford announced today at the opening of the first Pan-Canadian Interactive Literacy Forum.  "Literacy skills affect every facet of our lives.  Our increased support of literacy is an investment in healthier communities as Manitobans are better equipped and fully able to participate as citizens," said McGifford.  "We live in an information age where increasing literacy skills is essential to meeting the growing demands of the knowledge-based economy."  The government will invest an additional $1.1 million in adult learning and literacy in Budget 2008.  The new investment brings to $19.3 million the support for adult learning and literacy.  The Manitoba government has more than doubled funding for adult literacy programs since 1999.  To read more go to

Canada's Young People Celebrate Diversity Through Mathieu Da Costa Challenge
QUÉBEC CITY, April 20, 2008 - Young people from across Canada have taken up the challenge to put their creative talents to work to demonstrate the contributions that Canadians of different backgrounds have made to the building of Canada.  They participated in the Mathieu Da Costa Challenge, demonstrating the importance of pluralism to Canadian identity by creating a short story, poem, song, play, illustrated story, essay, or piece of artwork. Tomorrow afternoon, their efforts will be recognized and honoured at the Mathieu Da Costa Awards Ceremony at the Salle Dina-Bélanger. Luc Harvey, Member of Parliament (Louis-Hébert), on behalf of Secretary of State Jason Kenney (Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity), will speak at the awards ceremony.

"The Mathieu Da Costa Challenge helps young people deepen their knowledge and understanding of Canada's rich cultural history," said Mr. Harvey. "This year has special significance, as the country celebrates the 400th anniversary of the founding of Québec City. This also marks 400 years of history as a meeting place for people of diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds."
The Mathieu Da Costa Challenge is an annual creative writing and artwork contest launched in 1996 by the Department of Canadian Heritage. The Challenge is open to young people aged 9 to 18 and encourages them to discover the ways in which diversity has shaped Canada's history and the important role that pluralism plays in Canadian society. To learn more about the Mathieu Da Costa Challenge, visit   For a list of this year's winners, please visit

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New Resources and Websites

Building Essential Skills in the Workplace, The Conference Board of Canada, 2005
Canadian organizations are becoming increasingly aware that they need to maximize the skills of their work force, in order to compete and grow, which often means enhancing or refreshing their employees’ Essential Skills.  Essential Skills help people perform the tasks required by their occupation, provide people with a foundation for learning other skills, and enhance people’s ability to innovate and adapt to workplace change. Essential Skills include:

  1. Reading Text
  2. Document Use
  3. Numeracy
  4. Writing
  5. Oral Communication
  6. Working with Others
  7. Thinking Skills
  8. Computer Use
  9. Continuous Learning

The case studies presented in this document examine outstanding workplace education programs and initiatives. To download this document go to

What is the Essential Skills Research Project?, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, 2005
In the early 1990s, a growing body of international research linked labour market success to a set of teachable, transferable and measurable skills. The Government of Canada contributed to this research by launching the Essential Skills Research Project (ESRP). The ESRP identified nine Essential Skills: reading text, document use, numeracy, writing, oral communication, working with others, thinking skills, computer use and continuous learning.

Essential Skills are common to all workplaces and occupations, but take various forms such as writing a phone message or a medical report. How can we describe these differences? What do these skills look like in different jobs? Can we use a common language to describe skills across occupations? How do individuals know if they have the skills needed for a certain job? The ESRP answered these questions by developing a methodology to profile the skill requirements of occupations in the Canadian labour market.  To learn more about this go to

What are Essential Skills profiles?, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, 2005
Essential Skills profiles describe how each of the nine Essential Skills are used by workers in a particular occupation. To read more about essential skills profiles go to

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Lisa Campbell

Community Literacy Coordinator
NWT Literacy Council
Box 761
Yellowknife, NT X1A 2N6
Toll Free: 1-866-599-6758
Phone: (867) 873-9262
Fax : (867) 873-2176
Web Site:

The NWT Literacy Council is a non-profit, non-government agency dedicated to supporting the development of literacy in all official languages of the NWT.

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