Literacy Matters Workshop

Invest $9 million in literacy in the NWT and the payback time for the GNWT will be approximately one year! That was part of the message Scott Murray brought to the participants in the Literacy Matters workshop in January.

Mr. Murray emphasized the link between literacy levels and economic growth. He also drew a link between low literacy and health, in particular diabetes, which interested the health professionals at the workshop.

As a result of increased literacy skills:

  • More people will be employed.
  • Those who are employed will work more months each year, as well as more hours in a month.
  • People with higher skills earn higher wages.
  • Peoples’ general health improves.
  • Peoples’ mental health improves through less stress, for example.

This in turn means government receives higher tax revenues from employees; fewer people have to rely on income support or employment insurance; and health care costs go down.

Mr. Murray worked for Statistics Canada for many years and was the driving force behind the International Adult Literacy and Skills Survey. He is now president of a policy research agency. Almost 100 people attended the two day workshop sponsored by the NWT Literacy Council and the Western Canada Workplace Essential Skills Training Network (Wwestnet). They represented educators, government, Aboriginal organizations and not-for-profit organizations.

Sco�� Murray people attending the conference