Literacy policy passed at provincial commerce meeting

A policy submitted by the Fort St. John and District Chamber of Commerce gained wide support at the 57th Annual General Meeting and Conference of the BC Chamber of Commerce.

The conference was held in Prince Rupert from May 21st-23rd. An assembly of business leaders from across the province voted in favor of Fort St. John’s proposed policy on literacy issues.

The chamber brought forward the policy, following a survey done by Ipsos Reid in 2007. The study surveyed companies in the City and area.

Many companies listed literacy as being a large contributor to absenteeism, accidents in the workplace and reduced job performance.

The Deputy Chief Economists for the Toronto Dominion Bank held a separate study. It concluded that a one per cent increase in literacy will have an economic payoff to Canada by around 80 billion dollars.

The Fort St. John & District Chamber of Commerce recommends that the Provincial Government:

1) Create a provincial literacy champion to ensure that the provincial goals of having the highest literacy levels in British Columbia are met

2) Call for a comprehensive British Columbian literacy strategy and with the resources necessary to make a difference

3) Increase funding levels to community literacy initiatives to ensure long term sustainability for these plans.

Chamber President Russ Beerling says he hopes the government will demonstrate how the recommendations will be achieved and that the resulting legislation will recognize British Columbia as a solid literacy foundation.

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