Linda Neilsen is the Literacy Outreach Coordinator for the North Peace Literacy Alliance. She says funding has gradually been declining and different programs will suffer if Finance Minister Peter Fassbender cuts all literacy funding.
“Minister [Peter] Fassbender has indicated there will be none available with this next budget. We just received last year’s one million and what it breaks down to for the North Peace is at the two point five million we had $30,000 to work with within the community. At the one million that $30,000 has now dropped to $13,000 so we won’t be able to help as many programs or do as much as we did prior. Now if it’s gone completely then there’s a lot of different programs that it will be a loss for them.”
Locally the biggest literacy challenges lie within teenagers and seniors.
Neilsen notes that Peace River North MLA Pat Pimm has been a supporter of local literacy programs in the past but it is not enough if the public is not aware of the cuts that have been taking place.
“Now it’s a matter of bringing it to public awareness so that support for the programs can be put forward to Minister Fassbender because ultimately he’s the one that has the decision on to whether there’s going to be funding for the community literacy plans,” she says. “Locally MLA Pat Pimm is a great supporter for literacy within the community and has helped us previously but there needs to be the public awareness that these funds are being cut.”