Debates of the Senate  
  1st Session, 39th Parliament,Volume 143, Issue 50.
    Thursday, November 9, 2006
 
Literacy Action Day
Hon. Lillian Eva Dyck: The Saskatchewan Literacy Network has acted as a voice for literacy for 17 years. The network is an umbrella organization that brings together hundreds of people in Saskatchewan with an interest in improving literacy for all people. The Saskatchewan Literacy Network applies for funding each year to the National Literacy Secretariat in order to promote and support literacy in the province. Last year, the Saskatchewan Literacy Network received $170,000 in coalition funding from the National Literacy Secretariat to support the Saskatchewan provincial literacy work. On September 27, the Saskatchewan Literacy Network was notified by a phone call that this funding had been eliminated.

Honourable senators, the long-term and short-term implications of such cuts are horrendous for the people in Saskatchewan. In the short term, after calling an emergency meeting, the board has decided to use the Saskatchewan Literacy Network's limited reserve funds to support significantly reduced operations until August 31, 2007. Unless other dollars are secured, this will mean an immediate reduction in service and support in four key service areas. The first area, called "learner involvement," will no longer be able to support regional learner groups. Second, in terms of field development, the Saskatchewan Literacy Network will no longer be able to provide subsidized family and adult literacy training. Third, the communications department will no longer be able to publish printed resources. Finally, resource development will attempt to continue to voice and bring forward issues and concerns expressed by the literacy field.

In the immediate future, the Saskatchewan Literacy Network will be moving to smaller office space and staffing will be reduced from eight full-time equivalents to only four full-time equivalents.

Honourable senators, in the long term, if financial resources are not secured for the Saskatchewan Literacy Network and within the next 10 months, it will be forced to close its doors on August 31, 2007.

I hope that in the long-term plans of the current government there will be ways found to ensure that the Saskatchewan Literacy Network continues to exist and provide its important services.