Canadian literacy levels mapped online

The Canadian Council on Learning has released a Prose Literacy Map measuring average adult literacy scores in 52,200 cities, town and communities across Canada.

An educational advocacy group has unveiled an interactive map of literacy across the country.

This map of literacy rates across the country was compiled by the Canadian Council on Learning. ((Canadian Council on Learning))

The Canadian Council on Learning's Prose Literacy Map measures average adult literacy scores in 52,200 cities, town and communities across the country.

The group timed the unveiling of the map tool to coincide with UNESCO International Literacy Day, which falls on Tuesday. 

"Though many believe Canada is well-equipped on the literacy front, the fact is that nearly half of all adults have low literacy levels, meaning they are ill-prepared for the current demands of our rapidly changing world," CCL president Dr. Paul Cappon said.

Prose literacy refers to the knowledge and skills needed to understand and use information from text, such as news stories, editorials, poems and fiction. It is the most commonly understood definition of literacy.

Adult literacy is often measured on a prose literacy scale of 1 to 5. Level 3 is widely considered to be the minimum threshold for coping with the demands of the global knowledge-based economy.

'Nearly half of all adults have low literacy levels '—CCL president Dr. Paul Cappon

The map reveals that some 48 per cent of adults in Canada have low literacy levels — at, or below, Level 2. The map tabulates data from Statistics Canada and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and combines it with federal census data in 2006.

Due to data restrictions, certain parts of Northern and off-reserve native populations could not be represented on the map, the group said.