Senator urges reinstatement of core funding to Atlantic literacy groups
New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, P.E.I. literacy alliances face possibility of closure
P.E.I. Senator Diane Griffin is calling on the federal government to reinstate core funding for literacy groups across Atlantic Canada.
Griffin's call for funding arrives as literacy alliances across the region are hearing the death knell.
Funds for literacy alliances in Atlantic Canada are either totally depleted, like in Newfoundland and Labrador, or nearly dried up like in P.E.I.
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"New programs came in but they're project-related funding," Griffin said.
"What I was asking for was for government to make an exception for Atlantic Canada to enable core funding to come out of that project money so that the literary alliances would have some money to work with."
P.E.I.'s literacy alliance provides thousands of Island families with one-on-one summer tutoring for children and adults.
Core funding for the PEI Literacy Alliance was cut under the Harper government.
Efforts to reinstate the funding have been unsuccessful so far.
Atlantic groups struggling
The Atlantic literary alliances banded together earlier this year asking government to include $600,000 a year in funding, divided amongst the four provinces, in the federal budget.
That didn't happen, forcing one alliance to fold.
Our cash reserves at this point have run out. We've been operating on a reduced capacity.— Amanda Beazley
"The Newfoundland and Labrador Literary Alliance has already closed its doors, it had done that a number of months ago," Griffin said.
"The Prince Edward Island Literacy Alliance will follow suit. It has no choice."
Though the PEI Literacy Alliance does receive some provincial funding, Griffin said, it's not enough to keep the organization afloat in the province.
It's just a matter of time, she said, for other alliances in the region too.
"Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are struggling. Eventually they will have to face the fact that they can't continue on a long-term basis either," Griffin added.
Nothing left for Literacy Alliance
Acting executive director Amanda Beazley told CBC earlier this week the group will be forced to close unless it finds $150,000 in funding by Wednesday, Sept. 27.
"If we don't secure adequate, predictable and stable funding by that point … we'll be forced to close our doors," Beazley said.
"Our cash reserves at this point have run out. We've been operating on a reduced capacity."
Senator Griffin told CBC she will introduce a motion in the Senate on Tuesday urging the federal government to reinstate core funding to the Atlantic alliances.
She also said she'll be meeting with senators from across the Atlantic region on Wednesday.
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With files from Katerina Georgieva