Council of the Federation Announces Literacy Award Winners for 2009

Blaise Sullivan – Nova Scotia
Blaise Sullivan is a successful business man who preferred to keep his struggles with literacy secret. In January 2006 when he walked through the doors of his local community literacy organization, Antigonish County Adult Learning Association (ACALA), he asked that his attendance be kept confidential. Mr. Sullivan always struggled at school. Years later he learned he had dyslexia. After leaving school at the age of 15 to work, he was often under qualified for jobs: “There were many jobs I would have liked to apply for but for the fear I would have to read something…It made me feel stupid and embarrassed.” The past coordinator for ACALA remembers Blaise starting out with sessions once a week, but then coming three times a week, his one-on-one sessions becoming adult learning group programs, and privacy turning into Blaise championing the literacy cause through public presentations. He is also working diligently towards completing his GED.

Quluaq Catherine Pilakapsi – Nunavut
Quluaq is a respected Elder and educator. Her creative approaches to literacy and language development are recognized across Nunavut. She has created numerous resources that are imaginative and fun for children and adults. The Storysacks program, for example, combines doll-making with storytelling as a means to share literacy. Quluaq has inspired people to create their own Storysacks, supporting their efforts to encourage Inuit language and literacy development. Quluaq took the lead conducting community-based research to gain a better understanding of the links between language acquisition and literacy skill development. She incorporated this research into workshops. As one participant said, “… Quluaq being there means a lot to me. I can speak to her in Inuktitut. She advises me and I can call her up.”

Jean Doull – Ontario
Ms. Doull has been an active and dedicated member of the literacy and adult learning community in the Sarnia Lambton area for more than 25 years. Most recently, Ms. Doull retired from the post of Executive Director of Organization for Literacy, after having contributed close to 20 years to the organization, with half that time spent at the helm. Ms. Doull began her career at the grassroots level, when programming for adults did not exist in Sarnia Lambton. She spent countless hours drafting proposals and battled fiercely to bring funding and awareness to marginalized and isolated people in need of language and basic skills training. She paved the way for improved access and visibility for clients in the penal system and those living in remote communities, and to this day, has never relented in making contributions toward achieving literacy goals.

Workplace Learning PEI Inc – Prince Edward Island
Workplace Learning PEI Inc. (WLPEI Inc.) is a not for profit partnership of business, labour, government and community that ensures learning opportunities for the workforce and workplace. Changes in the workplace affect the way work is done and the skills required to do that work. To meet those demands employers and employees need opportunities to learn. Founded in 1997 as Workplace Education PEI and incorporated in 2007 as Workplace Learning PEI Inc., hundreds of employed Islanders have enjoyed great success in learning programs facilitated by the dedicated staff of WLPEI Inc., who are experts in the field of literacy and essential skills. Numerous Island businesses that have received assistance from WLPEI Inc. have been recognized over the years by the Conference Board of Canada for excellence in workplace education programs.