Canada’s Premiers Announce 2016 Literacy Award Recipients

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION

2016 Council of the Federation Literacy Award Recipients

Blue Quills Literacy Centre – Alberta

The Blue Quills Literacy Centre, housed at the University nuhelot’jne thaiyots’j nistameyimâkanak Blue Quills on the Blue Quills First Nations Reserve in Northeastern Alberta, provides unique programs and services that are embedded in the traditional worldviews of the seven nations governing Blue Quills. The Blue Quills team works to increase literacy and essential skills in response to community needs. Whether it is travelling to deliver literacy and foundational learning off campus, offering tutorial and academic support, providing essential skills workshops and summer literacy camps, or partnering with community or other First Nations colleges, Blue Quills Literacy Centre continues to demonstrate outstanding achievement, innovation, and excellence in literacy and essential skills provision. In addition, the Centre contributes a local voice to national initiatives such as the National Aboriginal Literacy Strategy.

Burnaby School District LINC Program – British Columbia
The Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) teachers have been providing services in the Burnaby School District since 1992. Many students come to the LINC program unable to read or write in any language. The LINC program offers basic literacy and advanced skills in reading, writing, speaking and listening and ties their competencies and outcomes to the Canadian Language Benchmarks. LINC incorporates inter-cultural/cross-cultural literacy, financial literacy, social/emotional literacy, health literacy and digital literacy to their programs. The teachers support students in achieving their goals through active partnerships with community groups, innovative practices in their programs, referrals to local support services, ongoing professional development, and by taking a learner-centred approach in their classrooms. The LINC teachers are making a difference in the lives of their students and students’ families by instilling self-confidence and empowerment through learning.

Margaret Banasiak – Manitoba
Margaret Banasiak is a teacher and coordinator of several adult literacy programs in low-income areas of Winnipeg. She was instrumental in the development and delivery of the Open Doors program in 1990 and the Luxton School program in 2002. Banasiak contributed her expertise to establish the Lord Selkirk Park Adult Learning Program, which was instrumental in revitalising a housing development complex. After 26 years, Banasiak’s passion for literacy is evident in her willingness to mentor other teachers, and by the genuine respect and appreciation she receives from learners and colleagues. Banasiak has co-authored several resources, presented at conferences and made invaluable contributions to committees, including the Winnipeg Foundation’s Literacy for Life Grants Committee. Banasiak’s work has had life-changing impacts for vulnerable individuals within a supportive community context.

Peter Bowmaster – New Brunswick
Whether it is walking a substantial distance to pursue his learning or being involved in a community group, Peter Bowmaster demonstrates his true commitment and dedication to himself and his community through his actions. Learning is important to Bowmaster and, despite a recently diagnosed learning disability and several family emergencies, he continues to follow his goals of improving his literacy skills. This education will allow Bowmaster to acquire a GED, take a post-secondary training course and get a job. Bowmaster continues to fight to achieve the skills that will allow him to participate fully in his community. As a once “underpaid” and “bullied” employee, Peter hopes to get a meaningful job so he can purchase a home, something about which he has always dreamed.