Cutting literacy programs for the most vulnerable is bad public policy, NDP says

Due to a 2019 budget cut that eliminated the Community Literacy Fund, 14 literacy programs across Saskatchewan will no longer be eligible for funding after this June. Responding to the cut, the Saskatchewan NDP called on the Sask. Party to revisit the decision and restore the $500,000 the province spends on supporting the literacy needs of vulnerable people.

“First they went for Cornwall Alternative School, which helped vulnerable students, but quickly walked backed that bad decision under pressure,” said NDP Education Critic Carla Beck. “Now we’re seeing that literacy programs that support Saskatchewan’s vulnerable kids are next on the chopping block. It’s more bad policy that will hurt Saskatchewan’s most vulnerable people for years to come, and they need to walk it back too.”

According to the government’s 2018 press release, the funding was designed to “focus on the literacy needs of Indigenous and/or Métis people, newcomers, people with intellectual and/or physical challenges, young and/or single parents, youth, low income families, or rural communities.”

The 14 programs that will no longer receive funding because of the cut include Treaty 4 Education Alliance’s program focused on intergenerational learning, the Family Literacy Project for K-3 students at the St. Frances Cree Bilingual School in Saskatoon, the Newcomer Family Literacy Network’s program in Moose Jaw, and Peepeekisis Cree Nation’s Traditional Mental Health and Wellness Family Literacy Project.

“A budget that’s balanced on the backs of the most vulnerable is no balance for Saskatchewan,” Beck said. “This is a mean and destructive cut that needs to be reversed immediately.”