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Toronto Centre for Community Learning & Development Receives $20,000 as Top Winner of the Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life Literacy Innovation Award

Literacy Programs in Saint John NB, Cornwall ON, Kamloops BC and Toronto ON Are Awarded Honourable Mentions of $5,000 Each

TORONTO, ON--(Marketwired - September 04, 2014) - ABC Life Literacy Canada is pleased to announce the top winner and four honourable mentions of the 2014 Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life Literacy Innovation Award (LIA). This annual award recognizes five Canadian organizations that develop and implement innovative adult and family literacy programs that provide outstanding learning opportunities for their clients and communities.

The 2014 award-winning programs reflect the best of the important work that makes a measureable difference in improving the lives of the marginalized and socially isolated, disengaged youth, aboriginals, seniors and immigrants across Canada. The organizations recognized by this year's LIA are making great strides within their communities to give adults and families with literacy challenges the skills we all need to succeed.

"ABC Life Literacy Canada brings a valuable national perspective to the needs of local literacy groups," said Jan Belanger, Vice-President, Community Relations, Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life. "We're pleased to collaborate with ABC to shine the spotlight on some of the remarkable literacy groups across the country and provide an opportunity for all organizations to strengthen and share their effective programming."

"ABC is grateful for the outstanding commitment from Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life to improve adult literacy," said Gillian Mason, President of ABC Life Literacy Canada. "The Literacy Innovation Award celebrates organizations that truly make a difference in the lives of Canadians. Each of these recipients has made a significant impact on the literacy skills of adults and families -- and also on their ability to lead fully engaged lives. We are proud to champion a community that creates positive change for so many. Low literacy in Canada affects us all and, through their efforts to improve literacy and essentials skills, our corporate and literacy sector partners join us in creating a stronger, more capable Canada."

TOP WINNER, receiving $20,000
Toronto Centre for Community Learning & Development, Toronto, ON
Program: Youth Empowering Parents (YEP)

YEP connects adults and seniors who want to improve their computer skills with high school students who are seeking volunteer opportunities. Through free one-on-one tutoring, learners work at their own pace, at a convenient time, and, when required, in their own mother tongue. Learners are largely new immigrants, marginalized and socially isolated; through YEP, they acquire new skills in a comfortable environment while getting to know youth in their neighbourhood. Tutors, usually inner city youth, take on the roles of service provider and community change-maker while developing their leadership skills.

The Toronto Centre for Community Learning & Development will share the details of their winning program in a national webinar for Canadian literacy practitioners, hosted by ABC Life Literacy Canada and designed to help build capacity in the literacy field.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS, receiving $5,000 each

Aboriginal Mentoring & Training Association, Kamloops, BC
Program: Pathways to Success (P2S)
P2S works with learners to create a personal "pathway" that prepares them for entry into the job market through a program that combines life skills and essential skills, improving literacy and numeracy, and enhancing self-esteem and confidence.

Parkdale Project Read, Toronto, ON
Program: The Academic Upgrading (AU) Program for Youth
AU provides an accessible, supportive learning community that empowers disengaged youth to acquire the skills, confidence and attitudes required to transition successfully to post-secondary education.

Saint John Learning Exchange, Saint John, NB
Program: WorkLinks
Through WorkLinks adults are empowered to break down barriers to work by building transferable essential and employability skills, earning work experience and receiving ongoing support to help acquire and maintain meaningful employment. 

Tri-County Literacy Council (TCLC), Cornwall ON
Program: The Occupational Training Program
Aimed at people with barriers to employment, this program provides a variety of occupational training courses that respond to the economic development needs of the community, meet learners' interests and focus on the nine essential skills everyone needs to succeed.

The 2014 Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life Literacy Innovation Award will be presented as part of ABC's Life Literacy Night, to be held at the Thompson Landry Gallery in Toronto's Distillery District on Thursday, September 18. The Peter Gzowski Life Literacy Fellowship honouring journalism excellence, The Honourable Joyce Fairbairn, P.C. Literacy Public Awareness Award (The Joycee) honouring corporate excellence and the Dr. Alan Middleton Workplace Literacy and Learning Award which recognizes an individual for their outstanding achievement in workplace literacy and essential skills also form part of this year's awards ceremony. To learn more about ABC's national Life Literacy Awards please visit http://abclifeliteracy.ca/life-literacy-awards.

About Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life
Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life offer a broad portfolio of financial and benefit plan solutions, and serve the financial security needs of more than 12 million people across Canada. Responsible and ethical management is an intrinsic value of the companies and is essential to long-term profitability and value creation. As an Imagine Caring Company supporting the principles of corporate citizenship and benchmarks for community investment established by Imagine Canada, the companies donate a minimum of one per cent of average pre-tax profits to non-profit, charitable and community organizations each year. Learn more about the organization's corporate social responsibility.

About ABC Life Literacy Canada
ABC Life Literacy Canada is a non-profit organization that inspires Canadians to increase their literacy and essential skills. We mobilize business, government and communities to support lifelong learning and achieve our goals through leadership in programs, communications and partnerships. We envision a Canada where everyone has the skills they need to live a fully engaged life. For the latest news and information on adult literacy please visit www.abclifeliteracy.ca, follow us on Twitter (@abclifeliteracy) or join our Facebook page.

For more information, please contact:
Stephanie Wells 
Manager, Communications 
ABC Life Literacy Canada 
416-218-0010 ext. 122 
[email protected]

Marlene Klassen, APR
Assistant Vice-President, Media and Public Relations 
Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life
204-946-7705
[email protected]

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