Issues and challenges in communicating (2000)

With Less Literate Canadians

In surveying Canadians with lower levels of literacy, the study found that they want to be better informed on issues that are relevant to their everyday lives, and that a mere 14 percent indicated that they receive enough information from the government. The survey further revealed that over half (56 percent) of respondents use evening television as their main source of information, while relatively few of them (18 percent) get their information from newspapers. Furthermore, an overwhelming majority favour direct contact, with 81 percent identifying the telephone as their preferred means of communicating with government representatives.

While improving the literacy skills of Canadians remains an important challenge, the study's objective lies with identifying the challenges associated with communicating with less literate Canadians. The CIO will continue to work with other departments and agencies to further improve the ways in which the Government of Canada communicates with all Canadians. Already, care is taken to ensure that communication approaches include a mix of media – including TV, community newspapers, direct mail, etc. – in an effort to better reach every Canadian, whatever his or her level of literacy. More emphasis is also being placed on plain language, clearly laid out communication initiatives; the National Service Guide, which is currently being distributed, is a good example of such initiatives.

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