A new report from the Canadian Council on Learning suggests that Canada’s low and stagnant rates of literacy are affecting Canadians in a number of ways, from exposing seniors to dangers because they can’t understand medical advice or safety instructions, to limiting the career mobility of employees because they do not receive workplace training, to holding back the growth of the country’s economy.
The report indicates that more than half (55%) of Canadians aged 16 to 65 do not have levels of health literacy adequate to read nutrition labels, follow medication directions, understand safety instructions, or make informed and adequate choices for their own healthy living.
Health literacy is particularly low among seniors, who require health services most and are prescribed the greatest number of medications. Of all Canadians older than 65, 88% lack the literacy skills needed to deal with health information. Other populations with low health-literacy levels include low-income Canadians, Aboriginal people, and recent immigrants who have low levels of formal education and a foreign mother tongue.
Download the summary or full report on the State of Learning in Canada website.