Premier Pat Binns joined premiers across Canada in announcing the names of the first recipients of a new national award recognizing outstanding achievements in literacy.
The Council of the Federation Literacy Award was created by Canadaâ€™s premiers to recognize individuals and organizations involved in literacy across the country.
The first awards for all winners in Canada were announced at the Council of the Federation meeting in Banff, Alberta on August 11, 2005. Premier Binns will present the award to the PEI recipient at a ceremony in Charlottetown in September.
â€œI am pleased to announce that Dianne Smith is the recipient of the Council of the Federation Literacy Award for Prince Edward Island,â€ Premier Binns stated. Ms. Smith, a business woman and resident of Charlottetown, was named the first Island person to be honoured with the award. A call for nominations for the award was released in May with mid June as the deadline for receiving nominations. In making the announcement Premier Binns said, â€œI am very impressed with the accomplishments of our award recipient. Dianne was nominated and selected from among the many Islanders who have taken steps to improve their literacy skills. She is an excellent roll model and example of a person who sees education and learning as essential to herself personally and to the province generally.â€
Dianne C. Smith is an adult learner who has made outstanding progress in her own learning and has inspired other adults to do the same. After leaving school in grade nine, Dianneâ€™s work experience included home care, farming, cleaning, and a variety of entrepreneurial endeavours run soley by ambition and desire. At the age of 49, as a single mother, Dianne realized education would be the key to a better life for herself and her two children. With help from volunteer tutors and by attending adult education classes, Dianne received her GED certificate the day before her 50th birthday. Dianne has worked hard to overcome a variety of learning difficulties while holding down a full-time job and caring for her family. Dianne now owns her own licensed community care facility, Smith Lodge, and encourages others to improve their literacy skills. Dianne continues to seek new learning opportunities and encourages others to improve their literacy skills.
Premier Binns views the Council of Federation Literacy Award as a significant award recognizing the importance high-level literacy skills play in the life of a province. â€œLiteracy is the foundation upon which all learning is built,â€ he stated. â€œLifelong learning is essential for families, provinces and countries to be secure for the future. Adult Islanders who make the decision to return to learning are role models for their children, their friends and their employers. By their example, they show everyone that learning and education are to be highly valued,â€ Premier Binns continued.