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Castlegar resident recognized with provincial literacy award

Margaret Sutherland wins BC Council of the Federation Literacy Award
Castlegar resident Margaret Sutherland received the 2022 BC Council of the Federation Literacy Award. Photo: Submitted

Submitted by Decoda Literacy Solutions

Castlegar resident Margaret Sutherland has been recognized with a BC Council of the Federation Literacy Award for her contributions to literacy in the province that span more than two decades.

On the occasion of International Literacy Day, Canada’s Premiers announced last week the recipients of the 18th annual Council of the Federation Literacy Award. Presented in each province and territory, the award celebrates exceptional achievement, innovative practice and excellence in literacy.

“On behalf of Canada’s Premiers, I am pleased to congratulate the recipients of the 2022 Council of the Federation Literacy Award,” said John Horgan, Premier of British Columbia and Chair of the Council of the Federation. “This year’s recipients are truly deserving of this special recognition for their dedication and commitment to literacy.”

The award for British Columbia was given to Sutherland, Decoda Literacy Solutions’ (DLS) recently retired executive director.

A leader in community literacy, Sutherland has had a tremendous and positive impact in the lives of literacy learners in B.C., helping people gain the skills they need to engage with the modern, digital world. From her beginnings as a literacy volunteer to her most recent role as DLS’s executive director, she has championed literacy at the local, regional, provincial and national level for over 20 years.

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Throughout her varied career, she has demonstrated innovative thinking and creative, collaborative problem-solving. She has served as editor of the West Coast Reader, a monthly newspaper for literacy and English learners.

Sutherland continues to raise awareness and has fostered successful partnerships, including in the business sector, that support literacy and lifelong learning throughout B.C.

“Receiving this award means a lot to me,” said Sutherland. “I would never have seen this in my future when I signed up to be a literacy volunteer in 1999. It has been such a pleasure, and an honour, to work with literacy learners, tutors and practitioners across the province and with our government and community partners and donors. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to contribute to the wonderful literacy work that is happening across B.C.”

“Margaret’s dedication to literacy in B.C. is inspiring and her award is well-deserved,” said Sandra Lee, current executive director for Decoda. “She is a dedicated and brilliant leader whose work changed lives and strengthened communities. Because of her mentoring, Decoda has a foundation to continue and grow literacy programs in the province.”

Decoda Literacy Solutions is BC’s literacy organization.

Visit to find online literacy resources, access the Decoda Literacy Library to borrow books by mail, read the Read All About Lit blog to stay current on literacy resources and research, find training webinars and workshops, make a donation to the Decoda Literacy Foundation or find a literacy outreach coordinator in your community.

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