One in six Manitobans cannot read or write enough to fully participate in society. A new study says that needs to change.

"Our average learner in our program is probably functioning around a grade four, grade three to four level and you need to at least be about a grade eight to be functioning in our society," said Sabena Singh the education director at Literacy Works.

Literacy Works says it's seen more and more people referred to its program.

The report released by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives finds the province is making investments to help fight illiteracy but there's unmet demand for programs that are accessible to those who need them most.

It is calling for the governments to fund community based programs within reasonable walking distance of every low-income community in Winnipeg.