Local Programs and Services
CNIB’s community-based services empower Canadians who are blind or partially sighted to live independently – to see beyond vision loss – and lead the lives they want. The following services are available in Ontario. For more information on the services CNIB offers across the country, visit our Range of Services page. Ready to get in touch with CNIB? Click here to access our services today.
Emotional and wellness support
Understanding and advice when you need it most
It’s not unusual to feel depressed, angry or alone when you experience a loss of vision, and there will probably be times when you wish you had someone to help you work through these feelings. If you’re struggling to overcome the emotional challenges of vision loss, we’re here for you.
- Join a CNIB support group and receive emotional support from other people who understand the impact of vision loss on everyday life.
- Join our Vision Mate program and connect with a caring volunteer who’s trained to provide assistance.
- Access counselling services through CNIB or recommended community resources.
- Learn about opportunities to take part in leisure, recreation and social programs in your community.
Low vision services
Make the most of the sight you have
If you’ve experienced a partial loss of vision, learning to maximize your remaining sight can be life-changing. Our low vision specialists can help you make the most of your sight, and live life to the fullest.
- Receive a specialized vision assessment designed specifically for people with low vision, and have our specialists explain the effects of your vision loss in easy-to-understand language.
- Learn tips and tricks for maximizing your sight, like how to use lighting and contrast to your best advantage.
- Receive one-on-one instruction in the use of helpful devices that may enhance your sight, like specialty magnifiers.
Low Vision Clinics
Are you or someone you know experiencing vision loss? Come learn about CNIB low vision services, independent living skills and independent travel instruction. Browse products and technology for better living with vision loss. Items include large-print playing cards, talking clocks and specialty sunglasses. For more information about low vision clinics in your community, please contact your local CNIB office.
Independent living services
Build everyday skills and confidence
Our specialists will work with you one-on-one or in a group setting, helping you build the skills to live independently and lead the life you want.
- Learn safe methods of pouring a cup of coffee, preparing a meal and using household appliances.
- Discover simple techniques for identifying money, using the phone, labelling medications and organizing household items.
- Learn how to make large-print, braille and audio products a helpful part of your day-to-day life – enabling you to keep track of phone numbers, recipes and more.
- Find out about community programs, financial subsidies and other helpful resources available in your local area.
Independent travel instruction
Travel with confidence
Learning to travel alone with vision loss doesn’t have to be scary; in fact, it can be a liberating experience, and our caring specialists will be there every step of the way. So whether you want to reach the corner store or the farthest corners of the country, we’ll help you build the skills to get there.
- Learn the sighted guide technique: a safe and comfortable way to walk with a sighted person.
- Discover how a white cane makes travelling with vision loss easier and safer.
- Learn how to find and cross intersections so you can travel independently. Ride public transit with confidence and reach community resources like your local grocery store, bank or shopping mall.
- Navigate new environments like a new workplace or school campus.
The CNIB Library
Rediscover the joys of reading
Home to more than 80,000 accessible materials in formats like braille and audio, the CNIB Library is Canada’s largest library for people who are unable to read traditional print. If you love reading, the CNIB Library is yours to explore.
- Find books and magazines in a variety of accessible formats; we’ll help you find the format that’s right for you.
- Download books and daily newspapers at the click of a button through our digital collection.
- Enjoy classic movies with our narrated video collection.
- Help your kids discover a love of reading with braille and printbraille books for children and teens.
If you’d like help finding a book, movie or other library material, call 1-800-268-8818 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Or click here to browse our digital collection now.
Assistive technology services
Discover a new world of cutting-edge products – from accessible audio book players, to video magnifiers, to computer screen readers and a host of other items to make life with vision loss easier.
- Receive an assessment and get recommendations from our experts on assistive technologies that meet your specific needs.
- Learn to use your assistive technologies, with instruction from a CNIB specialist who will help to make the process as simple as possible.
- Get the tools you need to do your best at work or school.
- Find out what financial supports you may be eligible to receive for the purchase of assistive products.
Find helpful products for better living
Shop CNIB offers Canada’s largest array of products and technology for better living with vision loss. Here are just a few of the products you’ll find at Shop CNIB:
- Around the house: magnifiers of all kinds; talking watches, timers and scales; large-button phones; and colour identifiers
- Fun stuff: braille board games, tactile dice, TV magnifiers and large-print playing cards
- Out and about: white canes, pocket magnifiers, specialty sunglasses and talking pedometers
- At the office: high-contrast, large-print keyboards; braillers; signature guides; and talking calculators
Click here to browse the Shop CNIB online store.
Career and employment services
Open the door to opportunity
Our career and employment services can give you the information and resources you need to build your job skills and achieve a satisfying career.
- Get one-on-one support in exploring your career interests, pursuing job opportunities, networking or building your presentation skills.
- Find or become a professional mentor through our online CareerConnect Canada program.
- Learn about tuition and wage subsidies that may be available to help you access training or start a new job.
Child and family services
Build a brighter future for your child
At every stage, CNIB is an essential resource for children and families living with vision loss – helping children who are blind or partially sighted grow into successful, confident adults. Our child and family services...
- help teens prepare for their futures, explore their career interests and transition to post-secondary school.
- give children the support they need to excel, like braille preparation, tactile learning sessions and peer programs.
- provide parents with educational materials, peer groups, access to local resources, workshops on raising a child who is blind or partially sighted, and more.
- empower families to advocate for improved educational opportunities for the welfare of their children.
Expand your world
For many people who are Deafblind, the world can sometimes seem very small. But our services are designed to help it grow – to empower people who are Deafblind to build the skills and confidence to fully participate in life.
- Receive direct support from our specialists or find out about community programs in your area that offer services for people with a loss of hearing and vision.
- Build your literacy skills and learn communication methods that can help you interact with others, from traditional sign language, to print-on-palm, the two-hand manual or large-print notes.
- Receive emotional counselling from a professional who’s trained in the challenges faced by people with Deafblindness, as well as how to work through them.
- Spend time with a trained intervenor who will guide you through your daily activities and act as your eyes and ears – bridging the gap between you and the sighted and hearing world. Our expert intervenors are fluent in all communication methods used by people with Deafblindness, and can assist you not only in day-to-day tasks like grocery shopping, but also larger goals, like building independence, going to post-secondary school or getting a job.
Registration and Referral
Registration and Referral assists in identifying individual needs and goals, and introduces the individual to the appropriate CNIB services and programs to meet those needs. Referrals to other resources may be made.
Intensive Rehabilitation Training Centre (IRTC)
This is an intensive day
program at CNIB Toronto. It is geared to highly motivated individuals who are
blind, deafblind or partially sighted. This program is designed for
participants who have overcome the emotional challenges of living with vision
loss, but would like an opportunity for intense training to build skills and
regain independence. The program is tailored to meet individual needs and goals
while emphasizing the importance of social development through group work and
peer support. Services are provided at no cost to participants.
everyday skills with confidence is the focus of this component. Participants
learn methods for preparing a meal, using household appliances such as a washer
and dryer, identifying clothing, shopping and organizing household items.
There’s also an opportunity to learn about braille and the use of assistive
technology such as a closed-circuit television as well as basic computer
aspect of the program is tailored to meet the needs of individuals who wish to
advance their travel skills. The comprehensive approach to instruction involves
building new skills onto known skills with practical sessions for
reinforcement. When possible, the integration of skills into daily travel is
encouraged with at-home lessons.
Group – A program
designed for individuals living with vision loss and diabetes. In addition to
the CNIB staff, diabetes and fitness professionals provide participants with
training for managing diabetes and vision loss.
Book Club –
read a book, chosen by the group, in their preferred format and meet to reflect
on it and prepare food based on a theme or event in the book.
Group – This group meets monthly. Each
month, a different participant demonstrates leadership skills within the group
in the preparation of a meal from start to finish.
Teen Involvement in
Employment and Sports (TIES) – This physically demanding program is
designed to assist teens (ages 15-19) who are blind, deafblind or partially
sighted. The program provides opportunities for participants to develop
independent travel, leisure, pre-employment and daily living skills. Activities
may include tandem kayaking, blind archery and rock climbing.
be ready to commit to the duration of a full program.
be emotionally and physically ready to develop independence.
experience vision loss that has proven to be a barrier in the development
of independent skills.
require intensive training.
prepared and physically capable of walking at least 45 minutes per day.
For more details or to
enroll, please call 416-486-2500 ext. 8354.
CNIB Ontario Services brochure now available in 21 different languages. Brochures are available in a variety of languages and highlight all programs and services available in Ontario.