CNIB commends Government of Canada on Budget 2019 commitments
March 27, 2019 – The CNIB Foundation commends the Government of Canada for its 2019 budget, which includes significant commitments to accessibility and inclusion for Canadians with sight loss. Among numerous measures supporting people with disabilities, the budget included targeted funding for the production of accessible books, accessible point-of-sale technology, and enhanced CNIB Foundation employment programming.
"This budget will help enable Canadians with sight loss to better participate in our society and economy," says John M. Rafferty, President and CEO, CNIB. "These funding commitments will allow CNIB to advance our ambition to change what it is to be blind. We applaud the government's commitment to breaking down barriers and improving access for those we serve."
The government's commitment of $25.8 million to support the production of accessible books constitutes a major victory for Canadians with print disabilities such as sight loss. The CNIB Foundation has, for years, advocated for strong federal leadership in supporting the creation and distribution of such material by specialized and mainstream publishers.
"To fully participate in society, Canadians with print disabilities need equitable access to books in formats we can read," says Diane Bergeron, Vice President, Engagement and International Affairs, CNIB Foundation. "This investment is a major step forward in resourcing this critical work and putting accessibility on the mainstream publishing agenda."
“When we provide persons with print disabilities with accessible reading materials, we are supporting an improved quality of life, a sense of empowerment, and greater job opportunities," says Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Public Services, Procurement and Accessibility. "Whether its braille, accessible electronic documents or accessible audiobooks, Canadians of all ages deserve to have accessible resources so they can fully participate in society. Budget 2019’s investment in accessible reading materials reaffirms our government’s commitment to remove barriers and create a more inclusive Canada.”
The budget also included $1 million in funding for the CNIB Foundation to connect Canadians who are blind or partially sighted with job opportunities in small and medium-sized enterprises – a critical need among a population with only a 28 per cent full-time employment rate.
"Canadians with sight loss are talented and capable, and their unique skills and perspectives can be a real asset to employers," says Bergeron. "This investment will help us open new doors to employment for them."
“A diverse and inclusive workforce can bring new skills and ideas to employers, helping them compete and succeed as they support people in their communities," says Qualtrough. "I am confident that through Budget 2019, more job opportunities for Canadians with sight loss will be created, providing enhanced income security and an overall better quality of life. We’re working to ensure all Canadians have a fair and equal chance at success.”
The 2019 budget also includes $500,000 to improve the accessibility of point-of-sale payment terminals, which today are notoriously inaccessible to people with sight loss. The investment recognizes the urgent need to find a solution that will allow people with sight loss to complete transactions without comprising their financial security and independence.
"On the whole, the 2019 budget will help transform Canadian communities into beacons of accessibility and inclusion, where people can live, work and play without barriers," says Rafferty. "This budget really raised the bar for how persons with disabilities should be considered by government and in mainstream society. We hope all governments will continue to make such important investments."
About the CNIB Foundation
Celebrating our centennial in 2018, the CNIB Foundation is a national not-for-profit organization that empowers people impacted by blindness to live the lives they choose. Funded by charitable donations and enabled by the selfless contributions of volunteers, our innovative programs and powerful advocacy drive change in communities from coast to coast to coast.
For more information, please contact:
Manager, Marketing & Communications
226-377-2801 | Shannon.Simpson@cnib.ca