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CNIB Foundation Ontario “Know Your Rights” Project Update

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Too many members of Ontario's blind, partially sighted and Deafblind communities become confused, frustrated, or exhausted when they're trying to understand their legal rights and challenge discrimination. 

Since the Fall 2018 launch, we’ve made excellent progress in developing easy-to-understand, practical legal information handbooks, producing public education videos, and running training for CNIB staff and community partners.

Focus Groups with CNIB Foundation Participants & Staff
We held eight focus group sessions across Ontario, where more than 40 participants and community members shared their experiences about encountering unfairness that impacted their legal rights. Through this research, we gained insights into how members of our communities' experience and respond to legal issues, and we identified many common issues and trends.

Legal Information Handbooks
In 2019, we engaged our Working Group – composed of 15 talented volunteers who've experienced discrimination – and CNIB staff to draft legal information handbooks in seven topic areas: 

  1. Education 
  2. Employment
  3. Housing
  4. Healthcare
  5. Transport & Built Environment
  6. Consumer & Government Services
  7. Self-Advocacy, Basic Knowledge, & Getting Legal Help

When these handbooks are finalized, they will be reviewed for legal accuracy by our institutional collaborators (ARCH Disability Law Clinic, the Human Rights Legal Support Centre, and Community Legal Education Ontario) and published in English and French in a range of accessible formats. 

Public Education Videos
This month, we completed filming four public education videos. Each video focuses on the true story of a person with sight loss who faced barriers when trying to access healthcare services, forms in inaccessible formats or people lacking basic awareness. We dramatized both a ‘before’ and ‘after’ scenario to show how people with sight loss can effectively stand up for their legal rights. We are excited to share these videos on social media in the coming weeks!

Training & Community Outreach
We were thrilled to have Shannon Kinch join the project team in January. As an experienced lawyer, Shannon has worked closely with Avery Au (our Project Lead) and our volunteer Working Group to create and revise content.

Throughout June, Shannon and Avery are travelling across Ontario to run in-person, interactive training for CNIB staff and volunteers. Participants will be broken into small groups where they will re-enact scenarios adapted from our research and legal information handbooks. 

What can I do? Stay tuned for project updates and spread the word!
Share your story!
If you want to help others stand up for their legal rights by sharing your story, or would just like to know more about the project, please get in touch with  

Read more articles from the June 2019 issue of Equalize:

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