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Commitments to Accessibility and Inclusion in Federal Budget 2019

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On Tuesday, March 19, 2019, Finance Minister Bill Morneau tabled the Liberal government's fourth federal budget, titled "Investing in the Middle Class." It included measures to support equality for Canadians who are blind or partially sighted. 

This budget will see $1 million invested in CNIB's "Come to Work" program to connect Canadians with sight loss with job opportunities in small and medium-sized enterprises to help address a critical need – the full-time employment rate for Canadians with sight loss is only 28 per cent. This project will see CNIB connect with employers to create awareness and capacity within small and medium-sized enterprises for hiring Canadians with sight loss. CNIB will also use these funds to provide skills training and employment-readiness programs.  

A server helps a man use an inaccessible point of sale terminal at a restaurant.

Additionally, the 2019 budget invested $500,000 to improve the accessibility of point-of-sale terminals, which are notoriously inaccessible to people with sight loss. The investment recognizes that there is an urgent need to find a solution that will allow people with sight loss to complete transactions without compromising their financial security and independence. This one-year project will help create a set of regulations to enable a fully accessible payment terminal. 

Another Federal Budget 2019 highlight is the $3 million investment in 2019-20 for the Centre for Equitable Library Access (CELA) to produce accessible reading materials that will be available through public libraries across Canada. The government has also committed $25.8 million over five years to support the production of accessible books for persons with print disabilities through Canada's independent book publishing industry.

These accessibility and inclusion investments will help CNIB continue to change what it is to be blind today. 

Read more articles from the June 2019 issue of Equalize:

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