The CNIB Foundation Ontario is stepping up its commitment to advocacy. The provincial funding we’ve received to cover Vision Loss Rehabilitation Ontario's services has enabled our Foundation to focus on providing programs to address the social and emotional needs of people with sight loss. We continue with advocacy to break down barriers and create an inclusive society.
Three active advocacy campaigns in Ontario:
Know Your Rights Project
CNIB has received funding from the Law Foundation of Ontario for its Know Your Rights project, helping people who are blind or partially sighted understand their rights under Ontario law. We’ll be creating resources to help people with sight loss advocate for themselves and to educate the legal community about the needs of people who are blind or partially sighted. If you want to learn more or get involved in the Know Your Rights working group, contact Avery Au, Project Lead, Know Your Rights, 416-277-0438, Avery.Au@cnib.ca
Technology fosters inclusion, reducing feelings of isolation and depression for people who are blind, partially sighted or Deafblind – but only when it's accessible, available and affordable. But the fee structure for the Government of Ontario’s Assistive Devices Program (ADP) to make tools and tech more affordable hasn't been substantially reviewed in nearly 20 years. That means categories for visual aids haven't been updated to include modern devices. Our advocates are urging the province to recognize the immediate need to modernize the Assistive Devices Program.
The Government of Ontario should be proud of its Assistive Devices Program (ADP) – it is a lifeline for many Ontarians living with disabilities. Without ADP, many would be unable to afford an assistive device.
In 2017, through public meetings as well as telephone and online surveys, we spoke to more than 4,000 Canadians impacted by blindness. They told us about their experiences, needs, ambitions and what they want from CNIB. In Ontario, we received a clear message: government-funded assistive devices enable individuals with sight loss to lead active, independent lives. Through this process, we met with medical professionals, ADP vendors and authorizers, manufacturers and other disability groups. These consultations highlighted several areas of the ADP that require improvement.
ShopTalk: BlindSquare Enabled
We created pilot project ShopTalk: BlindSquare Enabled to help make retailers more welcoming for people with sight loss. About 150 local businesses around our Community Hub at 1525 Yonge St., Toronto installed beacons in their spaces. The beacons connect to the BlindSquare GPS app on an iPhone or iPad to give a spoken description of the business, including store name, layout and what it sells.
This pilot project is the start of a wider conversation about neighbourhood inclusiveness and accessibility and will encourage other Canadian communities to run similar projects. ShopTalk: BlindSquare Enabled is a Barrier Buster project made possible by The Rick Hansen Foundation Access4All Canada 150 Signature Project, supported by the Government of Canada.