Minister Carla Qualtrough and Minister Navdeep Bains unlock a chain over top of books in a celebration of Canada's ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty. Members of Parliament Rob Oliphant, Pierre Poilievre and Brian Masse help unlock the books, while CNIB President and CEO John Rafferty and Craig Oliver overlook.

Public policy and legislation

Main Content

CNIB supports legislation that eliminates barriers and creates a more equitable society. CNIB will testify at Parliamentary committees and provide input on regulatory affairs. Here are a few examples of what CNIB's public policy team is working on.

Accessible Canada Act:

  • The Government of Canada is committed to eliminating systemic barriers and delivering equality of opportunity to all Canadians living with disabilities. That is why on June 20, 2018 the federal government introduced the Accessible Canada Act.
  • The Accessible Canada Act will ensure more than 500,000 Canadians living with sight loss can fully participate and have equal opportunity within federally regulated jurisdictions.
  • CNIB has been working with the federal government to propose amendments to strengthen the legislation.

Accessible books:

  • CNIB is one of the largest producers of alternate-format print materials and accessible literature, including braille, print-braille, DAISY audio books on CD and accessible electronic text.
  • Canadian publishers are not required to produce accessible-format books. There are an estimated three million Canadians living with a print disability, but only a fraction of printed material is available in alternative formats.
  • Access to reading material in an accessible format is important because:
    • It’s essential to living full and satisfying lives, especially since Canadians with sight loss have one of the lowest employment rates.
    • Without published content, it’s harder to succeed in education and experience culture along with the rest of society.
    • Every year, the gap between what is available in conventional print and what’s available in alternative formats widens.
  • In December 2017, the federal government put together a working group of stakeholders to study a long-term solution to production and distribution of alternate format materials in Canada.
  • CNIB is hopeful the working group recommendations will be accepted by the Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, allowing for increased production and distribution of accessible literature in Canada.
  • CNIB will continue to work hard to ensure that Canadians with print disabilities have access to accessible literature.
  • On October 22, 2018, CNIB appeared before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology regarding the Copyright Act. CNIB argued that all books should be born accessible and that no copyright should be issued unless books are produced in accessible formats. We also submitted a written brief to the Committee.

Legislation:

Take a look at some of the legislation of interest to CNIB.
• Bill C-76, the Elections Modernization Act seeks to make changes to Canada's Election Act to make voting easier for persons with disabilities.
• Bill C-395, the Opportunities Act seeks to make it easier for persons with disabilities to earn more in income, than lose to claw backs and taxes.
 

Government Consultations:

As a member of the Accessibility Advisory Committee of the Canadian Transportation Agency, CNIB is encouraging Canadians to share their views on the Passenger Bill of Rights. We hope that before the 2019 federal election, Canada’s transportation network will have new regulations in place to improve access to online reservation systems, customer service at air, rail and ferry terminals and improved accommodation for travelers working with guide dogs. Click here to read CNIB's plain language summary of Bill C-49.