Home » Advocacy » Disability Empowerment » The Time For Change Is Now
Disability Empowerment

The Time For Change Is Now

A close up of a child reading braille
Sponsored by:
A close up of a child reading braille
Sponsored by:

This International Persons with Disabilities Day, it’s time to act.

Although the world has changed dramatically for people with sight loss over the last few decades, our community continues to face significant barriers to daily life. From work to education to accessibility of built environments to social inclusion.

For more than 100 years, CNIB has worked alongside Canadian communities to deliver innovative programs and powerful advocacy. Our mission – empowering people impacted by blindness to live their dreams and tear down barriers to inclusion.

In the last five years, we’ve:

A CNIB Guide Dogs staff member crouches beside a future CNIB Guide Dog.

Launched new and innovative programs like CNIB Guide Dogs.

CNIB Phone it Forward. An illustration of a phone with an arrow depicting the phone has been repurposed.

Launched the Phone It Forward program, which has since given out more than 2,300 smartphones to people with sight loss who need them nationwide.

The CNIB Learn icon. An illustration of an open book. On one side there is braille and on the other there is text.

Championed changes to the Accessible Canada Act, to make Canada’s new accessibility legislation stronger and more accountable.

An older man with sight loss smiles at the camera.

Developed thousands of new virtual programs so every Canadian with sight loss could continue to have a community of support, free from geographical and physical barriers.

A hand holding a bank card above a P.O.S (point of sale) machine.

Joined forces with Moneris Solutions and created an accessible in-store payment terminal for use nationwide

But the work is far from over.

“Our community is telling us that what we’ve accomplished so far is great, but our mission will be limited if we don’t break through some key barriers that continue to exist in our society. We have to draw a line in the sand that says ‘We’ve had enough and we’re not asking for change anymore. We’re demanding it.’”

John M. Rafferty

John M. Rafferty

President and CEO, CNIB

The Way Forward

Together, we’re demanding a more inclusive Canada where…

A young person with sight loss stands with their arms crossed, smiling. They are in a meeting room.

Employers can discover the full potential of Canada’s talent.

A CNIB guide dog sits at an intersection crossing beside its handler. A TTC streetcar can be seen in the background.

There are no barriers to transportation and transit for people with sight loss across Canada.

A close up of a young girl with sight loss.

Misconceptions about people living with sight loss are dispelled.

But we can’t tear down these barriers alone. We need allies. We must shout our message from the rooftops and engage everyone we can – including the general public, like-minded organizations, political representatives, and community advocates – to stand with us.

“We want people who are blind to be seen the way others are seen. Being blind is a characteristic; it doesn’t define who I am. We have to get past the stage where society says about a person who is blind ‘they can’t’, and change that societal attitude to ‘they can.’”

Robert Fenton

Robert Fenton

CNIB Board Chair

“Lack of awareness about the realities of life with blindness and sight loss is the underlying barrier that creates some of the most harm to our community. We need to take bold and swift action now. It’s time to find our loudest voices and be relentless in advocating for people with sight loss. Our community deserves nothing less.”

Keya Osborne

Keya Osborne

Provincial Director, CNIB (Ontario)

Take a stand and support Canadians with sight loss:

The donate icon (a hand with a floating coin above it).
The partner icon (two hands shaking).
The volunteer icon (a hand with a floating clock above it).

Help us make an impact

Visit cnib.ca/TheWayForward or call us at 1-800-563-2642 to get involved.

Next article