National Highlights

From sea to shining sea. Our national highlights. we provide more than 560,000 hours of service to our clients across Canada

CNIB is proud to be a national organization that serves people in communities large and small, right across Canada. Here, you’ll learn more about our national achievements – designed to improve the lives of Canadians who are blind or partially sighted for generations to come.

Walking the Path to Change

Over the last year we’ve made tremendous progress on our strategic plan, the Path to Change, as we work to integrate post-vision loss rehabilitation therapy into each province’s health care continuum. Throughout this report, you’ll see how we’ve progressed on our Path to Change goals in each region nationwide.

That success to date has allowed us to power forward on a bold new vision for our charitable future – enabling us to start laying the groundwork for an exciting array of new programs and services. Developed in close consultation with our clients, volunteers and staff, these services will run the gamut from peer support and mentorship, to employment, technology, children and youth support, as well as public education and advocacy programming to overturn the stigma and barriers faced by Canadians with vision loss. To learn more about the Path to Change, visit cnib.ca/pathtochange.

Bringing accessible literature to public libraries

No Canadian should be dependent on a charity to uphold their basic human right to read. CNIB has long been Canada’s main provider of alternative format library materials, including audio, and braille. While CNIB continues to produce this material in partnership with the Government of Canada, the delivery into the hands of Canadians who are blind or partially sighted ultimately belongs with public libraries. That’s why CNIB, in collaboration with Canada’s public libraries, helped to develop the Centre for Equitable Library Services (CELA) last year.

CELA is a new non-profit organization designed to ensure Canadians with print disabilities have access to equitable library service, right through their local public library. CNIB has been strongly advocating for government to integrate accessible library services within the public library system for many years. The launch of CELA represents not only a huge step toward that goal – but an historic victory on the journey to full equality in this country. Learn more about CELA at celalibrary.ca.

Introducing the world’s first affordable braille display

A refreshable braille device is a unit that displays braille characters, usually with round-tipped pins raised through holes in a flat surface. Until recently, the average refreshable braille display machine retailed for around $3,000 – putting it out of reach for many people here in Canada and around the world. That’s why CNIB was thrilled to join forces with nine other blindness organizations worldwide last year to develop the world’s first affordable braille display, the Orbit Braille Reader. At a price point of under $500, the Orbit will make at-home braille literacy attainable to untold thousands of people, without breaking the bank. CNIB was proud to provide research and development funding – as well as our expertise and testing services – to bring this ground-breaking product to life.

Championing the Marrakesh Treaty for barrier-free books

After extensive advocacy work to bring this milestone to pass, CNIB was thrilled when in March 2016, the federal government announced its official commitment to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty – and with it, to break down longstanding barriers for three million Canadians with print disabilities to obtain literature in alternative formats.

Developed by the World Intellectual Property Organization, the Marrakesh Treaty centres on making changes to domestic copyright laws to allow sharing of accessible reading materials between nations. Currently in Canada, only an alarming seven per cent of published works are available in a format that can be read by people with print disabilities, including braille, audio and large-print. The ratification of this treaty will allow Canadians with print disabilities to have access to a wider range of published literature than ever before.

Clearing Our Path for an accessible society

Architectural design shouldn’t create barriers that hinder safe use of a space or limit independent travel. That’s why CNIB developed the first print edition of Clearing Our Path in 1998 to provide information on creating accessible environments for people with vision loss. It’s become an invaluable tool for architects, designers, building owners, planners, standards bodies and others in making indoor and outdoor spaces universally accessible.

Thanks to Government of Canada funding, Clearing Our Path was recently adapted for digital format and is available online for the first time. Our hope is that by sharing this expertise with a wide audience, the built environment will become more accessible for everyone. Visit clearingourpath.ca to learn more.

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