Insight E-Newsletter - May 2011

Welcome to the May issue of Insight! May is Vision Health Month, a time to get involved in a variety of fun activities across the country to elevate vision health as a priority for Canadians, including Shades of Fun and our celebrity sunglass auction. We also look at an exciting new e-course designed to help Ontario businesses improve customer service for people with disabilities. As always, feel free to drop us a line with your feedback at or follow @CNIB on Twitter.

CNIB calls on all Canadians to get involved with Vision Health Month

Photo of a woman and a young girl wearing their shades for Shades of Fun This May, CNIB is launching its second annual Vision Health Month to raise awareness about eye health and help eliminate avoidable sight loss in Canada.

“Few Canadians realize 75 per cent of vision loss is preventable or treatable,” says John M. Rafferty, CNIB President and CEO. “This month, we’re calling on Canadians to take control of their eye health, starting with getting their eyes checked.”

Simple lifestyle changes like wearing UV-protective sunglasses year-round and eating a diet rich in dark, leafy greens can also have a big impact on your eyes, says Rafferty.

Throughout the course of this month, CNIB is leading a range of exciting activities designed to elevate vision health as a health priority for Canadians – including public service announcements, awareness clinics and fundraising campaigns like Shades of Fun.

Now in its second year, Shades of Fun encourages Canadians from coast to coast to throw on their sunglasses throughout May to protect their eyes from UV damage, and throw fun fundraisers to support CNIB. This year, we’ve even rallied the support of a range of celebrities, from pop stars to actors and TV journalists.

The campaign culminates at the end of the month with Shades of Fun day on May 26, in which thousands of Canadians from coast to coast will be wearing their sunglasses and throwing fun fundraisers to support CNIB.

“Vision loss can happen to anyone, at any time,” says Rafferty. “It’s not life-ending, but it is life-changing. This is why these kinds of events are so important in helping raise awareness about vision health and supporting Canadians who’ve lost their vision and have turned to CNIB for help.”

You can support CNIB Vision Health Month by participating in Shades of Fun or one of many CNIB community events happening throughout May, or by texting CNIB to 45678 to make a $5 donation.


Show us your shades of fun!

Image of sunglasses with people reflected in the lensesHaving a good time for a great cause: that’s what Shades of Fun is all about.

Now in its second year, the campaign culminates on Shades of Fun day, May 26, when thousands of Canadians from coast to coast will be wearing their sunglasses at work, school or home – and throwing fun fundraisers to raise funds for CNIB services.

But that’s just the finale.

Along the way, Canadians from one of the end of the country to the other are getting in on the Shades of Fun action – getting together, wearing their shades, celebrating vision health and having a blast while raising money to support Canadians with vision loss right in their own communities.

“When it comes to getting involved in Shades of Fun, anything goes!” says CNIB President and CEO John M. Rafferty. “Whether you’re fundraiser is a 50/50 draw, a karaoke party or bowling night – whether you hold it on May 15, May 3 or May 26 – you’re making a huge impact in the lives of people with vision loss in your community.”

Getting involved in Shades of Fun means not only having a great time, it also means you’ll be joining the star-studded ranks of Shades of Fun supporters, including pop and R&B singer-songwriter and actor Justin Bieber, who has generously donated sunglasses to CNIB for a Shades of Fun auction on eBay. Sarah McLachlan, David Foster, and many other acclaimed celebrities are also donating their sunglasses to the cause.

Now live and open to bidders, the auction is part of the lead-up to Shades of Fun day (May 26), and all proceeds will go toward CNIB’s vital rehabilitation services for Canadians who are blind or partially sighted across the country.

“Whether it’s the families of my foundation or Canadians getting too much sun (yes it does shine a lot in Canada!), the well-being of Canadians is important to me,” said multiple Grammy award-winning producer, David Foster, who was the first celebrity to lend his support. “Please wear your shades to shield yourself from the sun’s UV rays – or the paparazzi.”

Foster is joined in his support of CNIB by many other entertainers, athletes and media personalities, including Canada AM’s Jeff Hutcheson, actor Erin Karpluk (CBC’s “Being Erica”) and Olympic Gold Medalist Christine Nesbitt.

“We’re thrilled and humbled by the generosity of these celebrities,” said Steve Lutz, Vice President of Fund Development at CNIB. “Their participation will go a long way toward raising awareness about vision health, and raising funds for CNIB services from coast to coast.”

To view the full list of participating celebrities and their sunglasses, visit


New e-course poised to help Ontario businesses better serve people with disabilities

For people with disabilities, the Accessibility for OntariansPicture of two keyboard keys with 'AODA' and 'Customer Service Standard' on them with Disabilities Act (AODA) promises to make living in Ontario a lot easier in the future. The new act requires Ontario businesses to embrace several new measures to better serve people with disabilities, including providing fully accessible customer service.

To help Ontario businesses meet the new requirements of the AODA, CNIB has partnered with March of Dimes Canada and The Canadian Hearing Society to develop an innovative new e-learning course, with which businesses can train staff on providing better customer service to people with disabilities.

“The training benefits everyone,” says CNIB Accessibility Consultant Debbie Gillespie. “As boomers age, people are going to expect a standard of customer service like they enjoyed when they were younger. And this training will benefit people with temporary disabilities like broken limbs too.”

Public sector organizations were required to train staff by the end of 2009, while private businesses must train their staff by December 31, 2011.

“There are still many organizations out there that don’t realize that they have to comply with this law and that they have to do so by the end of the year,” says Frances Jewett of AccessAbility Advantage. “Or if they do know, they aren’t sure how to go about it.”

Produced by AccessAbility Advantage and Vubiz (a company that specializes in e-learning) in consultation with CNIB, March of Dimes Canada and The Canadian Hearing Society, the e-course is an easy and cost-effective way for Ontario businesses to meet the requirements of the act and provide better customer services to all Canadians – enabling their staff to know what questions to ask and how best to support customers with disabilities.

A portion of the proceeds from the Accessible Customer Service E-Learning Course goes to CNIB, March of Dimes Canada and The Canadian Hearing Society. To learn more about the course, visit


Image of You and Your Vision Health guideShop CNIB

Get informed with “You and Your Vision Health,” - $9.95

A must-read for all ages, “You and Your Vision Health: Yes, Something More CAN Be Done!” is a comprehensive one-stop guide for all Canadians who want to learn about vision health. Get informed about the leading causes of age-related vision loss, and learn important facts, tips and strategies for maintaining vision health. For those with vision loss, the guide also offers a list of support services and programs available in Canada.


Monthly Giving - Become a Partner in Vision

Photo of a woman hugging a young childFor as little as $10 a month, you can help CNIB empower people to overcome the challenges and isolation of vision loss ensuring they have the confidence, skills and opportunities to actively participate in life – 365 days a year. Become a Partner in Vision today and help us provide direct, one-on-one support for Canadians who are blind or partially sighted in your community.

Back to top of page