What We Believe

Since it was founded in 1918, CNIB has played a pivotal role in the development of Canada’s social service sector, and in the establishment of some basic rights and freedoms.

In the 1930s, CNIB pushed for legislation to compensate workers who lost their sight on the job, and was behind various measures which facilitated travel for people living with vision loss – in Toronto, for example, people with vision loss were issued passes that exempted them from paying transit fares, and other Canadian cities quickly followed suit.

Around the same time, CNIB’s Blindness Prevention Committee spearheaded a movement to treat the eyes of all newborn babies with antibiotics in an effort to eradicate a common but debilitating eye condition, a practice which is still routine to this day.

Advocacy Initiatives

After World War II, CNIB’s advocacy and lobbying efforts resulted in the Federal Government passing the Blind Persons and Disabled Persons Acts. Decades later, in 1982, CNIB was one of the key organizations working for the inclusion of rights for people with disabilities in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as it became a part of the Constitution.

In 1997, CNIB worked closely with the Canadian government to establish the Copyright Act, which legislated equal access to information for people with a print disability. Now Canadian law permits the making of braille and audio versions of literary, artistic, musical, and dramatic works, without copyright infringement, for the benefit of individuals who depend on alternate formats of printed material.

Today, CNIB continues to work on policy issues such as improving the Disability Tax Credit, increasing access to alternate-format material for Canadians with a print disability, and instituting a nationwide Assistive Devices program.

CNIB’s Position Statements

Read our position statements below to find out where we stand on issues related to vision health and vision loss.