Meet the President

John M. Rafferty

John M. Rafferty joined CNIB in March, 2009, as the organization’s eighth president and CEO. Since then, he’s been a catalyst for change and for the modernization of one of Canada’s oldest charities.

John was the driving force behind CNIB’s strategic plan, The Path to Change. In 2013, he led the largest consultation process in CNIB’s history, where we reached out to more than a thousand people in Canada’s vision loss community. 

Through this extensive process, we heard that rehabilitation therapy after vision loss must be integrated within the continuum of health care, and that people shouldn’t have to rely on a charity for the care they need. As a result, John led the launch of The Path to Change, and, in the coming years, will work to collaborate with provincial governments to integrate post-vision loss rehabilitation therapy into the health care system. John will also be working to refocus CNIB’s charitable role to promote services that can enhance the quality of someone’s life after they’ve lost their sight, and on creating a more inclusive society.

John is a member of the C.D. Howe Institute’s Health Policy Council, serves on the Board of Directors for Accessible Media Inc., and is the Chair of Vision 2020 Canada, a national initiative that seeks to eliminate the main causes of avoidable blindness. In 2012, he earned the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, which honours significant contributions and achievements by Canadians to their community.

Issues surrounding vision loss have always played a role in John’s life, after his late grandmother lost her vision to age-related macular degeneration. John remembers the support she received from RNIB in the United Kingdom, and the impact it had on her life. With a strong connection to the cause and a background in business, John jumped at the opportunity to join CNIB.  

John came to CNIB with more than 20 years of international experience in the business world. He brings to CNIB an international perspective gained through years of living and working abroad. Born, raised and educated in England, John’s first job at Dun and Bradstreet brought him to Canada, where he progressed through the ranks to leadership roles in sales, marketing and training. In subsequent roles with British Telecom and Verizon Information Services, he was posted to the UK, Poland and China, navigating those organizations to success in vastly different business and cultural contexts.

John has been married for more than 25 years, and together he and his wife have two amazing daughters who are both in their twenties. He loves to hike, golf and play tennis. He’s a lifelong rugby fan, and commentates games on local broadcast networks in his spare time.​