New Democratic Party of Canada

O T T A W A

September 8, 2015

John M. Rafferty, President & CEO

John R. Matheson, National Board Chair

CNIB

1929 Bayview Avenue,

Toronto, ON M4G 0A1

John.Matheson@cnib.ca

Dear Messers Rafferty and Matheson,

Thank you for your August 15, 2015 letter regarding the CNIB appeal for access to literacy for Canadians who are blind or partially sighted.

The importance of increasing access to written materials and the role of the CNIB as a leading producer of vision-accessible material in Canada is universally acknowledged.

New Democrats agree with the CNIB that the federal government “has a responsibility to work with organizations who support the blind and partially sighted community in Canada to ensure funding for the production of accessible literature is in place”.

Efforts over the past decade such as the IELA, while failing to find an effective path to reaching our goal, have reaffirmed Canadians’ desire to ensure that the literacy rights of the blind and partially sighted are respected and the urgency of putting a system in place to significantly increase access.

As you point out, “Canadians should not be expected to rely in any measure on charitable funding to ensure their basic human right to literacy. This is neither fair nor sustainable.” We must develop a 21st century response to the growing need for accessible materials. We now have an opportunity to integrate the exciting technological advances that have dramatically enhanced our potential to disseminate multiple format materials at affordable costs.

A New Democratic government is committed to working collaboratively with other levels of government and advocacy and service organizations to find a solution to this pressing challenge. We hope to initiate a process in a timely way in order that CNIB and others may proceed with planning and budgeting for their future roles in this effort.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact us.

Regards,

Canada’s New Democrats

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