CNIB's EmployAbility Campaign Calls on Employers to See Past Misconceptions

10/17/2017
(Regina) During National Disability Employment Awareness Month, CNIB is calling on employers to look past misconceptions about hiring people who are blind or partially sighted by running the EmployAbility campaign for the second year in a row.

"It is really easy to employ a person who is blind or partially sighted. I am blind and have been meaningfully employed for over 30 years. I am happy to contribute positively to my workplace and help CGI achieve our business objectives. I just need minor workplace adaptations and computer applications to do so." says Rich Letourneau, a helpdesk analyst who supports CGI clients from offices in Regina.

The employment rate among Canadians with vision loss is strikingly low: 38 per cent versus 73 per cent for people without a disability. And approximately half of Canadians who are blind or partially sighted live on a low income of $20,000 a year or less.  

According to last year's Ipsos survey, 70 per cent of Canadians say, if faced with two fully qualified candidates, they would hire a sighted job candidate over a blind one. Barriers to employment are rooted in lack of experience working with an individual with vision loss, as well as lack of understanding about how someone with vision loss performs their job.

CNIB is working to change these statistics through their Career and Employment Services which help people with vision loss gain the skills they need to find meaningful employment and maintain employment when they experience sight loss. 
"We also want employers to know we are a resource to help them understand how to employ people who are blind and partially sighted," said Amber Boyd, Career and Employment Specialist with Vision Loss Rehabilitation Saskatchewan, a CNIB organization.

CNIB also recognized that another step was needed to help decrease these statistics and launched the Youth Leadership Program in Saskatchewan in September. This program is designed to provide youth who are blind or partially sighted opportunities to develop leadership, advocacy, and compensatory skills in a social setting with the goal of building self-esteem, confidence, social and community engagement, and self-efficacy (empowerment). 

"Learning that your blindness is not a hindrance but something that makes you…you, will give youth with sight loss the confidence to go for their dreams and know that they can do whatever it is they want to do which includes going for the job they want," said Ashley Nemeth, CNIB Program Lead for Community Engagement. "I wish this program existed when I was younger as it would have made a big difference in my employment experience." 

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For more information on the EmployAbility campaign visit cnib.ca/employability for more information on hiring someone who is blind today.

About CNIB
CNIB is a registered charity, passionately providing community-based support, knowledge and a national voice to ensure Canadians who are blind or partially sighted have the confidence, skills and opportunities to fully participate in life. For more information, visit www.cnib.ca.

For additional information, or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Jackie Lay 
Communications Specialist, CNIB
Cell: (306) 540-3086, Email: jackie.lay@cnib.ca​


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