CNIB Responds to Minister Bernard’s Comments

4/17/2015

CNIB is dismayed by the recent comments made by Nova Scotia Community Services Minister, Joanne Bernard, regarding funding of its essential vision rehabilitation services.  The Minister’s comments come on the heels of the provincial government’s recent budget announcement, in which the majority-governing Liberals made significant funding cuts for several community groups, including a 30% funding cut to CNIB.

Funds CNIB receives from the Department of Community Services are instrumental to its ability to deliver essential rehabilitation therapy services to Nova Scotians living with vision loss. These vital services help individuals who are blind and partially sighted overcome the challenges of vision loss and lead safe and independent lives. Cuts to these essential services jeopardize the fundamental rights of individuals living with vision loss in the province.

“The rehabilitation therapy that CNIB provides is a vital service for those who need it, and should be part of the publicly-funded health care continuum. Essential services like post vision-loss rehabilitation therapy should never be dependent on the ability of a charity to raise adequate funds in a competitive market place,” said Pamela Gow-Boyd, Executive Director & Regional Vice President, CNIB Atlantic Canada.

The comments made by Minister Bernard to CBC further illustrate the dire need to change the way that the Province of Nova Scotia perceives and treats individuals who are blind or partially sighted within society.

Although dismayed at the unfounded comments and unfortunate mischaracterization of the organization’s financial situation, Gow-Boyd expressed hope for a positive outcome, stating, “We wish to meet with Minister Bernard to help her better understand the nature of the work CNIB does in communities across the province and the vital importance of this funding to the mobility, independence and safety of Nova Scotians with vision loss.”

CNIB looks forward to collaborating with the Government of Nova Scotia to identify opportunities to integrate post-vision loss rehabilitation therapy into the province’s continuum of health care, and sustain this vital service into the future.

For more information please contact:

Katherine Harris
Manager, Corporate Communications
CNIB
T: 416-486-2500 ext. 7570
C: 416-347-5683
katharine.harris@cnib.ca

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