Minister’s misunderstanding of CNIB is hurting blind Nova Scotians

7/14/2015

In response to your story, Non-profit groups denounce lesser-known N.S. budget cuts (July 12, 2015), I would like to set the record straight regarding Minister Bernard’s assertion that the non-profits that had their funding cut – like CNIB – don’t monitor their outcomes or provide reporting mechanisms.

She also questions whether non-profits know who they help and if it’s making a difference.

Over the last year, 2,312 Nova Scotians who are blind or partially sighted received more than 12,000 hours of services from CNIB to help them live more safely and independently.

CNIB uses a client relations management system to track the number of referrals, individuals who receive services, and hours of service delivered.

And yes, the programs and services CNIB specialists deliver DO make a difference.

Individuals have reported a wide range of outcomes, including being able to independently prepare meals, identify and administer medications, travel safely with a white cane, read print using magnifiers and assistive technology, and use public transportation to access educational, employment and recreational opportunities.

Long-term outcomes include less dependence on social programs, less depression and social isolation, fewer falls, and more people living independently in their homes rather than in long-term care facilities.

Let’s be clear, the Minister cut funding to CNIB based on her misunderstanding that we are an advocacy organization. She admits, “We didn’t have much information about what they did.”

Yet CNIB met with her Department annually and provided comprehensive information about our programs and services – and the impact.

As a result of the Minister’s misunderstanding, CNIB has recently been forced to eliminate 3.5 full time positions and more cuts are imminent if we do not receive increased funding from government.

Without access to programs and services that help Nova Scotians who are blind or partially sighted to become more safe, independent and self-reliant, there will be a greater cost to government, individuals with vision loss, their families and our communities.

The Department of Community Services’ cuts to CNIB programs and services are hurting some of our province’s most vulnerable citizens.

Shortsighted, indeed.

Pamela Gow-Boyd
Executive Director and Regional Vice-President
CNIB (Atlantic Canada)

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Media contact:

Catherine Kieran
Communications Manager (Atlantic), CNIB
6136 Almon St.
Halifax, NS
B3K 1T8
T: (902) 453-1480, ext. 5709
C: (902) 497-6970
F: (902) 454-6570
catherine.kieran@cnib.ca

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