Ontario region switcher


For content relevant to your community in Ontario, Please select your region

Completed Projects

Main Content

International levels of employment study (2018)

Educational Outcomes Survey (2019)

Guide dog advocacy priorities study (2019)

Cost of Vision Loss in Canada Update (2019)

Money habits survey (2018) (Funded by Bank of Canada)


International levels of employment study (2018)

Our goal was to understand the nature of employment of persons with sight loss, as well as barriers and reasons for not participating in the labour force.

The international levels of employment study closed Canada-wide on May 7, 2018, with 1,205 survey responses (825 online, 370 by phone).

Findings from Canadian data

Employment rate: Two in five people with sight loss surveyed are employed; 3 in 10 are employed full-time. Younger people are more likely to be employed than older people and people with mild/moderate sight loss are more likely to be employed than those with severe/total sight loss. Use of braille and screen-reader usage is not associated with success in employment.

Self-employment: Older persons with sight loss are more likely to be self-employed. There is a significant segment of the population interested in self-employment as a potential career route.

Barriers to employment: Attitudes and transportation are significant barriers to being hired and promoted in the workplace for persons with sight loss.

Unemployment rate and reasons for not looking for work: The unemployment rate for persons with sight loss is 14.5% – triple the Canadian general unemployment rate. Older persons with sight loss are more likely to be out of the labour force.


Educational Outcomes Survey (2019)

Our goal was to understand the educational experiences of 18-21 year olds who experience sight loss.

High School Graduation Rates

The overall HS graduation rate of youth blind or partially sighted, 18-21 years of age, is 75%.

For youth who experience blindness or partial sight only (64% of the survey respondent population), the HS graduation rate is 88%.

For youth who experience blindness or partial sight in addition to other disabilities (36% of the survey respondent population), the HS graduation rate is 58%.

Of all high school graduates, 87.5% graduated with a high school diploma; 12.5% graduated with a certificate of completion or a GED.

76% of high school graduates reported completing high school at 18 years of age or younger; 24% reported finishing high school older than 19 years of age.

Planned Postsecondary Education

79% of respondents indicated that they planned to proceed to postsecondary education.

Of this cohort, 49% planned to attend university, 38% community college, 7% trade school and 6% private career college.

Only 62% of high school graduates were already enrolled in postsecondary education, representing 37% of those with postsecondary enrolment plans.

An addition 44% of those with plans to attend postsecondary would enroll in the next two academic years (2019 or 2020 entry); the remaining 19% of individuals planned to attend in the next 3-5 years.

Braille Use

26% of respondents indicated they used Braille.

Of those who used Braille, 34% read for pleasure, 24% used for labeling, 21% read for school/work, 10% for note taking, and 10% did not use Braille in any of these contexts.

Only 15% of students reported receiving assistance for educational specialists for Braille instruction, and 14% for Braille transcription.


Guide dog advocacy priorities study (2019)

In collaboration with CNIB Guide Dogs, the department conducted a series of focus groups to understand the advocacy challenges, barriers and opportunities that guide dog teams graduating from the program will face in the Canadian landscape.

Key Findings

  • 45.3% respondents were guide dog handlers for less than 10 years and 54.7% were for ten or more years.
  • Most respondents (33.3%) are between ages 51 – 63.
  • Technology such as apps was used frequently by guide dog users – 96% of respondents used smartphones.
  • Guide dog handlers frequently found access issues in shopping centre and avoided them.
  • Guide dog handers avoided going to hotels and found that this impacted on daily life.
  • Most guide dog handlers have been employed in their lifetime.
  • Guide dog handlers had a current employment rate of 55% compared to white cane users who had a current employment rate of 36%.


Cost of Vision Loss in Canada Update (2019)

This is an updated study that was based on the original Cost of Vision Loss 2008 study conducted by Deloitte Access Economics, commissioned by CNIB and the Canadian Ophthalmological Society.

The total financial cost of vision loss in 2017 was $23.5 billion, consisting of a total of $10.8 billion direct costs and $12.7 billion indirect costs. The financial cost of vision loss is variable by province. The provinces that had the highest direct costs were Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia.


Money habits survey (2018) (Funded by Bank of Canada)

This study examined the use of bank note readers, shopping habits, financial literacy and attitudes toward money of blind and partially sighted Canadians.
The money habits study closed in April 2018, with 188 responses collected over the phone in French and English.

Denomination methods

  • 83% of the sample use the large numeral feature, denomination (colour), and the tactile feature as their primary method determining the face value of bank notes.
  • Only 14% of smartphone users have installed an app to determine the value of currency. The main ones are Seeing AI and TapTapSee.

Bank note reader

  • One in five own a bank-note reader.
  • 44% of bank note reader owners were 65-plus.
  • Of these owners, 9 in 10 use their reader only sparingly and mainly at home.
  • Owners of bank-note readers use tactile feature, the bank note reader and third-party verification as the main ways of determining face value.


  • Almost 3 in 4 own a smartphone.
  • Those under 55 are much more likely to have a smartphone or tablet than those 55 and older.

Financial activity and literacy

  • Two-thirds of households have a budget, and 9 in 10 say they have a reliable and regular income.
  • The median household income was $50,000. The Canadian median household income is $70,366.
  • About one in four have experienced income shortfalls in the past 12 months. While four in 10 claim they can cover living expenses for 12 months, three in 10 could only cover three months or less.
  • Most have a careful and conservative approach to finances.
  • Half achieved “financially literate” and half achieved “moderately literate” on the financial literacy test.

Shopping behavior and payment method

  • In the past 12 months, 40% of shopping payments were made in cash, in comparison to 33% in the Canadian population. Most of the sample used cash, credit and debit as the main ways to pay.
  • Most withdraw cash once a month, or more often.
  • Most shop at brick-and-mortar stores. Online shopping accounts for 16% of past 12-month shopping
  • Smartphone users also shop online (20% of their shopping volume is done online), more than those who do not own a smartphone (7% of their shopping volume is done online).