A smiling John M. Rafferty & Thomas Simpson stand at a table and hold multiple donated smartphones from the Bank of Canada. The table is also stacked with donated smartphones. Behind them stands a Phone it Forward banner display.

Bank of Canada donates 650 smartphones to Canadians with sight loss

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CNIB challenges other businesses and corporations to step up and donate 

TORONTO, Jan. 27, 2021 – The Bank of Canada is donating 650 of its gently used smartphones to Canadians with sight loss through CNIB's Phone It Forward program.

Phone it Forward refurbishes modern, gently used smartphones, loads them with accessible apps, and puts them directly into the hands of Canadians who are blind or partially sighted. The program also provides recipients with technology training. 

“This is so much more than a green initiative aimed at reusing smartphones, it’s about putting accessible technology and a powerful tool in the hands of Canadians with sight loss," said Maureen Carroll, Bank of Canada's Managing Director, Currency. "The Bank is very pleased to make this donation to Phone It Forward and of its long-standing partnership with CNIB.” 

Sixty-one per cent of Canadians with sight loss use a smartphone in their daily activities, according to CNIB's 2020 Technology Use Survey. Accessible apps make it possible for individuals with sight loss to do all kinds of things that may have seemed impossible before. 

Phone It Forward recipients learn about accessible apps that can enhance independence, such as travelling with GPS, taking the proper dosage of medication, identifying colours and faces, reading printed text, accessing live video assistance from a sighted volunteer, and dozens of other day-to-day tasks that may have seemed challenging before. 

"The Bank of Canada's generosity will go a long way towards revolutionizing daily life for hundreds of individuals who are blind. For many of the recipients, a smartphone would have been out of reach," said John M. Rafferty, CNIB's President and CEO. "CNIB challenges other Canadian businesses and corporations to follow the Bank of Canada's footsteps and donate their gently used smartphones to change the lives of Canadians with sight loss."

When businesses donate smartphones through CNIB's Phone It Forward program, Canadians with sight loss receive refurbished smartphones in addition to 10 to 15 hours of one-on-one training to teach them how to best use the accessibility features and apps on their phone.

To donate your smartphone, make a financial donation or learn more, visit phoneitforward.ca.

About the CNIB Foundation 
Founded in 2018, the CNIB Foundation is a non-profit organization driven to change what it is to be blind today. We deliver innovative programs and powerful advocacy that empower people impacted by blindness to live their dreams and tear down barriers to inclusion. Our work as a blind foundation is powered by a network of volunteers, donors and partners from coast to coast to coast. To learn more or get involved, visit: cnib.ca

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Media contact:
Karin McArthur
Lead, Marketing & Communications, CNIB
Karin.Mcarthur@cnib.ca | 437-922-7353

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