At CNIB, we are committed to changing what it is to be blind for Indigenous Peoples through collaboration and engagement with First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities across the country.
We humbly acknowledge that the CNIB team lives, learns, works, and plays across Turtle Island. With staff spanning from Lekwungen territory in the West to Algonquin territory in the East, we pay respect to the traditional guardians of the land upon which we live and work.
CNIB acknowledges that Indigenous peoples are the traditional guardians of Turtle Island, on the land also known as Canada. We recognize their long standing and ongoing relationship with this territory, which includes unceded and traditional land, and acknowledge our duty to walk with and alongside reconciliation and decolonization efforts.
Our commitment to Indigenous peoples
We believe that as settlers on this land, we have a responsibility to continually engage along our journey to meaningfully enact allyship, to reassess and reconsider our positionality in the spaces we occupy, and to use our voice to speak out against systemic injustices experienced by Indigenous peoples.
Reconciliation is an ongoing process, requiring unlearning colonial practices and history alongside relearning our shared past, present and future. CNIB is committed to working in partnership to pursue a more inclusive, collaborative, and respectful path forward by working on our own reconciliation plan that is grounded in the 94 Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
Our Commitment to Truth and Reconciliation
CNIB is committed to ensuring that we continue to explore and engage in meaningful dialogue and unlearn colonial practices. We have served Indigenous peoples for 50 years through mobile care units and community programming. We will continue to take direction from the lived experience of Indigenous participants and amplify their voices to ensure our innovative programs and powerful advocacy incorporate the Calls to Action outlined in the final report from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. As we honour the truth and reconcile for the future, we will develop new partnerships to serve our Indigenous community and foster a more inclusive Canada.
CNIB has been working with Tawi:ne Consulting Inc., an Indigenous-owned company specializing in Indigenous engagement and consultation, policy/governance, and capacity development, to develop the Reconciliation – The Way Forward with measurable targets and specific actions to hold us accountable for this important work.
Deliver innovative programs and powerful advocacy across the country to empower first Nations, Inuit and Metis people impacted by blindness to live their dreams and tear down barriers to inclusion.
As part of CNIB’s Truth and Reconciliation journey, we will:
- Educate our workforce and provide skills-based training to embrace inclusion, diversity, equity, accessibility and belonging that supports intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights, and anti-racism for Indigenous peoples.
- Understand the Indigenous landscape in Canada from a regional perspective and building meaningful relationships to support Indigenous peoples.
- Define, develop, and deliver beneficial programs, based on consultations with Indigenous peoples living with sight loss, and secure sustainable funding.
- Strengthen our workforce through the recruitment and retention of Indigenous peoples while providing equitable access to employment opportunities.
Maximizing Impact for Indigenous peoples who are blind, partially sighted or Deafblind
- Collaborate with or support Indigenous organizations and communities to develop inclusive and tailored programs for Indigenous peoples who are blind, partially sighted, or Deafblind within CNIB’s core program areas: Live, Work, Play, Learn and Technology.
- Integrate Indigenous participation as part of the CNIB’s new strategic plan, The Way Forward for 2023 – 2028, and the three commitment areas:
- Attitude is Everything: Increase understanding of blindness and dispel misconceptions about people who are blind, partially sighted, or Deafblind.
- Safe and Accessible Journeys: Remove barriers and create safe, accessible door-to-door journeys for all.
- Our Kids will Thrive: Give parents and children the support they need to excel in and out of the classroom.
- Engage with Indigenous communities and organizations to increase CNIB programs and develop new co-created service offerings.
- Create dedicated resources within our website for Indigenous users that provides information about available programs, services, point of contact, and FAQs.
Building an Inclusive Organization
- Review and update policies, programs and processes, such as:
- Indigenous Relations Strategy
- Indigenous Inclusion Policy to increase recruitment and retention of Indigenous staff
- Indigenous Procurement Policy for procurement from Indigenous providers
- Indigenous Cultural Practices and Resources Guide
- Workplace inclusion programs (benefits, wellness, etc.)
- Organizational learning
- Support learning and implementation of inclusive approaches across CNIB’s network:
- CNIB Access Labs
- CNIB Come to Work
- CNIB Phone it Forward
- CNIB Guide Dogs
- CNIB Lake Joe
- CNIB Mobile Hub
- CNIB Scholarships
- CNIB SmartLife
- CNIB Vision Mate
- CNIB Deafblind Community Services
- Vision Loss Rehabilitation Canada
- Other Partners
- Share resources with Canadian employers via Accessibility Standards Canada Inclusive Workplaces Project.
- Work with Indigenous communities and organizations, and government, to review existing programs to ensure they meet the needs of Indigenous peoples who are blind, partially sighted or Deafblind.
- Participate in Indigenous-led networks, such as:
- Enrolling in the Progressive Aboriginal Relations certification program of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB)
- Partnering with National Collaborating Center for Indigenous Health
- Signing MOU with national Indigenous organizations
Reconciliation – The Way Forward will be weaved into our programs, our advocacy, our policies, and our recruitment practices, with an intersectional lens as part of The Way Forward. These objectives will complement other initiatives we will undertake to support marginalized communities to help create an inclusive Canada where people who are blind, low vision, or Deafblind and all lived experiences can thrive.
We are committed to holding our organization accountable for its role in reconciliation. Therefore, activities, targets, timelines, and responsibilities, including annual reporting, have been established to support the implementation of Reconciliation – The Way Forward.
For more information on CNIB’s Reconciliation Plan or our inclusive programming for Indigenous people, please reach out to Meghan Mahon, Lead, Community Outreach (Indigenous and Rural Communities) at firstname.lastname@example.org.