CNIB

CNIB is a registered charity, passionately providing community-based support, knowledge and a national voice to ensure Canadians who are blind or partially sighted have the confidence, skills and opportunities to fully participate in life and no Canadian loses their sight to preventable causes. To do that, our dedicated specialists work with people of all ages in their own homes, communities or local CNIB offices – providing the personalized rehabilitation support they need to see beyond vision loss, build their independence and lead the lives they want. In addition to our community-based services, we also work hand-in-hand with Canadians who are blind or partially sighted to advocate for a barrier-free society, and we strive to eliminate avoidable sight loss with world-class research and by promoting the importance of vision health through public education.

Our Impact Why We Exist

CNIB is a registered charity, passionately providing community-based support, knowledge and a national voice to ensure Canadians who are blind or partially sighted have the confidence, skills and opportunities to fully participate in life and no Canadian loses their sight to preventable causes.

To do that, our dedicated specialists work with people of all ages in their own homes, communities or local CNIB offices – providing emotional support and personalized rehabilitation services in everyday skills like cooking and walking safely with a white cane. We also offer access to a range of innovative consumer products that can make life with vision loss easier, as well as the CNIB Library, Canada’s largest collection of materials in alternative formats like braille and audio.

In addition to our community-based services, we also work hand-in-hand with Canadians who are blind or partially sighted to advocate for a barrier-free society, and we strive to eliminate avoidable sight loss with world-class research and by promoting the importance of vision health through public education.

Since our founding in 1918, CNIB has grown to become the primary resource for Canadians who are blind or partially sighted, with offices in communities across the country. We’re proud to help thousands of Canadians see beyond vision loss every single day.

CNIB receives less than 35 per cent of its total funding from government sources, so we rely on public donations to help us be there for all those who need our services. To make a donation or learn more, visit cnib.ca or call the toll-free CNIB Helpline at 1-800-563-2642.

Our Story What We Do

There are estimated to be more than one million Canadians living with blindness or a serious loss of sight today, and that number is growing all the time. For many, adjusting to life with vision loss is a frightening, overwhelming experience with challenges at every turn. 

The need for help 

Because of our aging population, more Canadians are losing their vision today than ever before. But sadly, that doesn’t mean the support available to help them is keeping up with the demand. 

In fact, CNIB is the only place many Canadians have to turn to for help when they experience a serious loss of vision. And as a charity receiving less than 35 per cent of its funding from the government, we rely on your support to continue to be there for all those who need us.  

The need for change

  • Approximately 2.2 million Ontarians have one of the four major eye diseases - age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and cataracts - and are at serious risk of losing their vision in the future.
  • Approximately 187,000 Ontarians currently live with significant vision loss that impacts their quality of life.
  • 10 years from now, the prevalence of vision loss in Ontario is projected to increase by nearly 30 per cent due to the aging populations.
  • Higher prevalence of obesity and diabetes also places more Ontarians at risk of developing vision loss.

Our Programs How We Do It

TIES (Teens Involved in Employment and Sports) is a component of CNIB's Toronto-based child and youth programming. Unique to the needs of teens in the city who are blind or partially sighted, TIES aims to prepare teens for employment and post-secondary school by exposing them to new experiences. Toronto Vital Signs indicators addressed by TIES:

  • According to Vital Signs, "the youth unemployment rate has hovered around 20%." Based on the fact that the employment rate for Canadians with low vision is so high - 65% - the unemployment rate for youth with vision loss will be even higher than the Toronto averge. TIES works to empower youth to advocate for themselves in the workplace, provide valuable training, and assist with advancing their knowledge on how to use technology in the workplace.
  • Vital Signs notes that 10.5% of Toronto Region's population is living in poverty. Almost half of all adults with blindness or partial sight report groww annual incomes of $20,000 or less. By empowering teens and helping prepare them for post-secondary school and employement opportunities, TIES aims to increase the average potential income for teens.
  • Individuals who are blind or partially sighted often report feelings of isolation. Vital Signs notes that "almost one quarter of Toronto's youth lack a sense of belonging to their local community" - through TIES, CNIB helps teens to feel more connected to their peers and their communities.

More about CNIB Services:

Emotional and wellness support: Understanding and advice when you need it most

It’s not unusual to feel depressed, angry or alone when you experience a loss of vision, and there will probably be times when you wish you had someone to help you work through these feelings. If you’re struggling to overcome the emotional challenges of vision loss, we’re here for you.

  • Join a CNIB support group and receive emotional support from other people who understand the impact of vision loss on everyday life.
  • Call the toll-free CNIB Helpline at 1-800-563-2642 and get immediate, confidential telephone support. Many of our Helpline staff are blind or partially sighted themselves, and all are trained to assist you in accessing programs and services to help meet your needs.
  • Join our Vision Mate program and connect with a caring volunteer who’s trained to provide assistance.
  • Access counselling services through CNIB or recommended community resources.
  • Learn about opportunities to take part in leisure, recreation and social programs in your community. 

Low vision services: Make the most of the sight you have     

If you’ve experienced a partial loss of vision, learning to maximize your remaining sight can be life-changing. Our low vision specialists can help you make the most of your sight, and live life to the fullest.  

  • Receive a specialized vision assessment designed specifically for people with low vision, and have our specialists explain the effects of your vision loss in easy-to-understand language.
  • Learn tips and tricks for maximizing your sight, like how to use lighting and contrast to your best advantage.   
  • Receive one-on-one instruction in the use of helpful devices that may enhance your sight, like specialty magnifiers. 

Independent living services: Build everyday skills and confidence

Our specialists will work with you one-on-one or in a group setting, helping you build the skills to live independently and lead the life you want.  

  • Learn safe methods of pouring a cup of coffee, preparing a meal and using household appliances.
  • Discover simple techniques for identifying money, using the phone, labelling medications and organizing household items.
  • Learn how to make large-print, braille and audio products a helpful part of your day-to-day life – enabling you to keep track of phone numbers, recipes and more. 
  • Find out about community programs, financial subsidies and other helpful resources available in your local area. 

Independent travel instruction: Travel with confidence

Learning to travel alone with vision loss doesn’t have to be scary; in fact, it can be a liberating experience, and our caring specialists will be there every step of the way. So whether you want to reach the corner store or the farthest corners of the country, we’ll help you build the skills to get there.

  • Learn the sighted guide technique: a safe and comfortable way to walk with a sighted person.
  • Discover how a white cane makes travelling with vision loss easier and safer.
  • Learn how to find and cross intersections so you can travel independently. 
  • Ride public transit with confidence and reach community resources like your local grocery store, bank or shopping mall. 
  • Navigate new environments like a new workplace or school campus.  

The CNIB Library: Rediscover the joys of reading

Home to more than 80,000 accessible materials in formats like braille and audio, the CNIB Library is Canada’s largest library for people who are unable to read traditional print. If you love reading, the CNIB Library is yours to explore.

  • Find books and magazines in a variety of accessible formats; we’ll help you find the format that’s right for you.
  • Download books and daily newspapers at the click of a button through our digital collection. 
  • Enjoy classic movies with our narrated video collection.
  • Help your kids discover a love of reading with braille and printbraille books for children and teens, as well as our online Children’s Discovery Portal.

If you’d like help finding a book, movie or other library material, call 1-800-268-8818 or email library@cnib.ca.

Assistive technology services: Stay connected

Discover a new world of cutting-edge products – from accessible audio book players, to video magnifiers, to computer screen readers and a host of other items to make life with vision loss easier. 

  • Receive an assessment and get recommendations from our experts on assistive technologies that meet your specific needs.
  • Learn to use your assistive technologies, with instruction from a CNIB specialist who will help to make the process as simple as possible. 
  • Get the tools you need to do your best at work or school.
  • Find out what financial supports you may be eligible to receive for the purchase of assistive products.

Shop CNIB: Find helpful products for better living 

Shop CNIB offers Canada’s largest array of products and technology for better living with vision loss. Here are just a few of the products you’ll find at Shop CNIB:

  • Around the house: magnifiers of all kinds; talking watches, timers and scales; large-button phones; and colour identifiers 
  • Fun stuff: braille board games, tactile dice, TV magnifiers and large-print playing cards  
  • Out and about: white canes, pocket magnifiers, specialty sunglasses and talking pedometers
  • At the office: high-contrast, large-print keyboards; braillers; signature guides; and talking calculators

Career and employment services: Open the door to opportunity

Our career and employment services can give you the information and resources you need to build your job skills and achieve a satisfying career. 

  • Get one-on-one support in exploring your career interests, pursuing job opportunities, networking or building your presentation skills. 
  • Find or become a professional mentor through our online CareerConnect Canada program. 
  • Learn about tuition and wage subsidies that may be available to help you access training or start a new job.

Child and family services: Build a brighter future for your child

At every stage, CNIB is an essential resource for children and families living with vision loss – helping children who are blind or partially sighted grow into successful, confident adults.

Our child and family services . . .

  • give children the support they need to excel, like braille preparation, tactile learning sessions and peer programs.
  • help teens prepare for their futures, explore their career interests and transition to post-secondary school.
  • provide parents with educational materials, peer groups, access to local resources, workshops on raising a child who is blind or partially sighted, and more.
  • empower families to advocate for improved educational opportunities for the welfare of their children.

Vital Youth/Playing For Keeps TIES Partnership

TIES (Teens Involved in Employment and Sports) is a component of CNIB's Toronto-based child and youth programming. Unique to the needs of teens in the city who are blind or partially sighted, TIES aims to prepare teens for employment and post-secondary school by exposing them to new experiences.

Toronto Vital Signs indicators addressed by TIES:

  • According to Vital Signs, "the youth unemployment rate has hovered around 20%." Based on the fact that the unemployment rate for Canadians with low vision is so high - 65% - the unemployment rate for youth with vision loss will be even higher than the Toronto average. TIES works to empower youth to advocate for themselves in the workplace, provide valuable training, and assist with advancing their knowledge on how to use technology in the workplace.
  • Vital Signs notes that 10.5% of Toronto Region's population is living in poverty. Almost half of all adults with blindness or partial sight report gross annual incomes of $20,000 or less. Many adults who are blind or partially sighted live below their community's low income line. By empowering teens and helping prepare them for post-secondary school and employment opportunities, TIES aims to increase the average potential income for teens.
  • Individuals who are blind or partially sighted often report feelings of isolation. Vital Signs notes that "almost one quarter of Toronto's youth lack a sense of belonging to their local community" - through TIES, CNIB helps teens to feel more connected to their peers and their communities.

Deafblind services: Expand your world  

For many people who are deafblind, the world can sometimes seem very small. But our services are designed to help it grow – to empower people who are deafblind to build the skills and confidence to fully participate in life.

  • Receive direct support from our specialists or find out about community programs in your area that offer services for people with a loss of hearing and vision.
  • Build your literacy skills and learn communication methods that can help you interact with others, from traditional sign language, to print-on-palm, the two-hand manual or large-print notes. 
  • Receive emotional counselling from a professional who’s trained in the challenges faced by people with deafblindness, as well as how to work through them.
  • Spend time with a trained intervenor who will guide you through your daily activities and act as your eyes and ears – bridging the gap between you and the sighted and hearing world. Our expert intervenors are fluent in all communication methods used by people with deafblindness, and can assist you not only in day-to-day tasks like grocery shopping, but also larger goals, like building independence, going to post-secondary school or getting a job.

What You Can Do

There are many ways you can get involved with CNIB and help support people who are blind or partially sighted in your community. You can give financial support through one of our many gift types or create your own fundraising event with proceeds going to CNIB.

Make a gift

Every dollar you give to CNIB will help improve the lives of Canadians who are blind or partially sighted.​ 

Join an event

From golf tournaments to marathons to black-tie galas, there’s a CNIB event for everyone!​ 

Volunteer your time

Make a difference for people in your community by joining our passionate volunteer team!

Fundraise for us

Whether you hold a garage sale or collect donations around the office, there are lots of ways you can help raise money for CNIB.

Get your company involved

Working with CNIB is a great way to engage customers, improve morale and support your community.

Be an advocate

Raise your voice on issues affecting Canadians with vision loss. Help us make change happen!​