In May 2019, the Canadian government and the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) announced an assistance program for blind and visually impaired people in Canada. During this event, the government announced a budget of $1 million to help the visually impaired find jobs and improve their quality of life.
Who is CNIB?
CNIB offers community-based education and support for partially sighted and blind individuals. From personalized rehabilitation to local community support, CNIB offers a wide range of services to visually impaired citizens of all age groups across the country.
They offer programs to train and support the blind, but they have also partnered with Vision Buddy to provide innovative sight enhancement devices to people who need them.
If you or a loved one is looking for resources for the blind in Canada, this article will help you explore what programs and products Canadian National Institute for the Blind has to offer.
Programs at CNIB
Here is a short description of all the programs that CNIB is offering right now.
The General Programs
These programs are for everyone and offer a lot of daily life support to the visually impaired
The IOS Manual
A free manual for educators and parents on all they need to teach a blind child to interact with an iPad via voice-over feature.
The Live Program
From career support to tech training, cooking classes to book clubs and youth groups, this virtual program offers many services. The aim is to improve your daily skills and realize your goals for a better future.
Virtual Vision Mate
This program helps the partially sighted and blind cope with the impact of isolation due to social and physical distancing.
CNIB Lake Joe
CNIB’s Lake Joe is a one-of-a-kind camp for the blind, offering a recreational and skills development environment to enrich the lives of Canadians suffering from sight loss. The location is at the gorgeous settings of Lake Joseph, right in Muskoka.
Culture, Recreation, and Sports Programs
These programs include a wide range of programs that suits everyone’s taste. The programs you can join are
Song Bingo Game’s Night
Seated Dance Fitness
Blind Golf Initiative for the Youth
Name that Tune
Old Time Radio
Bible Study Group
Tuesday Coffee Chat
Let’s Get Gardening
A board game Group playing Dungeon and Dragons
I am Looking for Work – Come to Work
This program connects you (a job seeker) with employers offering jobs to the partially sighted and blind.
I Want to Work for Myself – The Venture Zone
This is a CNIB program for entrepreneurs providing resources to you to start a successful business venture.
I Want to Connect with Talent – Come to Work
This program allows employers access to the innovative talent pool of blind and partially sighted Canadians with potential.
Children and Youth Programs
Children can face all kinds of emotional, social, and practical challenges with growing up with blindness. Therefore, CNIB has a wide range of support programs for your young ones, which include the following
CNIB’s Unbound Book Club
Music for kids
Dance and Movement Games
Zoom Hangout for Young Adults
Zoom Hangouts for Teens
Zoom Hangouts for Tween
If you are a parent of a visually impaired child, this program is a support group that meets via Zoom web conference to help you and other parents. You can connect with other parents and share your experiences, struggles, and tips to help each other out.
This program is not just all talk, but it also lets parents interact on a deeper level by playing some interactive games to form new bonds.
CNIB also offers support in the technology domain to help the blind and partially impaired. These include
Phone it Forward
If you are blind or visually impaired, you may be entitled to a free smartphone through this program.
Tech Drop-in Sessions
Every Tuesday, you can join a Zoom web conference to learn about using new technology to help with visual impairment or blindness. Plus, the voiceover workshop can help you learn about how the voiceover feature on your iPhone and iPad can assist in your daily life.
You can join the tech talk every Tuesday and Friday between 7 and 9 pm (Atlantic Time) to chat about technology.
CNIB offers hundred of products that can make your life easier after sight loss. The workshop provides a wide range of products such as Vision Buddy. This is the first sight enhancement wearable with electronic magnification tech to help if you suffer from vision loss. You can wear it when watching television.
All you need is to plug your streamer into the Cable TV box. The next step is to simply put on your headset to connect to the streamer, and you can start watching television using your existing remote. This device is especially for those who have vision loss due to various eye conditions such as macular degeneration due to age, Retinitis, Glaucoma, Pigmentosa, etc.
Now, you can enjoy your favorite TV programs and movies. Vision Buddy allows you to Zoom in and out as you like and watch HD quality video with image correction in real-time. This device has a digital magnifier to see your surroundings, look at the faces of your loved ones, change your thermostat settings read books, etc.
You can also use the in-built Optical Character Recognition (OCR). This feature will automatically read your favorite newspapers, books, restaurant menus, medicine labels, etc., out loud.
Other products for blind assistance include
Apart from the innovative first-of-its-kind magnifier, CNIB offers a wide range of other products to enhance the lives of Canadians who have vision loss. These include
Books and readings
Clocks and watches
Canes and accessories
Phones and accessories
Other Sight enhancement products
No matter where you are in Canada, if you have partial vision or are completely blind, CNIB can help you in more ways than you can imagine. From local support groups to nationwide programs, you can avail of their support services and products to enhance your daily experiences.
Whether you are a visually impaired person, a parent, or a partner of a blind person in Canada, you can check out the information in this article. The best part is there is no restriction; you can avail yourself of as many services and support groups as you like.