Canada to provide more support to Canadians with visual impairments and print disabilities

From: Employment and Social Development Canada

May 7, 2019 Ottawa, Ontario Employment and Social Development Canada

Today, the Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility, the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, attended a Parliamentary Reception in honour of Vision Health Month, hosted by the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB).

During the event, Minister Qualtrough announced Budget 2019’s proposed funding to the CNIB to support Canadians with visual impairments find jobs. An investment of $1 million in 2019-20 will help connect persons with visual impairments to employers of small and medium-sized businesses, allowing for an improved quality of life and opening the door to more opportunities to contribute to Canada’s economy.

Minister Qualtrough also highlighted that Budget 2019 proposes to provide the Centre for Equitable Library Access with an investment of $3 million in 2019-20 to produce new accessible reading materials that will be available through public libraries across Canada. The Government of Canada is also providing $1 million to the National Network for Equitable Library Service in 2019-20 to work on improving the accessibility of e‑books, and to support production of alternate format materials requested by library users.

Budget 2019 also proposes to support the independence of persons with disabilities, with an investment of $500,000 in 2019-20 towards finding ways to improve the accessibility of electronic payment terminals to enable persons with disabilities to conduct daily activities.

The proposed Accessible Canada Act, Bill C-81, is another concrete step the Government of Canada is taking to break down barriers to accessibility.This piece of legislation is meant to promote broad organizational and cultural change, while proactively identifying, removing and preventing barriers towards the realization of a truly accessible Canada. Bill C-81 is currently making its way through the Senate.

“A diverse and inclusive workforce can bring new skills and ideas to employers, helping them compete and succeed as they support people in their communities. I am confident that through Budget 2019 and an investment in the CNIB, more job opportunities for Canadians with sight loss will be created, providing enhanced income security and overall, better quality of life. We’re working hard to ensure all Canadians have a fair and equal chance at success.”

– The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility

Quick facts

  • The 2017 Canadian Survey on Disability estimates that 2.4 million Canadians aged 15 and over have a print disability.

  • A print disability is a learning, physical or visual disability that prevents a person from reading conventional print.

  • Budget 2019 includes $290 million over six years to support the Government of Canada’s proposed Accessible Canada Act.

  • Canada joined the Marrakesh Treaty in 2016, to facilitate access to published works for persons with print disabilities.

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