CNIB Advocates work to challenge discrimination and break down societal barriers so that people who are blind, partially sighted or Deafblind can participate fully and equally in society. CNIB was born out of advocacy. In 1918, right after World War One, a group of 200 Canadian veterans, blinded in the war, realized there was a need in the community – to improve the lives of Canadians with sight loss – and that they could best meet that need by working together. We have been doing it ever since. While CNIB is leading this phase of the campaign, we invite all stakeholders to join us in the consultation process. If your organization would like to lend its support, please contact Aerissa Roy-Dupuis at Aerissa.Roy-Dupuis@cnib.ca or 416-486-2500 x7458.

Dear ADP (Assistive Devices Program),

You're a lifeline for many Ontarians. Without you, many would be unable to afford an assistive device. But, it's time for self reflection. It's time for a re-vision.

While we know Ontarians living with disabilities have benefitted from you, we also know you need to be re-vised. For example, your funded categories (e.g. visual aids) have not been significantly updated for nearly 20 years, and your paper-based administrative process is burdensome and inaccessible, resulting in unnecessary delays.

As I'm sure you're aware, technology fosters inclusion for people with disabilities – but only when it's accessible, available and affordable.

“I feel the main issue is the high price tag for modern technology, such as cell phones and the supporting apps, that can enhance the lives of the blind community. Most people can’t afford these adaptive devices or equipment and they’re not covered by ADP. This must be reviewed as it will assist many people with sight loss. Also, ADP consumers should be involved in the consultation process.” –Ray Smith, CNIB Advocate, Ajax

Ahead of the Ontario general election on June 7, we are asking all parties to publicly recognize the immediate need to modernize ADP and commit to establishing a strategy with CNIB and campaign supporters within the first 100 days of government.

Looking forward to your re-vision,

Adrianna Tetley, CEO, Association of Ontario Health Centres

Deborah Gold, Executive Director, BALANCE for Blind Adults

Michelle McDonald, Executive Director, Brain Injury Canada

Jim Triantafilou, Executive Director, Brampton Caledon Community Living

Jim Tokos, National Vice President, Canadian Council of the Blind

Richard Elliott, Executive Director, Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network

Sandra Carpenter, Executive Director, Centre for Independent Living in Toronto

Angela Bonfanti, Vice President, CNIB Foundation (Ontario & Quebec)

Kim Fraser, Executive Director, Davenport-Perth Neighbourhood and Community Health Centre

Roxanna Spruyt-Rocks, CEO, Deafblind Ontario

Julia Hanigsberg, president and CEO, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital

Dr. Joshua C. Smith, President, Ontario Association of Optometrists

Eric Bapty, President, Ontario Association Of Prosthetists and Orthotists

Dan Mead, President, Orthotics Prosthetics Canada

Dr. Stuart Howe, CEO, Spinal Cord Injury Ontario

Claudine Santos, President, VIEWS for the Visually Impaired

David Lepofsky, Member, Board of Directors, VIEWS for the Visually Impaired


Dear ADP (Assistive Devices Program),

For 30 years, the Rick Hansen Foundation has advocated for the removal of barriers for people with disabilities. We are proud to support the great efforts of the CNIB and its partners in Ontario – in particular the Assistive Devices Program they champion. Making Canada accessible for people with disabilities is a driving force of my Foundation.

The Assistive Devices Program is an important investment and a lifeline that helps many Ontarians living with a disability. It is a program that helps unleash the potential of people with vision loss, makes their communities more accessible and allows them to participate more fully in daily life. However, the funded categories (e.g. visual aids) have not been significantly updated for nearly 20 years. As well, we know that with technology advances, there could be improvements to the paper-based administrative processes which are burdensome and inaccessible, resulting in unnecessary delays.

I am calling on all citizens of Ontario to get behind initiatives that improve accessibility and, in turn, encourage the Government of Ontario to support accessibility for all.

Sincerely,

Rick Hansen, C.C., O.B.C.

Founder & CEO

Rick Hansen Foundation

Find out what's involved in becoming a CNIB Advocate by taking a look at the CNIB Advocate position description. If you have any further questions, email advocacy@cnib.ca for more information.