Over the last few months, we have been meeting with Government of Ontario officials and asking them to support Come to Work as part of the Ontario Budget. The Ontario Budget is the major policy document outlining the government's plans for the upcoming fiscal year. The government's financial cycle begins with the release of the budget at the end of March and ends with pre-budget consultations at the end of the calendar year. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is unclear when the Ontario Budget will be announced.
Through community consultations, we spoke with thousands of people impacted by blindness. Ninety-one per cent of respondents said employment levels are a serious problem facing people with sight loss. In response, CNIB launched a pilot program titled Come to Work, a specialized program that connects job seekers who are blind or partially sighted with employers. Through this program, the CNIB Foundation is offering job-readiness workshops, technology training, and partnering with employers regarding work opportunities. Building on this success, we wish to strengthen the impact of the Come to Work Program. Through support from the Ontario government, we can:
- Provide programs and resources that move people on their employment journey through the 5 stages of job readiness from "Adjusting to Vision Loss" to "Working Already".
- Expand the network of Come to Work employer partners across all industries. We request that the Government of Ontario becomes an employer partner.
- Deliver consultation services that facilitate accommodations and workplace training for employers and employees, which sets both parties up for success.
- Partner with government to share our best practices in disability employment, which can help improve the employment sector.