Blogs

A young man and his guide dog stand on the corner of a busy intersection. In his right hand, he holds a Key2Access Fob. In his left hand, he holds the Guide Dog harness.

Making pedestrian crossings safer with Key2Access

One of our partners in accessibility, Key2Access, is a Canadian technology start-up with an innovative approach to accessible pedestrian crossings.
A room full of people standing in small groups, chatting & networking, at the Connecting the Dots conference in Toronto.

My 'Connecting the Dots' Experience

I signed up to volunteer at the Connecting the Dots conference last fall, so I could attend the sessions and network with participants and employers alike. I was eager to meet new people, share experiences and learn more about employment opportunities.
A hand holds a smartphone up in the air. The phone is surrounded by an illustration of a circular black swirl.

Receiving a smartphone through the CNIB Foundation's Phone it Forward program

For Crystal Gunn, owning a smartphone meant a sense of security and peace of mind. As someone living with type 1 diabetes, access to a phone would be invaluable if there was an emergency.  
Nima Machouf, NDP candidate in the federal election, poses with the CNIB Foundation Quebec staff: Catheryne Houde, David Demers, Valérie and Sarah Rouleau.

CNIB Foundation launches Accessible Neighbourhood project in Montréal

Several organizations and businesses in Montréal’s Sainte-Marie neighbourhood are working with the CNIB Foundation to help make the city more accessible.

Launched in the fall of 2019, the Accessible Neighbourhood project is designed to transform Montreal into a beacon of accessibility and inclusion, where everyone can live, work and play without barriers.
Aakruti Patel of West Groupe presents an iPhone to Sébastien Bolduc at the CNIB Montreal Hub.

Phoning it Forward with WestGroupe

Ten Quebecois with sight loss now own modern smartphones thanks to a $5,000 gift from WestGroupe. Their generous donation to CNIB Foundation's Phone It Forward program provided Sébastien Bolduc with a free smartphone and one-on-one user training.
Two young children are holding on to the same braille book and walking around a classroom environment.

The TELUS Friendly Future Foundation donates $10,000 to support reading workshops for children with sight loss

Thanks to a $10,000 gift from the TELUS Friendly Future Foundation, the CNIB Foundation Quebec will offer reading workshops for a second year.
Exterior of CNIB Sudbury Hub featuring bright VLRO and CNIB Foundation signage. A gentle snowfall covers the exterior parking lot

CNIB Foundation opens Sudbury Community Hub

In November, the CNIB Foundation celebrated the grand opening of its first community hub in Northern Ontario. Guests included MPP Jamie West, Mayor Brian Bigger, Councillor Bill Leduc and Councillor Mark Signoretti.
Hands typing on a Perkins brailler.

Braille Creative Writing Contest Winners

Since 1997, the CNIB Foundation has organized a Canada-wide Braille Creative Writing Contest for children and youth. This important competition celebrates braille literacy and encourages young people with sight loss to flex their creative muscles while practicing their braille skills.
A guide dog in a graduation cap.

Pup-dates: From puppy to partner

People often comment about the quality of our dogs. To be honest, we expect our dogs to meet the highest standards in health and quality, and we haven't been disappointed. However, one of the things that pleases me the most is the incredible standard of mobility that's achieved by our guide dog handlers. This is due, in no small part, to the training team. I am fortunate to work with a talented team that is committed to raising the bar.
A woman and a yellow guide dog in a harness walking down a park path.

Dollars for Dogs: The Piper family and 3D Petroleums

Dave and Tami Piper and their family business, 3D Petroleums, wanted to work with a charity that would keep them involved and deliver a unique donor experience from start to finish.

"We wanted to see exactly where our dollars were going – CNIB Guide Dogs gave us the biggest bang for our buck,” says the family. “With CNIB Guide Dogs, we've been able to follow the progress from pup to guide dog."
Dr. Bennett and a black dog.

Dr. Bennett’s Office: Exercise for puppies

When providing exercise to a puppy, you need to consider both the type and the amount (how long and how frequent) for his/her age. It is easy and tempting to over exercise in order to tire the pup out to give everyone a break!
A yellow guide dog in a yellow vest at a sports stadium.

Puppy Tales: Becoming a puppy raiser

As a civics teacher, Jeff Barr always made a point to instill in his students the importance of paying it forward. So, it should come as no surprise that Jeff and his family decided to become puppy raisers for CNIB Guide Dogs after his 40-year career.
A woman and her black Labrador/Golden Retriever guide dog.

Inside Scoop: Matching a guide dog with someone who is blind

CNIB Guide Dogs has a pre-matching process that is completed during the interview stage, whether the applicant is replacing a previous guide dog or applying for their first one. This information is crucial because it helps us select a dog that will meet the specific needs of the individual. So, what are the key factors that we consider when matching a guide dog with someone who is blind?
A close-up of a dog's face.

Puppy Pointers: Identifying calming signals

Although dogs can't verbally communicate with us using words, they can communicate effectively using their body. In fact, dogs are masters of body language. They display an array of “calming signals”, a term coined by Norwegian dog trainer, Turid Rugaas. Calming signals are physical movements that are often overlooked because most of us simply don’t understand the language of dogs.
Hands move over a braille book. A fireplace emits flames in the background.

Braille is my way of communicating – Meet Mélodie

Laval's Mélodie de Ravel wins second prize in the CNIB Foundation's Braille Creative Writing Contest. In honour of World Braille Day (January 4), we spoke with Mélodie about her experience.
Ali Zaben, 9, poses for a school picture. He's smiling and crossing his arms.

Literacy at your fingertips – Meet Ali

Gloucester's Ali Zaben, 9, wins first prize in the CNIB Foundation's Braille Creative Writing Contest. In honour of World Braille Day (January 4), we spoke to Ali about his experience.
Tracy with Marion, black Labrador Retriever and Autumn, Tracy’s pet dog.

Meet Tracy & Marion

After an accident, Tracy knew he needed some help for his safety and independence. He applied to CNIB Guide Dogs. A few months later, he was matched with Marion, a black Labrador Retriever.

“Marion licked my face as soon as she met me," says Tracy. "I just knew that she was going to be a great fit – she has a kind, gentle soul.”
A woman holds a signature guide over a white page with a ballot and tactile ballot overlay beside her.

Canadians send more than 2,100 letters to federal candidates demanding #TechNow!

Technology can level the playing field for people who are blind or partially sighted – but only when it’s accessible, available and affordable. To help make this a reality, the CNIB Foundation launched a national advocacy campaign that coincided with the federal election in October. #TechNow! aimed to ensure that all aspects of the federal government are complemented with accessible adaptive technology and programs.
CNIB Foundation staff Angela Bonfanti, Vice President (Ontario and Quebec) and Kat Clarke, Manager, Advocacy and Government Affairs (Ontario and Quebec) with Ontario Minister of Transportation, Caroline Mulroney.

CNIB hopes to inform public policy for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles

As Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs) emerge on Canadian roads, we will experience fundamental changes in how Canadian streets are navigated both by vehicles and pedestrians. These changes will impact vulnerable road users, particularly those who are blind or partially sighted. 

CNIB completed a study of CAV technology in Canada. The final report provides seven recommendations to help inform policy development nationally and internationally.
A city sidewalk with a row of electric scooters lined up on it.

CNIB Ontario submits response as part of e-scooter consultation

In August 2019, the Ontario government announced it would be launching a public consultation on permitting e-scooters on Ontario roads as part of 5-year pilot. It is currently illegal for a person to ride an electronic scooter on any public roadway in Ontario. Initially, the consultation was launched just before the Labour Day weekend and provided a 48-hour window for the public to provide their input.
A young man and his guide dog stand on the corner of a busy intersection. In his right hand, he holds a Key2Access Fob. In his left hand, he holds the Guide Dog harness

Key2Access launches in Stratford

The City of Stratford is participating in an innovative pilot project that uses wireless technology to improve accessibility at signalized pedestrian crossings.

Two downtown intersections in Stratford are now equipped with Key2Access – a platform that makes crossing intersections safer and easier for people with sight loss and other disabilities.
Detective Jeff Bangild in police uniform and his young son, Ryan

Making the Toronto Police Service more accessible

For Detective Jeff Bangild, making the world more accessible is a personal, and professional mission. Detective Bangild joined the Toronto Police Service in 1996. Recently, he spoke with us about accessibility training for new recruits.
An illustration of a megaphone. Text "Know Your Rights."

CNIB launches Know Your Rights project

Through the Know Your Rights project, the CNIB Foundation has developed plain language legal information and resources (fact sheets, videos, training, etc.) to empower Ontarians who are blind, partially sighted or Deafblind to better understand their rights, navigate the Ontario legal system and self-advocate to challenge discrimination. 
A woman in front of a yellow background with a cartoon drawing of flexed arms on either side of her.

Raise Your Voice on International Day of Persons with Disabilities

CNIB is proud to release a series of three self-advocacy videos. Whether you’ve been a self-advocate for decades or you’re new to the world of self-advocacy, you’ll find some tips, tricks, and thought-provoking insights in these videos!
Pile of Christmas cookies on a plate

Ask Lynn: Holiday baking

Dear Lynn,
In preparation for the holidays, I spend most of my weekends baking delectable treats. I enjoy sharing my Christmas baking with family and friends...
Simon Cowell and Kodi Lee attend the Season 14 Finale of ‘America’s Got Talent’ at Dolby Theatre on Sept. 18, 2019 in Hollywood, Calif. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

'Wow!' of the month: Kodi Lee

This Christmas is likely to be a lot brighter than the last for Kodi Lee, the 22-year-old who recently won the 14th season of "America's Got Talent" (AGT). After all, he has million-dollar prize under the tree this year.
Santa Claus wearing headphones

The 12 Days of Podcasts

This year we're giving the gift of podcasts! Unwrap a new podcast each day to keep your ears happy this holiday season. From podcasts about the best holiday recipe to try, to the latest book club read from "CNIB Unbound" – we've got something for everyone to enjoy.
Victoria, her Guide Dog Alan, and a police officer sit on a couch.

AdvoCorner: Toronto Police Service educates community about the rights of guide dog handlers

Guide Dog Awareness Month (GDAM) wrapped up on September 30 with a joint message from the CNIB Foundation and Toronto Police Service – guide dogs belong everywhere. It's the law.
Dr. Bennett and a black dog.

Dr. Bennett’s Office: The holidays bring plenty of sweet treats with toxicity risks for our dogs…

Theobromine and caffeine are known toxins in chocolate. The consequences vary, depending on the kind of chocolate (i.e. baking chocolate is the most toxic and milk chocolate or chocolate flavours are the least toxic) and the amount. Therefore, symptoms are highly variable.
A young boy and a Golden Retriever.

Puppy Tales: Becoming a Buddy Dog

In April, CNIB Guide Dogs launched its Buddy Dog program. Buddy Dogs are partnered with children who are living with sight loss. Whether it’s feeding, grooming or walking this well-trained family pet, the program provides the child with an opportunity to care for a dog and make it easier to transition into a guide dog partnership in the future.
A black Guide Dog in training in a yellow vest with a chew toy.

Puppy Pointers: Future Guide Dogs and Chewing

All puppies love to chew, including future guide dogs. Their instinct to chew has a purpose: to keep their teeth and gums healthy and clean, to sooth pain from teething, to destress, to explore their "world", to relieve boredom and, sometimes, just for fun.
A man and woman smiling.

Dollars for Dogs: Mary & John Crocker

Sponsoring a puppy was an easy decision for Mary and John Crocker, long-time supporters of CNIB.

"When we learned CNIB Guide Dogs believes everyone who would like to have a guide dog should have that opportunity, regardless of financial circumstances, we decided to become a sponsor," says Mary. "It's gratifying to know exactly where our sponsorship contribution goes."
A smiling boy in glasses with his arm around a Golden Retriever in a yellow vest.

Meet Austin & Dickson

For Austin and his family, adjusting to have a dog in the house and caring for Dickson, a Buddy Dog, has been an educational experience.

"Dickson is helping Austin get over his apprehension about dogs and helping him build a bond," says Julianna, Austin's mother. "It's a learning curve, but it's definitely worth it."
A woman in a purple jacket and her black Lab/Golden Retriever cross guide dog.

Meet Sandy & Keller

When Sandy Benoit's guide dog passed away, she found herself in limbo.

"I went four months without a guide dog and was chomping at the bit," says Sandy. "When I lost my dog, it was a jolting reality that I had to adjust to. There was no pitter-patter in the house. But, when Keller arrived, everything changed."
Brailled versions of "My Heart Fills With Happiness".

Printbraille Pilot Project gives accessible reading materials to kids

This fall, the CNIB Foundation will be equipping 14 school libraries with printbraille books, as well as a suite of braille and tactile materials for teachers or itinerant teachers to use to engage students with sight loss in the classroom.
A woman crosses the street with a black Lab in a yellow harness.

Meet Ashley & Danson

Ashley Nemeth's sense of confidence and independence was stripped away from her when her guide dog, Rick, was hit by a cyclist on a sidewalk in downtown Regina in 2018.

She was eager to regain the freedom that a guide dog partnership promises, so she applied to CNIB Guide Dogs.
A group of people sit in a circle.

CNIB Foundation South (GTA) expands Peer Support offerings with Ontario Trillium Foundation grant

For people who have lost their sight, connecting with others who have experienced the same thing can make a world of difference toward rebuilding confidence, independence and a sense of hope. Peer support reduces the incidence of depression and isolation associated with sight loss while helping people gain self-confidence and improve the quality of their lives.
A woman wearing eSight glasses stands in a subway car.

Embracing the Power of eSight

Yvonne Felix has lived her entire life with sight loss. She was diagnosed at an early age with Stargardt disease, which causes sight to deteriorate over time. 7 years ago, when she was offered an opportunity to try an assistive device that would enhance the functional sight she did have, she was immediately intrigued.
A woman in a black and white checkered jacket, wears white eSight glasses and works at her computer.

Back to Work with eSight

Julia Lewis had a successful career as an electro-analytical chemist, until her mid-thirties when she lost her sight. Unable to continue in the same line of work, but undeterred, she started working with colleges and universities on establishing health and safety and enterprise risk management departments, with help from assistive technology.
Karen and Andrew with two puppies in yellow vests.

Pup-dates: Introducing the CNIB Guide Dogs Team

At CNIB, we believe that everyone who would like to have a guide dog should have that opportunity. That's why we launched CNIB Guide Dogs in 2017. Our program is designed to raise and train dogs exclusively for Canadians with sight loss. Our technical team has nearly 150 years of combined experience working with guide dogs. So, who are we?
Danika hugging a Lab/Golden Retriever cross in a yellow harness.

Dollars for Dogs: Mary Weingarden

"I was researching organizations that trained service dogs on the very day that the program was launched,” says Mary. "When I discovered that the guide dog handlers would not have to pay for their dog, the training or the follow-up support because all costs would be covered through charitable donations, my decision was made. I wanted to support a program that truly helped someone – CNIB Guide Dogs was the perfect fit."
Victoria and her guide dog Alan.

AdvoCorner: Discrimination against guide dogs

In Canada, it's illegal to deny access or refuse service to a person who is working with a guide dog. Unfortunately, discrimination continues to happen because people are unaware of the laws that protect guide dog teams in Canada.
A headshot of Dr. Bennett.

Dr. Bennett’s Office: Ticks and tick-borne diseases

The presence of ticks and the incidence of tick-borne diseases from tick bites is across Canada. Currently, Southern Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes are being hit the hardest. Climate change experts expect the range and number of tick species will increase, resulting in significantly more cases of tick-borne diseases affecting humans, dogs, horses, cats, etc.
A boy walking with a white cane and Golden Retriever.

Puppy Tales: Meet Mason & Queenie

Mason, a 9-year-old boy with sight loss, couldn't wait to meet his Buddy Dog, a Golden Retriever named Queenie. The night before she arrived, he was so restless with anticipation that he could hardly sleep.
A woman hugs a yellow Labrador Retriever.

Inside Scoop: Training with Daisy

The thought of having another guide dog was a relief. But there were nerves. Would it work out? I had met my previous dogs before starting training, but that wasn't the case this time. And, I'd never trained at home before, so I wasn't sure how it would work. Where would we go? What would we do? What if I hated the instructor?
A Black Lab in a yellow vest lying on the floor.

Puppy Pointers: Socialization

Whether it's exploring a car port or taking a trip downtown, socializing puppies is an essential role of CNIB Guide Dogs. A future guide dog begins this part of his/her training shortly after settling into his/her puppy raiser's home.
Joshua Cook and two other people sit in a sail boat on the water. They are at the World Blind Sailing Championships in Scotland.

CNIB Lake Joe: Meet Joshua

The moment Joshua Cook arrived at CNIB Lake Joe, he knew it was the beginning of a beautiful, lifelong bond.

"Before I went to camp, I felt isolated. I was the only person I knew with a visual impairment," says Joshua. "I wanted to be around other people with sight loss. Lake Joe really put things into perspective for me."
A head shot of Scott Seiler. He is smiling and wearing a grey turtleneck.

Phone It Forward to Scott!

Scott Seiler dreamed of owning a smartphone, but the cost, and lack of hands-on training, was a barrier. As someone who had never sent a text message, Scott says he felt disconnected from the outside world. He longed for something that would allow him to connect with people without having to rely on memorizing multiple phone numbers.
A large group of 17 people gather in a support group. They are seated in a circle.

The Strength of the Group

The weekly support groups facilitated by Pascal create a sense of family where people find comfort and support - sharing advice on a variety of topics without passing judgment.

One of the members says: "Our vision loss is easier to accept when we have the opportunity to discuss it with others who've had to overcome the same challenges.”