On March 24, 2021, the Ontario government released the 2021 Budget, "Ontario's Action Plan: Protecting People's Health and Our Economies".
During the government's pre-budget consultations, CNIB submitted a response that urged the Ontario government to take action to address the low employment rates for people who are blind or partially sighted, which has become significantly worse due to the economic impacts of COVID-19.
We were pleased to see critical investments to support people with disabilities specifically. CNIB continues to work with the provincial government to find ways of enhancing and growing CNIB's Come to Work program with the ultimate goal of building the employment skills and employment opportunities for our Talent Pool.
Highlights of the Budget include:
- Employment: The government is investing $117.3 million to assist people who are facing the highest rates of unemployment during the pandemic, including people with disabilities. We will continue to advocate for the government to allocate funding to support Ontarians who are blind or partially sighted.
- Accessible Transportation to Vaccination Sites: Ontario is investing $3.7 million in 2021–22 to provide safe, accessible transportation for persons with disabilities and older adults with limited mobility to travel to their COVID‐19 vaccination appointments. We welcome this much-needed program and will continue to have conversations with government about the accessibility of the physical vaccination locations and equitable access to vaccination information. We will continue to update the community when more information is available.
- Transportation: Ontario is investing $56.4 million over the next four years to create the new Ontario Vehicle Innovation Network. This will accelerate the development of electric, connected and autonomous vehicle and mobility technologies. CNIB will continue to advocate for the safety, accessibility and inclusivity of electric and connected autonomous vehicle technology at all levels of government.
- Seniors’ Home Safety Tax Credit: This will provide support to seniors for improvements that make their homes safer and more accessible. The Seniors’ Home Safety Tax Credit is worth 25 per cent of up to $10,000 in eligible expenses for a senior’s principal residence in Ontario.