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CNIB’s Phone It Forward Program Receives Game-changing Donation of Smart Devices from BMO Financial Group

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TORONTO, October 26, 2020 – The Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB), Canada's largest non-profit serving people with sight loss, thanks BMO Financial Group (BMO) for its incredible, game-changing donation to support Canadians with sight loss.

BMO’s generous donation of 2,000 iPads to the CNIB’s Phone It Forward program will help Canadians who are blind or partially sighted access the life-changing technology that smart devices offer.

The Phone It Forward program takes modern, gently used smartphones; refurbishes them; outfits them with accessible apps; and puts them directly into the hands of Canadians who are living with sight loss. Recipients are also provided with training on how to use their refurbished smart device with confidence.

“Many people aren’t aware of how impactful a smartphone can be for people of all ages with sight loss,” says John M. Rafferty, President and CEO of CNIB. “Accessible smartphone apps make it possible for people who are blind or partially sighted to do all kinds of things that may have seemed impossible before – from digitally enhanced learning to communicating with loved ones, or safely travelling in their communities and workplaces. Thanks to BMO’s generous donation, we'll be able to empower Canadians with sight loss to take full advantage of the life-changing power of smart devices.”

Despite how life-changing smart devices can be for people with sight loss, 46 per cent of Canadians who are blind don't own a smartphone – at least not one that’s advanced enough to help them in their daily lives. The Phone It Forward program helps get an all-in-one communications and accessibility solution into the hands of Canadians with sight loss, helping to reduce barriers and drive independence.

“At a time when in-person encounters and accessibility have become more challenging, donating devices so Canadians with sight loss can remain connected with loved ones and more easily navigate daily tasks is one way we can help create a society with zero barriers to inclusion,” said Mona Malone, Chief Human Resources Officer and Head of People and Culture, BMO Financial Group.  “We’re proud to support CNIB’s Phone it Forward program as part of our Purpose to Boldly Grow the Good in business and in life.” 

To learn more about the Phone It Forward program, and how to donate your gently used smartphone, visit

About CNIB

CNIB is a non-profit organization driven to change what it is to be blind today. We deliver innovative programs and powerful advocacy that empower people impacted by blindness to live their dreams and tear down barriers to inclusion. Our work as a blind foundation is powered by a network of volunteers, donors and partners from coast to coast to coast. To learn more or get involved, visit



For more information, please contact:


Alison Byczok, Director, Marketing and Communications

416-272-0464 |


BMO Financial Group:

Sonia Brum

416-867-3996 |

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