OTTAWA, June 25, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- CNIB applauds the Government of Canada for tabling historic accessibility legislation aimed at breaking down barriers for Canadians with disabilities. Bill C-81, known as the Accessible Canada Act, will ensure more than 500,000 Canadians living with sight loss can fully participate and have equal opportunity within federally regulated jurisdictions. The federal government has committed $290 million over five years to implement this legislation.

CNIB especially supports the Act’s focus on increasing employment opportunities for persons with disabilities. Specifically, the federal government has committed to hiring at least 5,000 new employees with disabilities over the next five years, and to introduce a federal internship program. Additionally, Public Service and Procurement Canada will ensure all goods and services procured by the Government of Canada are accessible, and will create an accessible procurement resource centre.

“I'm pleased to see that the Accessible Canada Act is aligned with CNIB's mission of changing what it is to be blind," said John M. Rafferty, President and CEO, CNIB. "Canadians with sight loss are one of the most unemployed disability groups in country, with only a 38% employment rate. We hope this legislation can help shift those numbers.”

Diane Bergeron, CNIB's vice president of engagement and international affairs, has been legally blind since age 10. She says this legislation is a great leap forward.

“Canada's disability community has been waiting a long time for this," said Bergeron. "I'm thrilled this legislation promotes and builds proactive compliance activities rather than forcing people with disabilities to bring forward barriers and discrimination.”

“Also, by establishing accessibility bodies where persons with disabilities are the in majority, there will be more of a focus on standards, regulations and practices being accessible at their creation,” she added.

With less than 12 months until Parliament is dissolved ahead of the next federal election, CNIB will be meeting with as many parliamentarians and senators to educate and ensure timely passage of this Bill.

“The last thing we want is for all of this hard work to go into this legislation, and for it to die on the Order Paper,” said Bergeron.

About CNIB
Celebrating 100 years in 2018, 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 while tearing down barriers to inclusion. Our work is powered by a network of volunteers, donors and partners from coast to coast to coast. To learn more or get involved, visit

CNIB is a non-partisan organization. CNIB will continue to support any legislation that helps to improve the lives of Canadians with sight loss.

For more information, please contact:

Matisse Hamel-Nelis
Specialist, Strategic Communications
416-486-2500 ext. 8355