According to the CNIB Foundation, more than half a million Canadians live with some form of sight loss. Of those who are old enough to work, only one-third are employed and more than half of them make $20,000 a year or less.
There are some organizations and programs dedicated to improving these statistics and to recognizing that this talented group of people has so much to contribute to Canada’s economy. Today’s technology has removed or reduced many barriers that stopped people who are blind or partially sighted from working in the past.
The following resources support career professionals as they help clients with vision loss search for meaningful work and develop valuable skills to contribute to their career.
Note: If you would like to recommend a helpful resource that is not listed in this article, we welcome you to share it with us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We may include it in this article or in another article in the future.
Balance for Blind Adults [Job opportunities and training]
Located in Toronto, ON, Balance for Blind Adults is a dedicated employer of Canadians with sight loss; more than 40% of their employees are blind or partially sighted, and have experience as vision rehabilitation service users themselves. Company job postings are shared on the organization’s careers page.
This organization also offers group classes — most of which are free thanks to funding — on subjects such as keyboarding, word processing and basic editing skills.
Come to Work (CNIB Foundation) [Job opportunities, employment events and workshops]
Run by the CNIB, the Come to Work program connects jobseekers who are blind or partially sighted with employers. Their program helps jobseekers explore career opportunities, access employment events and workshops, and become an entrepreneur or a mentor. The CNIB also provides a list of scholarships and awards to help people with vision loss pursue educational opportunities.
Fighting Blindness Canada [Job opportunities]
A leading private funder of vision research in Canada, the FBC is an equal opportunity employer that offers accommodations throughout their recruitment process. When the FBC is hiring, it shares job postings on its careers page.
Hadley [Educational workshops and podcasts]
Founded in 1920 by William Hadley, an educator who lost his eyesight, this organization offers free learning opportunities for people with sight loss and the people who support them. Its website provides access to educational workshops and audio podcasts on subjects including work, technology and learning how to read Braille
Perkins School for the Blind [Tips]
Project Aspiro [Programs, services, scholarships, job postings and tools]
Created in partnership with CNIB and the World Blind Union, and funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation, Project Aspiro provides information, tools and resources to help improve the quality of life of people who are blind or partially sighted. This includes an extensive list of resources within Canada and around the world, covering subjects such as:
- Programs and services in Canada
- Scholarships, grants and subsidies
- Schools and distance learning
- Job postings
- Tools for workers with visual disabilities
Resources for career professionals providing virtual support
Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults [Online courses and learning tools]
This organization offers professional learning resources to help people who work with deaf-blind individuals. This includes online courses on topics such as communicating with individuals who are deaf-blind and ensuring access to communication, as well as online learning tools and information such as a reference guide of American Sign Language signs used to describe technology.
Which video conferencing tools are most accessible? (Smashing Magazine) [Accessibility-friendly video conferencing tools]
In this article written by a certified accessibility professional, Claudio Luis Vera identifies accessibility-friendly video conferencing tools and their features.
Canada’s lack of digital accessibility is robbing its workforce of resilient talent (CERIC) [List of assistive technologies]
In this article, Derek Wilson shares his experience with assistive technology as well as a few tips and tools to help career professionals support clients who use assistive technology.
Accessible presentation checklist (Deque) [Downloadable accessibility checklist]
This downloadable checklist can help you create presentations with accessibility in mind.
Top 6 Accessibility Tools for Sites that Work for Everyone (Switch) [List of accessibility tools]
If you’re referring clients to a website, this list of accessibility tools can help you provide a quality experience for your clients. Some of these tools can help you see websites as they may appear to someone with partial sight loss and identify elements that aren’t compliant with accessibility.
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