Spring 2021: Vision Rehabilitation in the Canadian Landscape: Vision Loss Rehabilitation Ontario and CNIB Foundation

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Presented by: Leanna Baarda, Sue Marsh Woods, Keya Osbourne and Rhonda Underhill-Gray

Date: 05/07/2021

Vision rehabilitation services have evolved greatly in Canada since CNIB’s humble beginnings in 1918. Founded by World War 1 veterans returning from war and the tragedy of the explosion in Halifax the need for vision rehabilitation services was badly needed. Since that time, CNIB has grown in leaps and bounds to respond to the ever-changing world. In 2017, CNIB made its most significant change with the decision to create three separate organizations to help to ensure more stable funding and operational consistency by introducing Vision Loss Rehab Canada, Deaf Blind Community Services, and the CNIB Foundation. Vision Loss Rehab Canada is a healthcare funded organization with the mandate of delivering core rehabilitation services including, Service Coordination, Early Intervention, Low Vision Therapy, Independent Living Skills, Orientation & Mobility and Assistive Technology. DBCS provides intervention and literacy programs to adult living with a dual sensory challenge. CNIB Foundation has established a guide-dog program and is providing client driven programs that enhance the lives of Canadians living with sight loss. From employment programs, advocacy, a newly branded retail operation called the Smart Life Centre, Technology supports, Programs for children and youth with a focus on addressing elements of the expanded core curriculum as well as connecting clients in all age groups to social and recreational activities. Both VLRC, DBCS and the CNIB Foundation ensure that our clients receive holistic services. All three organizations do work collaboratively to ensure that Canadians with sight loss can lead full and independent lives. This workshop will be an overview of how programs and services are delivered across Canada and will provide insight into how the Pandemic has impacted our service delivery. We will also welcome questions and answers at the end of our session as we are excited to share what we are doing.