Blind at start, I do know firsthand the limitations to employment for Canadians with sight loss

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Blind at birth, I know firsthand the barriers to employment for Canadians with sight loss


Canada has made nice strides in enhancing accessibility and inclusion for people who’re blind or partially sighted, however we should do extra on this planet of labor.

The unemployment charge for Canadians with sight loss is a staggering 14.5 per cent, triple Canada’s normal unemployment charge.

In a CNIB Basis survey, greater than 4,000 Canadians impacted by blindness informed us about their experiences, wants and ambitions — and 91 per cent mentioned the employment degree for Canadians with sight loss is a critical problem.

I wouldn’t be the place I’m right this moment had I not had mentors guiding me all through my profession. I used to be blind at start and I knew that I wished to assist others once I grew up.

Right here’s what different Canadians with sight loss have informed us about their profession aspirations:

“I wish to personal my very own enterprise full-time sooner or later; to maintain myself in my very own proper and be seen as simply an entrepreneur — not an entrepreneur with a incapacity.”

“My daring dream is that anybody who needs to work is ready to work … equality have to be achieved!”

So, what are the limitations to employment? The reply is rooted in a scarcity of expertise working with a person with sight loss, in addition to a lack of expertise on the subject of figuring out how somebody with sight loss performs their job.

As many as eight in 10 Canadians have by no means labored with somebody who’s blind or partially sighted. Additional, two in three Canadians don’t know somebody with sight loss. However that doesn’t imply we are able to’t create extra inclusive workplaces.

Firstly, you’ll be able to volunteer your time to mentor people with sight loss who’re beginning or altering their careers. As enterprise and neighborhood leaders, you’ll be able to share your experience and experiences to information mentees in the precise path to foster skilled growth.

I’m so grateful that professors and colleagues have been there to assist me as mentors all through my profession. Now, it’s my flip to present again. Earlier this yr, I signed as much as be a mentor for a younger girl who’s simply beginning out in her profession. We meet nearly via Zoom to speak about her objectives and, collectively, we’re growing a plan to assist her get to the place she needs to be.

Secondly, your group can present paid internships/returnships, full-time, part-time and contract work for Canadians with sight loss. A number of employers have already found an revolutionary expertise pool of Canadians who’re blind or partially sighted via the CNIB Basis’s Come to Work program. This system introduces employers to an revolutionary expertise pool of Canadians who’re blind or partially sighted and gives job seekers with work expertise.

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A job is a lot greater than only a pay cheque. It’s a way to self-reliance, a supply of identification and satisfaction, and a gateway to a brighter future. Collectively, let’s create a Canada the place everybody can come to work.

To volunteer as a mentor or turn out to be an employment companion, contact ComeToWork@cnib.ca or name 1-800-563-2642.

Jennifer MacNeil is the CNIB Basis’s employment companies lead.

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