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

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

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

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 stated the employment degree for Canadians with sight loss is a critical situation.

I wouldn’t be the place I’m in the present day 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 after 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 desires to work is ready to work … equality should be achieved!”

So, what are the limitations to employment? The reply is rooted in an absence of expertise working with a person with sight loss, in addition to a lack of expertise in relation to 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 will’t create extra inclusive workplaces.

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

I’m so grateful that professors and colleagues had been there to assist me as mentors all through my profession. Now, it’s my flip to provide again. Earlier this yr, I signed as much as be a mentor for a younger lady who’s simply beginning out in her profession. We meet nearly by Zoom to speak about her objectives and, collectively, we’re creating a plan to assist her get to the place she desires 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 progressive expertise pool of Canadians who’re blind or partially sighted by the CNIB Basis’s Come to Work program. This system introduces employers to an progressive expertise pool of Canadians who’re blind or partially sighted and supplies job seekers with work expertise.

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A job is a lot greater than only a pay cheque. It’s a method to self-reliance, a supply of identification and pleasure, 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 accomplice, contact [email protected] or name 1-800-563-2642.

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



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