Assistive devices program needs update, CNIB says

Accessibility advocates across Ontario are calling on political candidates to have a closer look at a funding program for those with vision loss.
Dorothy Macnaughton, who has vision loss and volunteers with the CNIB, says the Assistive Devices Program hasn't been updated since 2001. (Supplied/Dorothy Macnaughton)

Accessibility advocates across Ontario are calling on political candidates to have a closer look at a funding program for those with vision loss.

The Assistive Devices Program provides 75 per cent reimbursement for equipment. It's a program Sault Ste. Marie's Dorothy Macnaughton knows well, as she has low vision.

Macnaughton, who also volunteers with the CNIB, says the program covers computers and software for those machines. But she says tablets aren't covered.

"[The province] wants people with disabilities to have a level playing field," she said.

"The only way we can have that as people with vision loss … is to have those devices."

Those with physical disabilities who use assistive devices want a new provincial government to update a program that helps pay for this equipment. The Assistive Devices program hasn't been updated since 2001. Dorothy McNaughton is an accessibility advocate. She's also visually impaired. We spoke to her about the importance of assistive devices and why the program that helps fund this equipment needs to be updated. 5:49

Macnaughton says it's time to review the program as it hasn't been updated since 2001.

"I would just like the government to understand that there is a gap there," she said.

"There is a way that the government can really make a difference in people's lives in a very simple straightforward way by revising that program to make the technologies available to more people."

Macnaughton says many people with vision loss are elderly with fixed incomes.

"They cannot afford even the 25 per cent that they would have to pay. The expense is a huge issue."

The CNIB says it's asking all parties to publicly recognize the need to modernize the program. It adds all parties to commit to establishing a strategy within the first 100 days of government.

With files from Angela Gemmill

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.