New report reveals vision loss costs Canada almost $33 billion annually

The Canadian Council of the Blind, partnering with Fighting Blindness Canada, and key partners, the Canadian Association of Optometrists and the Canadian Ophthalmological Society, commissioned new research, The Cost of Vision loss and Blindness in Canada, from Deloitte Access Economics, to identify Canada’s emerging crisis of preventable blindness.

TORONTO, May 5, 2021 /CNW/ – Released today, a new report reveals the emerging crisis of preventable blindness in Canada, totalling almost $33 billion and impacting all Canadians– including individuals, families and governments.

Living with vision loss negatively impacts an individual’s financial health and often represents a loss of independence affecting their quality of life. As Canada’s population ages, the main drivers of vision loss are more prevalent and will increasingly impact Canada’s health system and economy.

The Cost of Vision Loss in Canada Report (“the Report”) shows 1.2 million Canadians are living with vision loss, with many facing a lack of investment in services and supports that impact them to live life to its fullest potential. This number is expected to grow to 2 million people by 2050, which is concerning given 75 percent of vision loss is either reversible, preventable or treatable if caught early.

The Report revealed the costs that Canadians with vision loss experienced in 2019 as:

  • Direct health care costs – $9.5 billion
  • Indirect health care & other costs – $6.1 billion
  • Cost of well-being – $17.4 billion

“The direct health care costs highlight the need to reduce the progression of eye diseases and vision loss through preventive health measures,” said Keith Gordon, Ph.D., the principal investigator of the Report. “The research demonstrates that the affected individuals and their families primarily bear 65% of the costs of living with vision loss.”  

Federal government leadership for families impacted by vision loss is long overdue.
In 2003, the Government of Canada committed to the World Health Organization (WHO) to develop a Vision Health Plan for Canada by 2007. Despite this commitment, there is no vision care plan for Canada.

Beyond the Vision Health Plan, the federal government must also ensure the Canadian health care system and the provinces and territorial governments can meet the growing need for eye care services. There is a need to slow the progression of vision loss and the incidence of eye disease through preventive health.

When governments cover the costs of comprehensive eye examinations, this leads to early detection and diagnosis, with some individuals receiving research-delivered treatments that can stabilize their sight.

Unfortunately, public coverage for comprehensive eye exams differs dependent on where you live in Canada.  This lack of public coverage is compounded by limited vision health coverage in workplace benefits programs. 

New investments in research, treatments and assistive technologies have made significant contributions to the quality of life of those living with vision loss. Advancements, such as cataract surgery, anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VEGF) injections and specialized software for the visually impaired, have enabled many individuals with vision loss to enjoy daily activities they had previously found difficult or impossible.

Access and investment into new treatments, programs and technology can stabilize sight helping many Canadians today and in the future.

To learn more about the results of the Report and hear perspectives of this data from optometry, ophthalmology and patient advocates, register for Cost of Vision Loss and Blindness Summit on May 26, 2021.

About the Canadian Council of the Blind
About Fighting Blindness Canada

About the Canadian Association of Optometrists
About Canadian Ophthalmological Society

SOURCE Canadian Council of the Blind

The world wants to hear your voice, be an active part of the World Blindness Summit!

Four days in which blind and visually impaired people will talk about technology, education, employment, development, challenges, opportunities, future, sustainability, inclusion, reconstruction… and where great experts from around the world will be present … but participants will be the real protagonists! 

 Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you expect from this summit. Send us a 30 second video in English, French or Spanish and we will share it, on our social media and during the World Blindness Summit. 

We would have loved for all of us to meet in Madrid… but since it is not possible, let’s use the technology we have to put voice and face together. 

Remember that by sending us the videos you are authorising the Organización Nacional de Ciegos Españoles ( ONCE) (Spanish national organisation of the blind) to use them in their media and communication channels in order to improve the image of people with disabilities around the world, and in connection with the World Blindness Summit Madrid 2021.  It may be used in as many media as deemed appropriate without any time or geographical limitation. 

Send your video to [email protected] / +34 600 53 94 07

Approval of Luxturna Needs You

The words Approve Luxturna on a white banner over a blue and white picture of a labratory.

These are amazing times … a gene therapy can restore sight.

And now you can help to restore sight for someone going blind. Here is how…

42 Canadians are counting on you. Their blindness is caused because their RPE65 gene is not functioning, and they are losing approximately 10,000 precious light sensing eye cells a day.

And time is growing short for these Canadians. It is taking 18 to 24 months for the drug approval process to slowly figure out if they will public fund Luxturna in your province. Some of these Canadians may not have enough light sensing eye cells left by the time a decision is made.

Please add your voice by sending an email to your Premier. We must accelerate the negotiations for public health care to fund Luxturna. We must set the precedent for future vision treatments that they will be funded too.

Health Canada approved Luxturna as a treatment in Canada in October 2020. A few weeks later, the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH) and in Quebec, l’Institut national d’excellence en santé et en services sociaux (INESSS) recommended Luxturna for public health care funding.

The next step is the pan-Canadian Pharmaceutical Alliance (pCPA) to negotiate a deal on Luxturna. pCPA is an alliance of the provincial, territorial and federal governments that negotiates these deals that lead the way to public health care funding of a treatment.

BUT pCPA has not started the Luxturna negotiations for over 5 months.

Time = Sight!

We just can’t let a bureaucratic process mean someone goes blind when a treatment is available. We’ve waited too long for this first treatment. We need to encourage more treatments to reach Canadians by setting the precedent with Luxturna that all treatments can be funded by public health care.

That’s why we launched our latest “Approve Luxturna” Advocacy Campaign.

We are asking all of our supporters to send an email to the Premier, local representatives and the pCPA and demand action now.

Please take one minute and add your name here:

Canadian Accessible Election TeleTownHall 2021

Accessibility and Inclusion 2021

Getting Ready for a Canadian Federal Election During a Pandemic

Sterling Creations and the Canadian Council of the Blind in collaboration with Elections Canada are pleased to invite you to join a country wide Town Hall Webinar on Saturday, May 29, 2021 via Zoom Webinar. 

You are invited to a Zoom webinar.

Topic: Canadian Accessible Elections Town Hall 2021

When: May 29, 2021 10:00 AM Vancouver

Register in advance for this webinar:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

For any questions please email the Canadian Accessible Elections Town Hall 2021 organizing committee at

[email protected]

A Senior representative from Elections Canada will be present.  They will provide an outline of the multi-disability accessibility features Canadians can expect to experience when the next federal election is called. 

Through this webinar Elections Canada will also be open to your questions about how the services that will be offered for the election can meet your accessibility and information needs.

Date: Saturday, May 29, 2021

Times: 10:00 am Pacific

11:00 am Mountain

12:00 pm Central

1:00 pm Eastern

2:00 pm Atlantic

2:30 pm in Newfoundland

This meeting will last no longer than two hours.

We believe that our tele town hall will assist greatly to help you prepare for a possible Federal Election should one be called in the near future.

We look forward to welcoming you on May 29, 2021.

Thank you

The Canadian Accessible Elections Town Hall 2021 organizing committee

Your Help Is Urgently Required!

Your help is required to ensure that CELA (The Centre for Equitable
Library Access) and NNELS (National Network for Equitable Library
Service) can continue to offer the choices and services you depend

Without warning or consultation, the Federal Government announced
in its 2020 Fall Economic Statement, that it would withdraw the
current 4 million dollars which supports accessible reading materials
and programs, ending all support by 2024-2025. This 4 million dollars
in funding is split between CELA (3 million annually) and NNELS (1
million annually) to provide material to those across Canada with print

This decision to cut funding will have a devastating impact on CELA’s
and NNELS’s ability to produce new books for their collection and
distribute materials including audio CDs and physical Braille to their
users. The initial decrease in funding in 2021-2022, will result in an
immediate reduction in the services and further compound the effects
of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is having a disproportionate impact
on those with disabilities across Canada.

CELA and NNELS, are actively engaging with the Federal Minister of
Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, the
Honourable Carla Qualtrough, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister
of Finance, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, and key opposition
Members of Parliament in an effort to have funding restored.
The Canadian Council of the Blind, is asking you to add your voice in
support of CELA and NNELS and write to both Ministers and to your
local Member of Parliament to ask that the funding for accessible
reading materials be fully restored.

More resources, including sample letters, can be found on both
CELA’s and NNELS’s websites, links below.
Please use the following hashtags in any social media posts so that
we can all find them and track the campaign: #CdnPoli


Respecting the fact of how important accessible reading materials are
to you, unfortunately, we all have a limited amount of time to convince
the Federal Government that full funding needs to be restored.
Please help by raising your voice, writing letters, and sharing the
impact of these devastating cuts.

The CCB (Canadian Council of the Blind) is proud to lend its
unconditional and total support to this extremely worthwhile and
important cause on behalf of its membership and all blind, deafblind
and partially sighted Canadians.

Louise Gillis
National President
Canadian Council of the

Help Celebrate White Cane Week 2021: A Special Invitation

*All times Eastern Standard Time

Expo Forum Saturday February 13th  at 2:00 p.m.

Canadain Council of the Blind Expo Vision 2021 Virtual Forum Sat. Febraury 13 at 2pm.

Topic: Ontario’s Assistive Devices Program
Moderator: Dr. Keith Gordon (Senior Research Officer of the Canadian Council of the Blind); Panel: Ian White (President of the CCB Toronto Visionaries), Mike Potvin (Editor of White Cane Magazine), Samantha Moore (CCB Coordinator of Public Relations and Youth Programs), and Minette Samaroo (President of the Toronto Chapter of the Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians)

Watch the event on YouTube: 
CCB’s Toronto Visionaries Vision 2021 Expo Forum Discussion on Ontario’s Assistive Devices Program

ViewFBC’s View Point February 17 at 10:30 AM

Topic: Uncovering the Role of Vitamin D in AMD

Wednesday, February 17th at 10:30 a.m.

In this live session, we will be joined by FBC-funded researcher and ophthalmologist Dr. Jacob Rullo, who will speak about his research into the connection between vitamin D and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

For the first half hour of the webinar, we will be joined by Stephen Ricci from CNIB Smart life. Ricci will showcase some of the latest and greatest accessible devices and technological aids for people living with vision loss.

Watch the event on YouTube: 
View Point: Uncovering the Role of Vitamin D in AMD

Vision Summit 2021, Wednesday February 17th  at 2:00 p.m.

Canadian Council of the Blind Vision 2021 Virtual Summit.  The Impact of COVID-19. Wednesday February 17 at 2pm.

Topic: The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic
Moderator: Dr. Keith Gordon (Senior Research Officer of the Canadian Council of the Blind); Panel: Louise Gillis (National President the Canadian Council of the Blind), Michelle McQuigge (Assistant News Editor at the Canadian Press), and Dr. Orla Galvin (Director of Research Policy at Retina International)

Watch the event on YouTube: 
CCB’s Vision 2021 Summit Discussion on The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic

White Cane Week Vision Gala 2021 Thursday February 18th  at 2:00 p.m.

Canadian Council of the Blind Vision 2021 Virtual Gala Thursday February 18 at 2pm.

White Cane Week’s Annual Award Event-Enjoy CCB’s Annual Dinner Gala without the dinner. Highlighting annual awards and special speakers.

Host: Michael Baillargeon (Special Advisor to the Canadian Council of the Blind); Speakers and special guests: Louise Gillis (National President Canadian Council of the Blind), White Cane Person of the Year Award Recipient, President’s Award Recipient, David Errington (President and CEO at AMI), Peter Burke (VP of Marketing and Communications at AMI), musicians Lucas Haneman and Megan Laurence, Doug Earle (President and CEO at Fighting Blindness Canada), Dr. Keith Gordon (Senior Research Officer of the Canadian Council of the Blind), Ric Watson (Executive Chef and Director of Food Services at The Ottawa Mission), and more

Watch the event on YouTube:
CCB’s 2021 Gala

White Cane Week 2021 – BC Yukon Division Virtual Events

BC-Yukon Division

White Cane Week (WCW)

February 7 to 13, 2021

Please Join us

This year the CCB BC-Yukon Division is planning four virtual WCW events via a Zoom Webinar with special event host Fraser Hiltz

Webinar 1: Sunday February 7th at 1:00 PM PST

Topic: History of CCB & WCW

Presenter: Amy Amantea

Webinar 2: Tuesday February 9th at 10:00 AM PST

Topic: Evolution of Assistive Technology

Presenter: Albert Ruel

Webinar 3: Thursday February 11th at 7:00 PM PST

Topic: World Blind Union (WBU)

Presenter: Charles Mossop

Webinar 4: Saturday February 13th at 11:00 AM PST

Topic: Life Experience, A Success Story

Presenter: Betty Nobel

How to Connect with Us

Please click this link to join us:

(you will be asked to enter your email and name; and once connected, you will be automatically muted during the presentation)

Or join by using one-tap mobile:

Canada: +17789072071,,86809309057# or +12042727920,,86809309057#

Or join by telephone: (use the nearest area code)

Webinar ID: 868 0930 9057

(when phoning you will be required to punch in the webinar ID)

Canada: +1 778 907 2071 or +1 204 272 7920 or +1 438 809 7799 or +1 587 328 1099 or +1 647 374 4685 or +1 647 558 0588
US: +1 929 205 6099 or +1 253 215 8782 or +1 301 715 8592 or +1 312 626 6799 or +1 346 248 7799 or +1 669 900 6833

For more information email [email protected] or call 604-795-3885 or 1-800-874-4666