Position Statement of the Canadian Federation of the Blind Concerning Rehabilitation of Blind Canadians

(Note: The term “blind” in this document refers to all individuals who meet the legal definition of blindness).

1. Blind Canadians have the right to the opportunity to learn the skills and attitudes of blindness necessary to succeed economically and socially. Because the opportunity to learn these skills is a right, it must be provided at government expense. Just as the right to a free and public education exists for all Canadian children, the right to rehabilitation must be provided to blind adults.

2. Blind Canadians are not a homogeneous group. Therefore, it is appropriate that a variety of rehabilitation options be available to meet varying needs.

3. Individuals seeking rehabilitation have the right to informed consent when choosing the type of services that best fit their needs.

4. Funding for rehabilitation should follow the individual, not the program.

5. An Individualized Written Rehabilitation Plan, specifying the type of training to be provided, the responsibilities of the entity providing the training, the government funding it, and the rehabilitation student, and the expected outcomes must be drawn up and agreed to jointly by the government, the blind individual, and the service provider.

6. Evaluation of contracts for rehabilitation will be based on the outcomes for the students, not merely on the contractor’s provision of services.

7. Students may not be geographically limited in their choice of training options; those choosing training out of province or in another country will continue to receive medical coverage and other public benefits while participating in the training course.