Canadian National Institute for the Blind

1929 Bayview Avenue
Toronto, ON M4G 3E8
President & CEO: John M. Rafferty
Board Chair: Robert J. Fenton

Charitable Reg. #:11921 9459 RR0003


Ci's Star Rating is calculated based on the following independent metrics:

[Charity Rating: 3/5]



Audited financial statements for current and previous years available on the charity’s website.



Grade based on the charity's public reporting of the work it does and the results it achieves.



The demonstrated impact per dollar Ci calculates from available program information.


Charity's cash and investments (funding reserves) relative to how much it spends on programs in most recent year.



For a dollar donated, after overhead costs of fundraising and admin/management (excluding surplus) 52 cents are available for programs.

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About Canadian National Institute for the Blind:

Canadian National Institute for the Blind is a 3-star charity. It has a B- results reporting grade, which is below average. For every dollar donated to the charity, 52 cents are available to go to the cause, which is outside Ci's reasonable range.

Founded in 1918, Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) supports people impacted by blindness or vision impairment. CNIB runs programs and advocacy campaigns to help those affected by blindness live the lives they choose. The charity reports that 1.5 million Canadians experience sight loss, and 5.6 million have an eye disease that could cause vision loss. CNIB led a study and found that in 2017, the financial cost of vision loss in Canada was $23.5 billion.  

CNIB runs five programs for people impacted by blindness: Technology, Peer Support, Careers and Employment, Sports and Recreation, and Children and Youth.  

In F2023, 32% of spending ($12.3m as calculated by Ci) went to the Technology program. This program helps individuals with sight loss gain access to technology to help increase independence. CNIB sent 855 smartphones with accessible apps and technical training in F2023. The charity also runs CNIB Smartlife, a program that brings technology to those who experience loss of vision. CNIB Smartlife reported 70,000 e-commerce interactions and 20,000 contact centre inquiries. It served 20,000 people in F2023, a 33% increase compared to F2022.

In F2023, 25% of spending ($9.6m as calculated by Ci) went to the Peer Support program. CNIB Mobile is a sub-program that decreases transportation barriers in rural areas. Since its launch, CNIB mobile reached 1,000 participants through 119 programs in 26 communities. The charity also helped implement BlindSquare navigation in 50 Service Canada offices and 300 RBC branches.

In F2023, 20% of program spending ($7.7m as calculated by Ci) went to the Careers and Employment program. This program provides people with sight loss the skills and resources to achieve their career ambitions. In F2023, CNIB provided over 1,500 technology sessions to help talent pool participants excel in the workplace. It also held its virtual conference “Connecting the Dots”. Over 1,000 people attended this conference in F2023, an increase of 27% compared to the previous year.

In F2023, 18% of program spending ($6.9m as calculated by Ci) went toward the Sports and Recreation program. This program helps people with sight loss foster an active and healthy lifestyle. CNIB organizes a variety of sporting events throughout the year, such as five-a-side soccer and hockey.

In F2023, 5% of program spending ($1.9m as calculated by Ci) went toward the Children and Youth program. In F2023, CNIB launched its Youth Equality through Legal Learning program to educate youth about human rights. The charity also held its first-ever camp-based braille literacy program. In F2023, it awarded $133,000 in scholarships to students with sight loss. Eight youths in Quebec learned English in an accessible environment at Camp Lake Joe.

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Results and Impact

Charity Intelligence did not find any quantitative results for CNIB. This may not be a complete representation of CNIB’s results and impact.

This charity is not yet rated on impact (n/r).

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In F2022 CNIB introduced a new category of costs called other, $5.8 million in 2023 and $3.7 million in 2022. Charity Intelligence included these other costs with general administration.

Canadian National Institute for the Blind is a Major 100 charity, meaning it is one of Canada's largest charities in terms of donations. CNIB received $43.7m in donations in F2023 and $8.0m in government funding (11% of revenue). Administrative costs are 16% of revenue (excluding investment income), and fundraising costs are 32% of donations. Total overhead spending is 48%. For every dollar donated to the charity, 52 cents are available to go to the cause. This is outside Ci’s reasonable range of overhead spending by 13%.

CNIB has $67.5m in reserve funds, of which, $13.2m is donor endowed. Excluding donor-endowed funds, the charity’s reserves can cover 144%, or one year and five months of its annual program costs.

CNIB’s reserves contributed $1.3m in investment income, at a return of 2% in F2023. Ci estimates that its investments returned an average of 10% over the past nine years.  

In F2021, CNIB's auditors, Deloitte, noted a legal action from the ordinary course of CNIB's operations in its audited financial statements. Management believes resolving these legal matters will not materially affect CNIB's financial position. 

CNIB ran a lottery in F2023. The lottery raised $9.8m at a cost of $7.7m, netting $2.0m after expenses.  

CNIB uses external fundraisers. In F2023, it paid $6.9m to raise $7.9m, equating to a cost of $0.87 for every dollar raised for the charity by external fundraisers. 

This charity report is an update that has been sent to Canadian National Institute for the Blind for review. Changes and edits may be forthcoming. 

Updated on January 17, 2024 by Liam Chapleau.

Financial Review

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending March
Administrative costs as % of revenues 16.1%14.9%6.8%
Fundraising costs as % of donations 31.7%27.1%46.8%
Total overhead spending 47.8%42.0%53.6%
Program cost coverage (%) 143.8%166.3%155.5%

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $000s
Donations 43,65242,70232,259
Government funding 8,0135,28010,486
Fees for service 9,0055,0393,569
Lotteries (net) 2,025392(600)
Business activities (net) 7,0255,7223,973
Investment income 1,3091,4399,864
Other income 67859842
Total revenues 71,09661,43360,393
Program costs 38,40032,62527,840
Administrative costs 11,2548,9433,421
Fundraising costs 13,82011,57015,108
Other costs 00815
Total spending 63,47453,13847,185
Cash flow from operations 7,6228,29513,208
Capital spending 4,465664353
Funding reserves 67,45366,02856,129

Note: Ci included retail lottery and gaming operations expenses within lotteries, affecting revenue and expenses by ($7.8m) in F2023, ($7.1m) in F2022, and ($6.5m) in F2021. Ci adjusted for deferred contributions in the amount of ($2.8m) in F2023, $7.4m in F2022, and $3.2m in F2021. Ci added endowment contributions, affecting revenue by $1.9m in F2023, $185k in F2022, and $390k in F2021. Ci excluded gain on sale of capital assets, affecting revenue by ($1.1m) in F2023, ($2.1m) in F2022, and ($2.3m) in F2021. Ci reports business activities on a revenue net expenses basis. As such, Rehabilitation and deafblind services expense affected both revenue and expenses by ($6.0m) in F2023, ($6.1m) in F2022, and ($11.7m) in F2021. Ci included rehabilitation in deafblind revenues within revenue, affecting revenue by $5.4m in F2023 only. This is due to an accounting change.  

Salary Information

Full-time staff: 378

Avg. compensation: $63,190

Top 10 staff salary range:

$350k +
$300k - $350k
$250k - $300k
$200k - $250k
$160k - $200k
$120k - $160k
$80k - $120k
$40k - $80k
< $40k

Information from most recent CRA Charities Directorate filings for F2023

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Comments & Contact

Comments added by the Charity:

The following comments refer to a previous profile update. Comments for the 2023 profile update may be forthcoming.

CNIB is a registered charity, passionately providing community-based support, knowledge and a national voice to ensure Canadians who are blind or partially sighted have the confidence, skills and opportunities to fully participate in life.

To do that, our dedicated specialists work with people of all ages in their own homes, communities or local CNIB offices – providing the personalized rehabilitation support they need to see beyond vision loss, build their independence and lead the lives they want.

In addition to our community-based services, we also work hand-in-hand with Canadians who are blind or partially sighted to advocate for a barrier-free society, and we strive to eliminate avoidable sight loss with world-class research and by promoting the importance of vision health through public education.

To make a donation or learn more, visit or call the toll-free CNIB Helpline at 1-800-563-2642.

Charity Contact

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Tel: 416-486-2500


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Charitable Registration Number: 80340 7956 RR0001