Canadian National Institute for the Blind

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

Charitable Reg. #:11921 9459 RR0003


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

[Charity Rating: 2/5]



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) 46 cents are available for programs.

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About Canadian National Institute for the Blind:

Canadian National Institute for the Blind is a 2-star charity. It has overhead spending well outside Ci's reasonable range. It is financially transparent and has below-average reporting of its results for donors.  


Founded in 1918, Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) supports people impacted by blindness or vision impairment. CNIB runs community-based programs and advocates for those affected by blindness so they can live the lives they choose. It is headquartered in Toronto. The charity reports that 1.5 million Canadians identify with sight loss, and 5.6 million have an eye disease that could cause vision loss. CNIB reports that the leading causes of blindness are cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma. 


CNIB runs six main programs for people impacted by blindness. These programs are titled: Advocate, Live, Learn, Tech, Play, and Work. 


Live: In F2021, CNIB allocated 44% of program spending to its Live program. CNIB describes this program as offering support and services to enhance the lives of people impacted by blindness. Some facets of the program include guide dog partnerships, peer support programs, and scheduled friendly call services. 


Advocate: CNIB's Advocate program received 19% of program spending in F2021. This program works to achieve equality for Canadians with sight loss. A program highlight in F2021 was launching a public awareness campaign urging people to consider the effect of covid-19 restrictions on Canadians with sight loss. 


Play: CNIB allocated 11% of program spending to its Play program in F2021. The Play program offers social, recreational, and cultural activities for people with vision impairments. A major component of this program is the charity's summer camps held on the shores of Lake Joseph, ON. 


Learn: In F2021, CNIB's Learn program received 10% of program spending. This program offers education, skills, and literacy support/training to foster social skills and independence in people with sight loss. In F2021, CNIB delivered over 4,000 virtual programs to people with sight loss and their families. 


Tech: CNIB allocated 9% of program spending to its Tech program in F2021. CNIB's Tech program provides training and accessibility services to ensure people impacted by blindness can use technology. The charity reports distributing over 1,000 smartphones (free of charge) to Canadians with sight loss throughout the pandemic. 


Work: CNIB's Work program received 6% of program spending in F2021. This program provides resources and training to individuals impacted by blindness so they can obtain work. 


The remaining 1% of program spending went to other programs, which CNIB does not report. 


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Results and Impact

Canadian National Institute for the Blind reports that its public awareness campaign regarding the effects of covid-19 restrictions on people with sight loss resulted in 32 million media impressions, 49 stories in Canadian media outlets, and 5,000 social media engagements. 


In 2021, CNIB revealed a new tool, the Canadian Covid-19 Vaccine Disability Dashboard, to ensure that people with disabilities have equitable access to information about the covid-19 vaccine. 


In 2021, CNIB collaborated with Moneris to enhance accessibility features on payment terminals so people with sight loss can independently use the terminal without sharing their pin or asking for assistance. 


While Charity Intelligence highlights these key results, they may not be a complete representation of CNIB's results. This charity is not yet rated on impact (n/r). 


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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 $29.1m in donations in F2021. Administrative costs are less than 3% of revenues (less investment income), and fundraising costs are 52% of donations. This results in total overhead spending of 54%. For every dollar donated, 46 cents go to the cause, which is well outside of Ci's reasonable range for overhead spending.


CNIB has $56.1m in funding reserves, once $5.0m in debt is accounted for. Of CNIB's net funding reserves, $13.9m is donor endowed. Excluding donor-endowed funds, the charity could cover 156% or one year and six months of its annual program costs with reserves. 


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


CNIB uses external fundraisers. In F2021, it paid $5.8m to raise $3.9m, equating to a cost of $1.50 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 July 28, 2022, by Sydney Olexa. 


Financial Review

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending March
Administrative costs as % of revenues 2.6%5.4%4.3%
Fundraising costs as % of donations 51.9%48.0%41.4%
Total overhead spending 54.5%53.5%45.7%
Program cost coverage (%) 155.5%114.4%179.7%

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $000s
Donations 29,10029,13129,252
Government funding 10,4861,7275,608
Fees for service 3,5694,172347
Lotteries (net) (600)2,2552,950
Business activities (net) 3,9732,9533,952
Investment income 12,297(3,969)755
Other income 8421,087926
Total revenues 59,66737,35643,790
Program costs 27,84029,94529,253
Administrative costs 1,2242,2451,865
Fundraising costs 15,10813,99512,109
Other costs 3,0122,9972,295
Total spending 47,18549,18245,521
Cash flow from operations 12,482(11,826)(1,731)
Capital spending 3534,1522,574
Funding reserves 56,12946,67264,666

Note: Ci reported endowment contributions in donations, increasing total revenue by $390k in F2021, $90k in F2020, and $78k in F2019. Investment market fluctuation of $2.4m in F2021, ($1.1m) in F2020, and ($325k) in F2019 was accounted for as investment income (loss). Gain on the sale of capital assets was not recognized in revenue, decreasing total revenue by $2.3m in F2021, $1.1m in F2020, and $2.0m in F2019. Ci reported retail lottery and gaming revenue net of expenses, decreasing total revenue and expenses by $6.5m in F2021, $8.8m in F2020, and $7.6m in F2019. CNIB manages two government-funded programs, Vision Loss Rehabilitation Canada (VLRC) and Deafblind Community Services (DBCS). The expenses from these programs were reallocated to net business activities, reducing revenues and expenses by $11.7m in F2021, $22.1m in F2020, and $38.5m in F2019. Amortization of capital assets was backed out of program, administrative, and fundraising costs on a pro-rata basis.

Salary Information

Full-time staff: 354

Avg. compensation: $81,777

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 F2021

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Comments & Contact

Comments added by the Charity:

The following comments refer to a previous profile update. Comments for the 2022 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: 1-800-265-4127


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Charitable Registration Number: 80340 7956 RR0001