Unlocking Access: Funding Opportunities for Assistive Technology in Canada

June 14, 2024

Assistive technology plays a crucial role in enhancing the independence and quality of life for individuals who are blind or have low vision. However, the cost of these technologies like the Envision Glasses can be a significant barrier. Fortunately, there are several funding resources in Canada designed to help acquire the necessary assistive devices. Here’s a comprehensive guide to the available options specifically for people who are blind or have low vision:

1. Accessible Technology Program (ATP)

Overview: The Accessible Technology Program (ATP) is part of the Government of Canada’s initiative to support the development of assistive technologies. This program aims to make it easier for Canadians with disabilities to participate in the digital economy by funding the development of new devices and technology solutions.

Criteria: Eligible recipients include Canadian legal entities such as for-profit organizations, not-for-profits, and research institutes. Funding ranges from $75,000 to $1.5 million.

More Information: Accessible Technology Program.

2. Enabling Accessibility Fund (EAF)

Overview: The EAF provides funding for projects that improve accessibility in workplaces and communities. This includes the installation of assistive devices and technologies.

Criteria: Open to municipalities, non-profits, and Indigenous communities. Funding amounts range from $10,000 to $3 million, depending on the project.

More Information: Enabling Accessibility Fund.

3. Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) SmartLife

Overview: CNIB offers various funding and support programs to assist individuals with vision loss in acquiring assistive technology. They provide resources and guidance on available technology and funding options.

Criteria: Individuals must be registered with CNIB to access these resources.

More Information: CNIB SmartLife.

4. March of Dimes Canada

Overview: Provides various programs to support the acquisition of assistive devices for individuals with disabilities, including those with vision impairments.

Criteria: Applicants must demonstrate financial need and the necessity of the device for improving their quality of life.More Information: March of Dimes Canada.

5. AccessATCanada

Overview: A comprehensive resource for finding assistive technology funding and service programs across Canada. This platform allows users to search for suitable programs based on geographical location and specific needs.

Criteria: Varies by program; users can search and filter according to their specific requirements.

More Information: AccessATCanada.

6. Northwest Access Fund

Overview: Provides assistive technology loans and grants to help individuals with disabilities, including those with vision impairments, to obtain necessary equipment.

Criteria: Applicants must demonstrate the need for the device and financial need.

More Information: Northwest Access Fund.

These funding resources can significantly alleviate the financial burden associated with acquiring assistive technology, ensuring greater accessibility and independence for individuals who are blind or have low vision across Canada. Explore these options, understand the criteria, and take the necessary steps to apply for the support you need. By leveraging these programs, you can enhance your participation in everyday activities and improve your quality of life.