Canadian National Institute for the Blind

1929 Bayview Ave.
Toronto, ON M4G 3E8
President & CEO: John M. Rafferty
Board Chair: Ronald Kruzeniski

Charitable Reg. #:11921 9459 RR0003


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

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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) 56 cents are available for programs.

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About Canadian National Institute for the Blind:

Founded in 1918, Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) is a national charity that supports blind and partially sighted Canadians. It runs community-based programs and advocates for those affected by blindness so they can live the lives they choose. CNIB is headquartered in Toronto and has 50 local offices across all of Canada’s provinces as well as Northwest Territories and YukonIt reports that over 500,000 Canadians are blind or partially sighted, and 5.6 million have eye disease that could cause vision loss. The leading causes of blindness according to the charity are cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma.  

CNIB conducted a Canada-wide survey on people affected by blindness to help guide its 2018-22 strategic plan. Its three strategic directions, which are based on key learning from the survey, focus on improving employment levels, increasing accessible technology, and reducing social stigmas related to blindness.  

In F2018, 94% of CNIB’s program spending was on community-based programs and services. This includes vision loss rehab therapy, support programs, technology and device services, deafblind community services, and improving accessible publishing. The remaining 6% of program spending went toward public education, advocacy, and research.  

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Results and Impact

On June 21st 2019the Government of Canada passed Bill C-81 – the Act to Ensure a Barrier-Free Canada, also called the Accessible Canada Act. This act enables the federal government and organizations with federal jurisdiction to ensure that public spaces, workplaces, employment services and information are accessible to everyone. CNIB states that this proactively eliminates and prevents barriers to opportunities for people living with disabilities. The charity was active in providing insights and advocating on behalf of blind Canadians while the bill was being built and reviewed.    

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Canadian National Institute for the Blind is a Major 100 charity, meaning it is one of Canada’s largest in terms of donations. It received $26.1m in donations in F2018. Administrative costs are 4% of revenues (excluding investment income) and fundraising costs are 39% of donations. Per dollar donated, 56 cents go to the cause, which is not within Ci’s reasonable range for overhead spending.  

CNIB’s net funding reserves of $69.8m include $13.2m in endowment funds as well as cash held by Vancouver Community Foundation. Excluding endowed funds, CNIB could cover annual program costs for just over one year using existing reserves.  

CNIB reported using external fundraisers as part of its fundraising activities in its F2018 T3010 CRA filing. The charity paid external fundraisers $1.3m, who raised $925k for the charity. This means CNIB spent $1.42 per dollar raised.  

In April 2018, CNIB transferred Rehabilitation and Deafblind programs (government-funded) to Vision Loss Rehabilitation Canada and Deafblind Community Services, two newly-incorporated charities.  

CNIB received $55.7m in proceeds from the sale of capital assets in F2018. In April 2017, the charity sold its CNIB Centerentered a 10-year leaseback agreement with the purchaser, and deferred the proceeds to be amortized into revenue over the term of the lease. Ci does not include non-cash items such as deferred gain on sale in revenues, and it also does not include extraordinary items. As such, this information is not reflected in Ci’s cash flow from operationsThe one-time proceeds received by the charity can be seen in the increase in funding reserves from F2017 to F2018.  

This charity report is an update that has been sent to CNIB for review. Comments and edits may be forthcoming.  

Updated on July 24, 2019 by Katie Khodawandi.  

Financial Review

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending March
Administrative costs as % of revenues 4.3%3.5%3.6%
Fundraising costs as % of donations 39.3%37.5%40.2%
Program cost coverage (%) 105.0%8.6%(4.3%)

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $000s
Donations 26,08525,49025,311
Government funding 31,93931,72426,837
Fees for service 1,0681,1701,181
Lotteries (net) 1,9632,1772,164
Business activities (net) 3,8133,8554,140
Investment income 3,7266,7041,760
Other income 9268382,320
Total revenues 69,52071,95863,713
Program costs 54,61852,26452,865
Administrative costs 2,7982,2922,255
Fundraising costs 10,2409,54910,162
Other costs 1,3571,7212,420
Cash flow from operations 5076,132(3,989)
Funding reserves 69,83117,0429,405

Note: Ci reported endowment contributions in donations, increasing total revenue by $589k in F2018, $301k in F2017, and $254k in F2016. To report on a cash basis, Ci did not report amortization of deferred capital contributions and instead reported amounts received during the year in donations. This affected total revenue by ($1.0m) in F2018, ($910k) in F2017, and ($1.4m) in F2016. Ci did not make a similar adjustment for deferred contributions for expenses of future periods because they were immaterial. Gain on sale of capital assets was not recognized in revenue, decreasing total revenue by $10.5m in F2018, $86k in F2017, and $97k in F2016. Ci reports retail lottery and gaming revenue net of expenses in Lotteries, decreasing total revenue and expenses by $7.7m in F2018, $7.7m in F2017, and $8.2m in F2016. Amortization of capital assets was backed out of program, administrative and fundraising costs on a pro-rata basis. Other costs include ‘other’ and ‘restructuring’ expense line items as reported in the charity’s audited financials. Funding reserves include $2.6m in endowment funds held by Vancouver Community Foundation.  

Salary Information

Full-time staff: 646

Avg. Compensation: $65,006

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 F2018

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Comments & Contact

Comments added by the Charity:

[Charity Intelligence note: This profile has recently been updated. The comments that follow apply to an earlier version and may be revised.]

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

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