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Some Surveys of Poverty Among Blind Canadians

Blind Rights Action Movement Nova Scotia 1970 and Blind Rights Report 1972

"The survey reveals that, of the one-third of the blind population who replied, 38% were in receipt of an allowance under the Blind Persons Act. According to government figures, the overall total of B.P.A. recipients is 36%. Only 48 returns, that is 10%, disclosed that the blind person was employed. Seventy-five percent of the replies revealed an annual income of less than $2,000.00. The average income disclosed by the survey is $1,775-2000 per year."

The Lowry 1972 report estimated that only about 10 per cent of blind Nova Scotians were employed.

The Blind Workmen's Compensation Act Study in British Columbia

Paterson studied the general economic and employment characteristics of British Columbia's blind population between the ages of 16 and 65. He concluded that:

"The estimated blind unemployment rate in B.C. of up to 45 per cent can be contrasted with the general provincial rate of 7.3 per cent estimated as of December 1974."

" blind persons in B.C. between the ages of 16 and 65 have annual incomes which compare closely to the poverty line."

"The annual incomes for blind women in this age group are suggested to be less than half those for men."

"It may well be that up to two-thirds of all blind persons in B.C. between the ages of 16 and 65 are receiving social welfare."

The Girard Report 1974 indicated that in Quebec more than 20 percent of blind persons aged from 20 to 65 were beneficiaries of social aid compared to about 8 per cent for the population in general.

"Furthermore, it was possible to establish that about 500 legally blind persons work, based on a population of about 2,000 capable of working."

Cummings Nova Scotia Study 1975

"between 70 and 80 per cent of blind Nova Scotians have an income level less than the minimum wage. Further applying the most conservative poverty line $3,012, about two-thirds of blind Nova Scotians are living in poverty."


"Instead of breaking the vicious link between blindness and poverty, the federal and provincial welfare services have succeeded only in concealing the plight of blind Canadians from public attention ... More than half of all blind adults of working age in Canada subsist at substantially less than the officially accepted levels of poverty ...

The alarming conclusion that blind people must be numbered among the poorest of the poor in this country cannot conscientiously be denied. The claim that probably more than half of all the blind adults in Canada subsist at less than the officially accepted poverty levels is supported by various studies."

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