TORONTO, April 15 /CNW/ - With the stage set for another Federal
election and Canadians headed towards the polls in May, VISION 2020
Canada is urging party leaders to put a national vision health strategy
back on the agenda.
"The need for a national, strategic and coordinated approach to vision
health in Canada is long-overdue," said John M. Rafferty, chair of
Vision2020 Canada. "We urge party leaders to deliver on their past
commitments and make vision health a key priority in this coming
In 2003, the government of Canada made a commitment to the World Health
Organization (WHO) to develop a national vision plan by 2005 and begin
implementing the plan within the next two years. In 2007, the then
Conservative Government of Canada renewed this commitment to WHO.
While countries as diverse as Australia, India, the UK and Sri Lanka all
have plans in place and are reaping the benefits of a coordinated
approach to vision health and rehabilitation, to date, no such plan
exists for Canada. Meanwhile, more than 262,000 Canadians have
developed blindness or partial sight.
The socio-economic impact of vision loss is far reaching and includes
social isolation, high unemployment rates and poverty. *In fact, only
35 per cent of working-age Canadians with vision loss are employed and
more than half all adults who are blind or partially sighted earn
$20,000 a year or less. The annual price tag associated with blindness
and partial sight in Canada is an astounding $15.8 billion.
About Vision 2020 Canada
Vision 2020 Canada is part of a global coalition that seeks to eliminate
avoidable blindness and vision loss by the year 2020. We are a network
of organizations focused on fostering greater collaboration and
education among organizations and governments in Canada and around the
world on key issues related to vision loss.
For more information on Vision 2020, please visit http://www.vision2020.org
For further information:
Manager, Marketing & Communications
T: (416) 486-2500 ext. 7715