This Christmas, Phone It Forward

As 2019 winds to an end, phone plans turn over, new devices are purchased, and the spirit of giving fills the air, the Canadian National Institute for the Blind is on a mission with its Phone It Forward program. The Phone It Forward program is a game-changing program that accepts any modern smartphone to help people with sight loss. It’s a first-of-its-kind initiative that is the emblem of an exciting new direction for the century-old charity.

With millions of smartphones gathering dust each year as users upgrade to newer models, Phone It Forward gives Canadians a unique opportunity to donate their old phones, receive a tax receipt and empower people who are blind in the process. 

“Forty-six per cent of Canadians who are blind don’t own a smartphone – at least not one that’s advanced enough to help them in their daily lives, ” says John M. Rafferty, president and CEO, CNIB Group. “Phone It Forward lets us put an all-in-one communications and accessibility solution into their hands that will help reduce barriers and drive independence.”

Through a partnership with Fixt Wireless Repair, donated smartphones are wiped to the highest data security standards, loaded with accessible apps and provided to people with sight loss who need them, along with technical training, discounted maintenance and data plan support- a gift that keeps on giving.

Donations are simple to make: a person or company registers their old smartphone(s) online at, you can pick up a prepaid envelope in many locations across Hamilton (and all over Canada) and send in your donation(s). Or with your registered donation(s) you can drop by the Hamilton office at 115 Parkdale S between 8:30am to 4:30pm, Monday to Friday, like a mid-week Santa Claus! A tax receipt from the CNIB Foundation is sent over to you!  

Now you might be thinking how does someone who is blind use a smartphone? Well every modern smart phone comes with a host of accessibility features built into it, customized to fit the need of the user. On top of that many apps powered by AI, volunteers, and innovative ideas are giving people with sight loss their independence. So, give the gift of independence this holiday. The gift of getting to work or school safely, the gift of reading prescription medication and important labels, of seeing and identifying loved ones. Give one heck of a start to the New Year!

The Phone It Forward program was inspired by the CNIB Foundation’s new strategic plan Bold Dreams, Bright Futures. The plan sets out three ambitious goals for the next four years: 

  1. Boost participation in the world of work
  2. Unleash the power of technology
  3. Drive achievement and equality

For more information on how to get involved or to donate a smartphone to the CNIB Phone It Forward program, visit

Have a safe and happy holidays Hamilton!

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