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CNIB Phone It Forward Program: Donate your old smartphone and help someone with sight loss


The CNIB Foundation has partnered with Ottawa Public Library to bring the Phone It Forward Program to local library branches in Ottawa.


Phone It Forward is the first program of its kind worldwide that refurbishes used smartphones, putting them directly in the hands of people with sight loss to transform lives. Visitors to any OPL branch can pick up a postage-paid envelope to donate their used smartphone(s) to CNIB for the Phone it Forward program.


The unemployment rate for persons with sight loss is triple the Canadian average, making affording a mobile device difficult for many. 46% of Canadians who are blind don't own a smartphone - or not one that's advanced enough to assist them in daily living.


Refurbished smartphones are wiped of existing content and loaded with new accessible apps specifically designed to benefit someone with sight loss. They can then be used for a multitude of day-to-day tasks that many of us take for granted, including navigating with GPS, identifying colours and faces, reading printed text, confirming correct medications and accessing live video assistance from a sighted volunteer. From school to work to home to life in the community, smartphones empower people with sight loss with unprecedented levels of information and independence.


The Phone It Forward envelopes will be available at OPL branches starting May 1st until October 31! Help change what it is to be blind today. Visit your local Ottawa Public Library branch to pick up a Phone It Forward postage-paid envelope and donate your used smartphone(s). Please note, customers are asked to deposit the envelopes themselves in a post office box.


Your donation will support Canadians with sight loss in your community. 


For more information, please contact:

Ottawa Public Library, Accessibility Services


I live near the Fitzroy Library Branch. Are the postage-paid envelopes available there for my smartphone donation?

Lorraine Murphy

Good question! All Ottawa Public Library branches have Phone It Forward envelopes, including the Fitzroy Harbour branch. If a branch runs out of envelopes (some branches have run out!), we have more envelopes from CNIB. Thank you!