The Pacific Training Centre is a Division of the Canadian Organization of the Blind and Deafblind, a federal, grassroots charitable organization, headquartered on beautiful Bowen Island, British Columbia. The Division is community-focused, accountable to the people we serve, and the vast majority of our funds are spent on direct program delivery.
The Division currently serves blind, DeafBlind and low vision adults from across Canada of all ages from young adults to older seniors. We have plans to expand our program’s availability through the Bowen Island Centre for the Blind and DeafBlind capital project.
We are the only blindness-service provider in BC accredited by the Commission on the Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). Our program has won the Canada Life Literacy Innovation Award from ABC Life Literacy. We are also one of the only organizations in Canada that offers regular, intensive, group-based blindness skills training to blind and low vision adults.
We deliver our Blind People in Charge program at the centre, which is located on Bowen Island. We currently offer blindness skills / independence training to anyone who is 19 years of age or older and who is blind, DeafBlind, or who is experiencing vision loss living in, or able to travel to, Victoria. Students are self-referred, a medical referral is not required. We provide non-visual training in: tactile skills, including Braille; orientation and travel training with the long white cane; daily living skills such as cooking and cleaning; technology such as computer and iPhone use without sight; and more. All of our instructors are blind or DeafBlind, have a wealth of lived experience to share and promote a positive approach to blindness and DeafBlindness.
At the Pacific Training Centre Division of the Canadian Organization of the Blind and Deafblind we are “blind and DeafBlind people empowering each other to be employed, independent, and free.”
The Pacific Training Centre for the Blind is committed to empowering its students to achieve independence, employment, equality and first-class citizenship by offering cutting edge blindness skills training based on a positive, proven, world-renowned model.
Teachers instill a belief in blind people’s own capabilities and in the limitless possibilities open to them by adopting a non-custodial approach (i.e. it is not about sighted people doing things for blind people; it is about blind people doing things for themselves, and it is about blind teachers working with blind students to increase skills and confidence).
The PTCB was founded in 2011 and has been providing services since 2014. The idea of the centre took root years before in the minds of blind people who wanted to address the high unemployment rate (75% nationally), isolation, and severe lack of intensive rehabilitation available to blind people in the province and in the country.
“The simple truth is that blind people are not helpless. A blind person can do pretty much anything a sighted person can. All they need is the right training and opportunity.” Elizabeth Lalonde, PTCB founder and Executive Director, May 2014.
Our Division’s Purposes
Our Division’s purposes are:
(a) To provide blindness/Deafblindness skills training, based on the Structured Discovery Learning instructional model, to people who are blind, Deafblind, or low vision in a manner consistent with the purposes of the Canadian Organization of the Blind and Deafblind; and
(b) To undertake activities ancillary and incidental to the above-mentioned purposes that do not otherwise conflict with the purposes of the Canadian Organization of the Blind and Deafblind.
Like all Canadian non-profit organizations, the Pacific Training Centre for the Blind Society is run by a board of directors, a constitution and by-laws.