Welcome to the Pacific Training Centre (PTC). We are blind and DeafBlind people empowering each other to be employed, independent and free.
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 COBD: Pacific Training Centre Division currently serves blind, DeafBlind and low vision adults in the Greater Victoria Area of all ages from young adults to older seniors.
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 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 PTC 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.
Accreditation and Awards
COBd is the only blindness-service provider in BC with programs accredited by the Commission on the Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). Our Blind People In Charge program has won the Canada Life Literacy Innovation Award from ABC Life Literacy. COBD is also one of the only organizations in Canada that offers regular, intensive, group-based blindness skills training to blind and low vision adults.
Blind People In Charge
We deliver our Blind People in Charge program at the centre, which is located in downtown Victoria. We currently offer blindness skills / independence training to anyone who is 19 years of age or older in the Greater Victoria area and who is blind, DeafBlind, or who is experiencing vision loss.
COBD: Pacific Training Centre Division’s Blind People In Charge” program improves the quality of life of blind, DeafBlind, and low vision adults through the provision of training that enables them to live independently. The Blind People In Charge program serves blind, DeafBlind and low vision adults in the Greater Victoria Area, ranging from young adults to older seniors. The program is accredited by the Commission for the Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) and is one of the only accredited blindness-service programs in BC. This national, award-winning program is also one of the only programs of its kind in western Canada that offers regular, intensive rehabilitation to adults who are blind, DeafBlind, or losing their vision. It uses an empowering, problem-solving model of instruction, called “Structured Discovery”, where people who are blind and DeafBlind are the teachers, planners, directors and administrators. Traditional training models use fixed methods which train people who are blind or DeafBlind to follow a prescribed series of steps to complete a task. This traditional approach does not teach participants how to handle new situations or to explore their world with confidence. The Structured Discovery learning method, however, teaches that participants can gain confidence in themselves through their own efforts at problem solving and resolution, better enabling them to manage all obstacles in their path. This approach promotes a high belief in the unlimited potential of people who are blind and DeafBlind and sustains high expectations of all participants.
Instructors teach non-visual independence skills such as Braille, adaptive technology, cane travel, cooking, home management, and employment skills. They work with students to develop positive strategies for coping with blindness, DeafBlindness, and vision loss in a world that assumes sight. Throughout the program, participants and instructors work together to identify solutions and techniques to promote independence. Having blind and DeafBlind instructors engenders a belief in participants’ own abilities as a person who is blind or DeafBlind; if they see another person who is blind or DeafBlind doing something, they can then believe in their own ability to do it and find the confidence to strive for their goals.
The Blind People In Charge program is designed to allow participants to progress at their own pace. Anyone over 18 who is blind or DeafBlind or is experiencing significant vision loss able to travel to and find accommodation in the Greater Victoria Area may apply, including those who are experiencing other challenges. Students may be self-referred, a medical referral is not necessary.
Classes are taught using a combination of group and one-on-one sessions.
Some of the independence / blindness skills offered in the Blind People in Charge program include but are not limited to:
Reading and writing Braille and using tactile skills;
Keyboarding and adaptive technology such as talking computers and smart phones;
Travelling safely and competently with the long white cane, making mental maps and orientating oneself using cues in the environment (i.e. the direction of the sun, sounds of traffic and changes in textures on the ground);
Using public transportation;
Personal and social skills;
Cooking, cleaning, organizing, labelling, home and financial management, and
Other life skills.
Apply to the Blind People In Charge Program
We encourage students to apply to the Blind People In Charge program as there is currently a wait list. Getting your name on the list ensures you can receive services as soon as possible.
Please contact us to apply or make an inquiry today!
The Pacific Training Centre Division is run by a board of directors, a constitution and by-laws.
Board of Directors
Director at Large 1
Director at Large 2
We appreciate your desire to help. The only question is, how do you want to help us?
We are always looking for people who can help us with reading printed materials, driving, and other tasks. We are also looking for blind and DeafBlind people who may be interested in developing their mentorship skills. Contact us to learn more.
We invite community members to serve on our advisory board to assist us with fundraising, promotion, and other centre initiatives. Contact us to learn more.
Spread the Word
Tell people about us. Visit our social media pages, friend us, and like/retweet our posts. You can find links to our social media channels here.
Become a Member
Contact us to become a member of The Pacific Training Centre .
The centre funds the bulk of its operation through grant awards and donations from the general public. To give, please go here.
Programs at the Pacific Training Centre are made possible through the generosity of our supporters. Thanks, from the board, the staff, and especially the students who have gained independence through your support.
- Braille Literacy Canada
- Centre for Spiritual Living
- City of Victoria
- City of Victoria Strategic Plan Grant
- Coast Capital Savings
- The Disability Without Poverty Network
- Elements Casino
- Federal New Horizons for Seniors
- Gordon Head Chevron Group
- Government of Canada’s Federal Emergency Community Support Fund (ECSF), distributed through the Victoria Foundation and United Way Greater Victoria
- Greater Victoria Savings and Credit Union Legacy Fund
- Hamber Foundation
- The Harder Foundation
- ICONIX Waterworks
- Province of British Columbia
- Telus Friendly Futures Foundation
- Times Colonist
- United Way
- United Way Greater Victoria Local Love in a Global Crisis Fund
- Vandekerkhove Family Foundation
- Victoria Foundation
- Victoria Imperial Lions Club
- Victoria White Cane Club
We also extend special thanks to:
– Hermanns Jazz Club in Victoria for sponsoring our benefit concerts,
– The Mundell family for their ongoing financial support
– The Victoria Disability Resource Centre for sharing space with us
We would further like to recognize friends and Volunteers of the PTC for their time, services and goods.
We would love to hear from you. For more information, please contact us!