Mandate & Philosophy
Our philosophy and mandate promoting independent living for people with disabilities.
Promoting a new perspective on disabilities to increase the options for independent living for disabled persons and their integration in all aspects of their communities.
Incorporated in 1990, the Victoria Disability Resource Centre (VDRC) is a cross-disability, grassroots, charitable organization run by and for persons with disabilities.
We work closely with people who have a disability and with other community organizations to find and remove barriers that prevent full participation in life. The Independent Living approach to providing services offers a new perspective on disability.
The Board of Directors, elected by VDRC members, provides overall direction, management and governance for the Centre. The Board is composed of community members both with and without disabilities. The day to day operations of the Centre are run by a small, dedicated staff and a larger group of volunteers.
We are a proud member of Independent Living Canada, the national umbrella organization representing and coordinating a network of Independent Living Centres across Canada.
Our Independent Living Philosophy
The Independent Living Philosophy (IL Philosophy) is an alternative approach to the traditional medical/rehabilitation service-delivery model. This philosophy promotes and encourages an attitude of ‘self-director’ in disabled individuals. It means that they negotiate and access the community services and resources they need to participate as equal citizens in their community.
The IL Philosophy recognises the rights of individuals with disabilities to assume risks and make choices. It puts decision-making right into their own hands. Consumers are encouraged to achieve self-direction over their personal care and the community services they need to achieve independence.
The IL Philosophy is premised on the belief that all people with disabilities have skills, determination, creativity and a passion for life, yet many face barriers limiting their full participation in their communities. These barriers include outdated attitudes, inflexible laws and regulations, lack of accessible transportation and the frequent fragmentation and lack of coordination among various social programs.
The IL Philosophy is not an abstract concept. Independent living is founded on the principles that disabled people have the right to live with dignity in their chosen community, participate in all aspects of their life and control and make decisions about their own lives. It is about a way of living as a person with a disability in a society full of barriers.
Our 4 governance principles
The VDRC, and the other independent living centres which are members of Independent Living Canada, is governed by 4 basic principles. These are:
1. Consumer Control
The people receiving our services are also the people offering them. We maintain a grassroots character so we do not lose touch with the people we are serving.
2. Disability Diversity
People with different disabilities have different needs. We provide programs and resources for persons with all types of disabilities. As well, a variety of disabilities are represented at the staff, volunteer and board levels.
3. Community Mindedness
We listen, respond and are responsible to our community. We are here to help fill service gaps and let people know what’s already available for people with disabilities in the Victoria region.
4. Full Participation
We promote the full participation of people with disabilities in the economic, political, cultural and social life of Canadian society.
Our Core Programs
The essential program components are Information and Referral, Peer Support, Skills Development and Employment, and Research and Development. By providing these four core programs consumers, regardless of their disability, are empowered and enabled to define their own goals, find peer support and develop empowerment skills.