About ASIC

Access for Sight Impaired Consumers (ASIC) is an independent, consumer-driven advocacy coalition, which addresses issues that affect consumers who are legally blind, sight-impaired or deaf-blind residing in British Columbia. Many of our affiliate organizations are associated with widely recognized provincial or national bodies that serve an even greater number than the 18,500 legally blind consumers that reside in this province.
 
Our primary objective is to promote equal access and independence for persons who are blind, sight-impaired or deaf-blind by offering educational opportunities for, and by increasing the awareness of, key decision makers in government, the corporate sector and the public-at-large.
 
Often we are asked, "Why ASIC? Doesn't CNIB or other organizations promote access and independence for blind people?" The answer is rather simple: 
  1. It has long been our belief, supported by such rehabilitation providers such as CNIB, that consumers who wish to make positive and effective change are best to speak for themselves. It is our view that for decision makers and the public-at-large to really understand the challenges and obstacles that persons with vision loss encounter on a daily basis, they need to hear from those who live the challenges every day and not from a third party, even if that party possesses extensive experience in working with people who are blind, sight-impaired or deaf-blind.
     
  2. Organizations such as CNIB provide an invaluable service with respect to counseling, independent living skills, orientation & mobility (which teaches independent, confident travel) and low vision assessments for those with partial vision loss. They ensure Canadians with vision loss attain the confidence, skills and opportunities to fully participate in life. And while they add their well-respected voice to the efforts of Access for Sight-Impaired Consumers and other consumer organizations, they too encourage consumers to self-advocate for their own positive change.
     
  3. In British Columbia, we share a unique relationship with organizations such as CNIB in that we possess a mutual respect for one another's goals and mandates. While CNIB does participate in advocacy initiatives of a national (and/or provincial) level, ASIC often responds to request for advocacy assistance that are brought forward by persons with vision loss in British Columbia.

Mission Statement

To create awareness and understanding of blindness related issues in the sighted community and to foster independence, equitable access and an inclusive community for people who are blind, sight-impaired or deafblind.

Constitution & Bylaws

Our Mission Statement, Purpose, & Objectives and our bylaws are clearly defined on our Constitution & Bylaws page.

Organizational Structure

Access for Sight-Impaired Consumers is a consumer-driven advocacy organization whose activities are undertaken by its volunteer Board members. The Board is comprised of up to 18 directors/members including a representative from each of the following community organizations. The organizations also work to support and/or advocate for individuals who are blind, sight impaired, or deaf-blind:

The remaining members of the Board consist of Members at Large who are elected annually at ASIC's Annual General Meeting.

The board executive is elected annually by the board following The Annual General Meeting. The board executive consists of the following 5 officers.

  • President
  • Vice President
  • Secretary
  • Treasurer
  • Nominations Chair

Meeting Schedule

Board meetings are held on a monthly basis.

If you are interested in attending an upcoming meeting, please Contact ASIC.


History

Since 1998, Access for Sight-Impaired Consumers (ASIC) , formerly known as "Advocates for Sight-Impaired Consumers" has been advocating for independent and equitable access for residents of British Columbia who are blind, sight-impaired or deaf-blind. Our origin dates back to a time when CNIB staff, already stretched with requests for rehabilitation, O&M, low vision and counselling services, was receiving further requests for advocacy assistance on a variety of issues. In 1997, the CNIB's Lower Mainland District Board Chairperson along with the Chair of the District's Client Service's Committee developed the notion of calling a town hall meeting to determine consumer interest in forming an advocacy committee within their district structure.
 
In January of 1998, the concept of an advocacy coalition was presented to an audience of interested consumers, the desired outcome being the coordination of advocacy efforts initially in the Metro Vancouver area of BC. This coalition was to be comprised of 5 elected members-at-large along with a member representative for each of 10 regional or provincial organizations, some of which had been engaged in advocacy work in the field of blindness prior to the formation of Access for Sight-Impaired Consumers. These organizations originally included:
  • BC Association of the Deaf Blind
  • BC Blind Sports and Recreation Association
  • Canadian Council of the Blind BC-Yukon Division
  • Canadian National Institute for the Blind - Lower Mainland/South Coast Client Service's Committee
  • Crane Resource Centre
  • Fraser Valley Visually Impaired Person's Society
  • Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians (formerly National Federation of the Blind - Access for Equality) - Lower Mainland Chapter
  • Visually Impaired People's Club of Richmond
  • UBC Visually Impaired Students' Association and
  • Western Association of Persons with Vision Impairment.
 
As a result of this town hall meeting, a steering committee was struck to coordinate an independent, consumer-driven advocacy coalition and within a few short weeks, Access for Sight-Impaired Consumers held its first official board meeting.
 
In the months that followed, the newly formed board adopted its official terms of reference and defined its mission statement, its mandate, goals and objectives. While Access for Sight-Impaired Consumers began its operations with 10 member organizations, it was the clients and members of our member organizations that became the nucleus of our membership count. All told, Access for Sight-Impaired Consumers represented approximately 9800 Lower Mainland residents who were blind, sight-impaired or deaf-blind. Over the years, the structure of our board changed and evolved as member organizations ceased to exist or were unable to appoint representatives to the board. For this reason, we are now comprised of 6 member organizations and a number of elected board members who serve as members-at-large. In November 2004, the Access for Sight-Impaired Consumers board approved a motion to replace CNIB's Lower Mainland/South Coast/Fraser Valley Client Services Committee with CNIB's BC-Yukon Division's Client Services Committee. In doing so, our unofficial or associate membership grew to 18,500 people affected by a vision loss.
 
Almost since day one, Access for Sight-Impaired Consumers has addressed systemic issues that impact people who are blind, sight-impaired or deaf-blind. Our mandate recently expanded to cover residents throughout British Columbia, and we found ourselves on the regional, provincial and national stages with regards to a variety of issues. Over the years, the majority of consumer requests have been provincial in nature. However, we have found ourselves assisting people from many parts of Canada and the U.S.
 
Most of our funding comes from private sources. While we do not have charitable tax status, we extend sincere thanks to those who have donated funds over the years. We extend a special note of thanks to the principals of BASIC (Blind And Sight Impaired Consumers), an organization that provides sensitivity awareness training to Vancouver's public transit operators and has provided us with regular donations to fund the services we offer. Our resources and expertise are provided at no direct cost to the consumer seeking assistance, and we know our efforts will create a systemic improvement for the benefit of all persons affected by a vision loss. 
 
In late 2007, our board reviewed our brand and logo and elected to update the name of our organization from "Advocates for Sight-Impaired Consumers" to "Access for Sight-Impaired Consumers". It was felt that this new brand better reflects our mission and purpose. The new name was officially introduced at our annual general meeting on May 12 2008.



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