In 1969 a group of concerned parents met to discuss the educational needs of their Deaf children. These families laid the groundwork for the Vancouver Island Society for Hearing Handicapped Children, a pre-school class at G. R. Pearkes Clinic and an elementary class at Marigold School. In 1971, in order to encompass all ages of the Island’s population with a hearing loss, the society became the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Institute of Vancouver Island. By that time, the Victoria School Board supported three classes for Deaf students and one for the hard of hearing. Programs, needs and numbers continued to grow and the Institute’s voice became stronger and clearer.
In 1978, a counsellor from the Western Institute for the Deaf (WID) – Vancouver office was hired and the Victoria Regional Office was established. The Institute and WID combined to become a United Way member in 1980. In order to streamline the community services, the two societies amalgamated in January 1982, to become the Western Institute for the Deaf – Vancouver Island Branch (WID-VIB). In July 1983, the WID-VIB became an incorporated society. In the fall of 1990, a Nanaimo office was opened, staffed by volunteers, with the first paid staff member hired in June 1991. The organization continued to operate as a branch of WID until August 30, 1991. Following lengthy negotiations and with the approval of the Island membership, Island Deaf and Hard of Hearing Centre Association (IDHHC) was formed and took over the operations of WID-VIB on September 1, 1991. The new society was registered as an incorporated society and as a charitable organization.
The Island Deaf and Hard of Hearing Centre, the only non-profit agency of its kind on Vancouver Island, provides leadership, innovative solutions and services through engaging and educating communities, strengthening families, and fighting isolation.
Strong inclusive communities built on equal access and empowered individuals.