What is the purpose of a Self-Advocacy Group?

The purpose of The Nelson Self-Advocacy Group is to encourage people with disabilities to take more control over their own lives, make their own decisions, solve their own problems, and speak for themselves. We build awareness and education of the strengths, rights, wants, and needs of people with disabilities.

The direction of the group will be member-driven and therefore the group could take on several forms.

The group may decide to become more activist with letter writing and protest activities; or the group could simply remain a supportive environment to share and build new friendships.

Educating ourselves on topics related to self-advocacy will always be included and special guest speakers may also be invited to further inform our members.

What is the role of the advisor?

My name is Matthew and I am the advisor to the group. My job is to attend all meetings and make sure that the group is following all rules and agreements.

I also organize the meeting’s structure while making sure everyone feels welcome and has a chance to speak.

I will also be providing educational material and presentations on topics related to self-advocacy.

I will do my best to ensure that all group decisions are followed through; however, I am not “the boss” because the members make all the important decisions by a vote.

Meeting Procedure: What to expect.


  1. Meetings will begin with a welcome and recitation of the rules.
  2. Then a small check-in will occur where people have a chance to speak briefly. People can always pass if they do not want to speak.
  3. The business of the meeting will start with a breakdown of the agenda decided upon the previous meeting, this is called old business.
  4. This will be written in large letters at the front with pictures beside them.
  5. Then people will have an opportunity to add new business to the meeting schedule.
  6. After old and new business is discussed, the group will set an agenda for the next meeting.
  7. The meeting will conclude with unstructured social time.


To Contact The Nelson Self-Advocacy Group

Advisor: Matthew Wilson-Birks
Nelson CARES Society Map to 521 Vernon Street Nelson, BC, V1L 4E9


Ph. 250-352-6011 ex. 18 Fax 250-352-9855 


Check out Nelson Self Advocacy Group 

Social Media Page

The Nelson Self Advocacy Group Click on  Petitions 

The Nelson Self Advocacy Group Dates  be Here


Matthew Wilson-Birks
The Nelson Self-Advocacy Group
General Office Hours: Tuesday-Friday, 8:00 -4:00 pm
Ph. 250-352-6011 ex. 5271
Fax 250-352-9855

Map to
567 Ward St, Nelson, British Columbia V1L


The Nelson Self-Advocacy Group’s Statement on the Framework for Accessibility Legislation in BC

We are a group of adults who meet together once a month in the city of Nelson to discuss issues of Self-Advocacy. We are hosted by the Nelson CARES Society and meeting in the boarding room of the Community Health Coop Building at 518 Lake Street. During our October meeting, we discussed the importance of knowing your rights and responsibilities. As we are learning about this new legislation, which outlines our rights as individuals with disabilities, we also know it is our responsibility to give feedback because it has been requested by the government and the people making this law. Here is a point-form outline of the thoughts and feelings individuals in our group have expressed. Matthew, the advisor to the group and an employee of Nelson CARES Society, has compiled this document based on group comments. Each member of the group was also invited to take the survey individually and have been recommended to ask for help from an ally should they require it.

  • It should be noted, first and foremost, that the framework document was not written in simple and easy to comprehend language. It was a challenge to have to interpret the sections and make them accessible to various levels of comprehension. Perhaps multiple versions could be written to make the framework itself more accessible.
  • Most members of the group feel that benefits, meaning Person with Disability benefits, are too low for the standard of living in our community, particularly when compared to other provinces like Alberta. It was said by a member of the group that it feels like people with disabilities are simply meant to be poor because of their disabilities.
  • Transportation is also a major concern, perhaps the most unifying issue the group collectively holds. People need bussing to get around and feel included and participate in their community. In Nelson, the bussing is very limited and non-existing on Sundays. Major improvements need to occur—if bussing was continuously available, people would eventually learn that they can catch it anytime and gradually this could increase general use, but people with disabilities often have zero options and count on bussing for home and employment.
  • The Group was generally satisfied with the tone, principals, and values of the framework and had nothing to add.
  • The scope of the framework was appreciated, and every domain was said to be equally important, but transportation stood out as the most unifying concern that affects everyone’s daily life in our particular group.
  • Specific aspects of transportation concerns also include snow clearing by the government for walking trails, building entrances, and bus routes. This may mean more severe enforcement of bylaws in residential neighbourhoods as well.
  • Some members said it would be helpful for specific products related to safety (ice-grippers/reflective gear, etc..), medicine/pharmaceuticals, fitness (recreation centre passes), education (tuition/supplies), and mobility supplies (wheelchairs etc..), could be made cheaper for people with disability status. Even subsidies on food prices would be helpful to individuals who struggle most financially.
  • The group feels that the legislation should be reviewed every 5 years.
  • The group felt it was the best approach of the legislation to ensure compliance with a mix of incentives and enforcement with strong emphasis on incentive so people would not resent the law too much. It’s better to reward than scold.
  • The aspect of culture change was thought of as being very important to the group. People need to be made aware of why this law is important and what it will do. It is up to the government to properly educate the public through multiple means. The group suggested banners, newspapers, commercials, workshops, and social media.

Thank you for taking the time to read this statement.

For More information on the Nelson Self-Advocacy Group:

Matthew Wilson-Birks


Ph. 250-352-6011 ex. 5271

Fax 250-352-9855


Events of Nelson Self Advocacy Group




For more information:
Zhenia Salikin
Program Manager
Nelson CARES Society
250.352.6011 ext. 15

Julie Robinson
Dance Coordinator
Nelson CARES Society



The Nelson Self Advocacy Group Newsletter be here

S.A. Newletter Vol. 4 September 2017

S.A. Newletter Vol. 23 June 2019 (2)

S.A. Newletter Vol. 24 July 2019


The Nelson Self Advocacy Group Meetings and Agenda and Minutes Here


Hello Self-Advocates, Due to the Xmas holidays, December’s meeting is going to be CANCELLED.

Stay tuned for January’s meeting and happy holidays

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