People with disabilities and seniors deserve to remain engaged in their communities and represent a huge potential employee and customer base. Many buildings in Ontario continue to be a challenge for people with disabilities and seniors. When buildings are not accessible, people are shut out from fully participating in everyday life, businesses fail to reach their full potential, and communities are not as welcoming as they should be.
Ontario is focusing on people with disabilities and seniors by helping to remove barriers in buildings and making communities more accessible.
The Government of Ontario is investing $1.3 million over two years through a new partnership with the Rick Hansen Foundation. Minister for Seniors and Accessibility, and Rick Hansen, Founder of the Rick Hansen Foundation, were at the MaRS Discovery District today to announce that the Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification program will be launched in Ontario.
The certification program will provide accessibility ratings of businesses and public buildings by trained professionals, and will help property managers and owners determine ways to remove identified barriers.
Through this investment, the Rick Hansen Foundation will undertake ratings of 250 facilities. The program is expected to start this fall and roll out over the next two years in select communities across Ontario.
- Organizations that are rated through the program get a confidential scorecard rating and report of key areas of success and improvement for their facility.
- The program has two certification levels: RHF Accessibility Certified and RHF Accessibility Certified Gold.
- Certification can be made public through building labeling. Buildings can also be identified as an accessible facility on the RHFAC Registry hosted by CSA Group.
- Currently, the RHFAC Accessibility Assessor Training Course is offered at George Brown College and Carleton University in Ontario. The program has been successfully implemented by the provincial governments of British Columbia and Nova Scotia.