Taking Action to Remove Barriers for People with Disabilities
Ontario making buildings more accessible
TORONTO — 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 what matters most to 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. Raymond Cho, 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.
"Removing barriers in buildings will help make communities and businesses more accessible and open for jobs," said Raymond Cho, Minister for Seniors and Accessibility.
"We are working to ensure people with disabilities have the support and resources they need to participate more fully in their communities, as consumers and employees. Being accessible benefits businesses and communities and opens them up to qualified talent and more customers."
"I am very pleased and honoured to be collaborating with the Ontario government. The $1.3 million will go a long way in providing meaningful access to buildings and communities, and will help make Ontario more inclusive where people with disabilities are living to their full potential," said Rick Hansen, Founder of the Rick Hansen Foundation.
- 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.