Innovative Practice 2020 on Inclusive Education and ICT

Rating-based training of accessibility assessors

In 2017, The Rick Hansen Foundation, an NGO based in Richmond, Canada, launched a programme called the Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification (RHFAC), which uses a comprehensive rating system to measure meaningful accessibility in the built environment. The foundation also started a training course for professionals in the built environment to promote the RHFAC and Universal Design principles in general. Since its launch, the programme has trained over 200 professionals, including architects, urban planners, designers and contractors.

“RHFAC is a meaningful pursuit. You’re helping others. Not just those who are going to be directly benefitting, but all businesses that strive to be accessible.”

Daniel WestleyRHFAC Professional and Accessibility Champion
About the practice at a glance
Name of Innovative Practice:Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification
Organisation:Rick Hansen Foundation
Country
of Implementation
Canada
Start Year2017

FACTS & FIGURES

  • Since 2017, 70 participants of the training programme have received the RHFAC professional designation.
  • Trained professionals across Canada have completed over 1,350 ratings of buildings and sites since the launch of the course.

PROBLEMS TARGETED

Designers, architects, and other professionals in Canada working on the built environment often do not take accessibility into account.

SOLUTION, INNOVATION, AND IMPACT

Through the RHFAC Training, participants learn to deliver evaluations that determine the accessibility of buildings and sites for people with disabilities. The training is based on the RHFAC rating survey, which is the only tool in Canada to certify accessibility of built environments.

The training curriculum includes topics such as disability awareness, legal compliance, and construction plans and documents. It also trains participants to prepare reports that identify key areas of improvement or success with respect to a site’s accessibility.

The Rick Hansen Foundation itself employs several people with disabilities, including the chief architects of the RHFAC rating survey. Two government bodies in Canada have made the RHFAC ratings a mandatory practice, with more institutions adopting the scale in their policies.

The programme is available in five institutions spread across Canada. Between 2017 and 2019, over 200 professionals have taken the course. Professionals who pass the training and a subsequent exam are awarded an RHFAC Professional designation, which allows them to conduct RHFAC ratings. By end of 2019, 70 people had received the RHFAC professional designation.

One old men and a men in a wheel chair measure the floor outside a building, in order to improve its accessibilty and becoming trained RHFAC Professionals.

Participants learn to evaluate the accessibility of Buildings.

FUNDING, OUTLOOK AND TRANSFERABILITY

The foundation administers the training in private post-secondary institutions through revenue-sharing agreements. The course fee ranges from $1,000-$1,200, depending on the institution hosting the course. Tuition subsidies are available for participants with disabilities.

The course is easily replicable as it has a standardized curriculum and structure. The foundation will release an online version in January 2020, in partnership with Athabasca University, which will include virtual reality as part of the training to evaluate accessibility in the built environment.

 

FACTSHEET

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LINKS AND FURTHER READING