On May 23, 2019, the Ontario government announced it is investing $1.3 million over two years through a new partnership with the Rick Hansen Foundation to create the Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification program (RHFAC).
The certification program will provide accessibility ratings of businesses and public buildings (meaningful access of commercial, institutional, and multi-unit residential buildings and sites) by trained professionals, and will help property managers and owners determine ways to remove identified barriers. Organizations that are rated through the program get a confidential scorecard rating and report of key areas of success and improvement for their facility.
A rating will typically take two to 10 hours depending on the size of the building or site.
The rated organizations will be provided with one of two certifications the RHF Accessibility Certified (rating score of 60 percent to 79 percent) or the RHF Accessibility Certified Gold (rating score of 80 percent or more.) An organization with a rating score below 60 percent does not meet RHFAC requirements for certification.
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. Moreover, organization owners will have the option to be listed on the online RHFAC Registry, hosted by CSA Group, which digitally showcases an organization’s commitment to accessibility for all.
Organization can be proactive and showcase their accessibility by letting the RHFAC know that they want to get rated and certified by signing up directly on the RHFAC website.
The RHFAC also offers an Accessibility Assessor Training Course at George Brown College and Carleton University in Ontario.
The foundation program will start rating of 250 facilities in the fall of 2019 and roll out over the next two years in select communities across Ontario.
Note that the program has also been successfully implemented by the provincial governments of British Columbia and Nova Scotia.
For compliance information and sample policies on the Ontario Built environment for public spaces and the Building Code, try Accessibility Standards PolicyPro here. The above information will be made available in the product shortly.