Accessible Community ~ Designated Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Assessor Professional TM
Donna is a "Designated Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification™ (RHFAC) Professional".
Back in 1987, while working as an OT on a Spinal Cord Unit in Winnipeg, Donna along her colleagues accompanied the patients when they met Rick Hansen, while he was on his Man in Motion Tour.
The next day while riding the bus to work, Donna witnessed the Man in Motion heading west on his journey home, facing the chilly October morning wind. It was one of those life changing moments, when she imagined the magnitude of barriers he faced on his journey.
In 2018 Donna experienced another life changing moment when participating in the The Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification (RHFAC) Program which was developed in collaboration with the Canadian Standards Association (CSA). The course was intense. I studied with a variety of passionate like minded people and I learned about the magnitude of barriers persons with disabilities continue to face in the built environment, in the workplace, and in communication.
RHFAC is a National Rating System to measure “meaningful accessibility”, it is not an accessibility checklist.
In BC there are an estimated 926,100 British Columbians (24.7% of the population) that report having a disability; some temporary, some permanent and some episodic.
Donna has participated in a RHFAC Rating Assessments of Rotary Centre of the Arts, a local school, bank, and business office.
An example of how this education can benefit our community is:
The RHFAC program focuses on:
Identifying barriers in the built environment, in communications, and customer service.
Participation in simulation of disabilities (When I was using glasses that mimicked significant vision loss I clutched onto the handrails when walking downstairs and literally became petrified when walking with my white cane across a street).
Human Rights and Accessibility Legislation
How to remove visible and invisible disabilities.
Design that ensures personal dignity for all.
National (NBC) and British Columbia Building Codes (BCBC)
CSA Group B651-12 ~ "Accessible design for the built environment".
Interested in testing your skills in identifying barriers?
Photos of local examples of barriers and/or potentially unsafe environments are below.
The communities of the Okanagan Valley are working towards a barrier free community; if you identify barriers in your community, help out and let your local government know.
If you have questions about these photos or concerns about what you see in your community please email me or call - 250-300-4948.
Vehicular Access e.g. public transportation,disabled parking. Is the surface area level and safe? No- Slanted and slippery.
Interior circulation and services and Environment , e.g. path of travel, stairs, corridors, lighting. Eyes need time to accommodate; lighting is crucial to safety.
Sanitary Facilities ~ e.g. public and workplace washrooms. Is a grab bar available and in ease of reach? Answer - Not in these examples.
Signage and Wayfinding , e.g. emergency signs, directories, information kiosks. Are the signs easy to see and read by everyone? Are signs inclusive i.e., are persons with disabilities represented? Answer - No in these examples.
Emergency Systems, e.g. alarm systems, evacuation instructions - Are windows obstructed? Walkways at risk for ice?
Playgrounds and Parks - Are they accessible for all children, parents and grandparents or guardians? If using a walker or wheelchair would someone equally be able to use this fun neighborhood playground space, which is essential for learning and development?
TRAILS and PATHWAYS - Barrier- free? Tripping hazards? Is there a one step game changer?
Thank you for taking the time to review these local sites where barriers do exist. Speak up when you can. We all benefit from advocates in the crowd.
Design 4 Accessibility would like to acknowledge that it operates on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Syilx Okanagan Peoples.
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