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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.

  • Innovations.

  • Universal Design 

  • 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. 
A femal and a male with an australian hat, are walking away along a board walk. In the background is a large lake and sandy shoreline. In the foreground is the wooden cane, watch and hand of a senior who is seated on the boardwalk.
Vehicular Access e.g. public transportation,disabled parking. Is the surface area level and safe? No- Slanted and slippery.
photograph of a green bus stop sign on the right, the bus stop is immediately adjacent, approximately 1 foot, to the road's shoulder and a green grassy embankment. Riders have to stand on the road's shoulder, there is no platform or sidewalk. Sunny with light clouds. Building in the background up the grassy embankment.
A snow covered bank handicapped parking spot, the concrete painted disabled parking sign is obstructed by snow. On the right side of the parking spot is snow covered a sidewalk ramped from parking area to the bank's front sidewalk.  The ramp has no handrails or raised edges and is completely covered in snow, snow is seen falling from sky. There is no handicapped parking sign at the sidewalk edge of the spot.
I​nterior circulation and services and Environment , e.g. path of travel, stairs, corridors, lighting. Eyes need time to accommodate; lighting is crucial to safety.
Lobby with low lighting, 4 glare spots from overhead pot lighting and outside doors across the lobby.
Photograph looking down a building hallway, on left close up is recycle bin and waist height silver round garbage bin against the wall. Just past the recycle bin, there is a glassed floor to ceiling display case. The glass does not have markings to indicate the presence of glass. The glass case has reflections by no hazard or caution signs, which is a hazard. Down the hallway is person walking away, their impression is on the glass. The lighting is low.

Sanitary Facilities ~ e.g. public and workplace washrooms. Is a grab bar available and in ease of reach? Answer - Not in these examples.

Photograph of a washroom for staff in a bank. Regular toilet with open lid. No grab bars. Two toilet roll dispensers to the left of toilet at the front of the toilet on the wall( when facing toilet). On the wall behind the toilet there is a two handed paper towel dispenser, approximately 2 feet from top of toilet. On the dispenser sits a can of air freshner, that could fall beside toilet. Wall sink with mirror from top of sink to approximately 7 feet.
Photograph of wheelchair accessible washroom , raised toilet with tank in far corner, large forest green tile on both floor and wall. Tile has 2 types of bright white hexagon patterns with line patterns in the hexagon. A drop down style grab bar is fully upright, pointing to the ceiling, long the back wall and on the far side of the toilet. To reach this grab bar, have to reach high and across the toilet, to pull it down into place.  A horizontal long grab bar is on the wall behind the toilet extending from the far wall to the area past the the left side toilet ( when facing the toilet).  A small black waste bin is beside toilet in the open area of the bathroom. One roll of toilet paper encased in silver dispenser is on the wall slightly ahead of the toilet. Painting on the wall.

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.

Photograph of a person's black pant leg and black shoe; from under shoe you see the bottom portion of two silver crutches with rubber tips. The person is not visible but is facing a small wooden desk, with a sign made of letter size pattern hanging from the top of the desk. The sign states in red letters at top of page , Hearing impaired interpretation. Mid page is black writing that is covered by large grey symbols, one is a handset, one is a person with two smaller people beside them, the third is not legible. A blue recycle bin with clear plastic bag inside sits in front of desk.
Tall city sign containing a map of the area, on top of sign there are 2 images, a cyclist and a person walking. There are no symbols indicating a diverse population that would use the walkway. To the left of the sign is the bikepath and to the right a sidewalk.
Emergency Systems, e.g. alarm systems, evacuation instructions -  Are windows obstructed? Walkways at risk for ice? 
Photograph of the front of a small house, with a tree fully in front of the front window, oblitering the window. A small sloped driveway is in front of the house from extending from the road to the tree base.

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?

Photo of a playground, with a sand base, that is surrounded by patchy green grass. The playground has 3 small red teeter totters and one raised blue colored platform with two yellow slides and 1 blue ladder, extending from the platform to the ground. One slide is straight, the second slide spirals down to approximately 1 foot from the sand. On the left side in the background there is a swing set and a public washroom. The sky is cloudy, the park has large trees. There are no children or adults in the photo.
TRAILS and PATHWAYS - Barrier- free? Tripping hazards? Is there a one step game changer? 
Photograph of an outdoor wedding venue, with an interlocking brick pathway that leads to a small wooden 1 step platform stage. A covered stage is adorned with white curtains. Two rows of chairs sit on both sides of the pathway on grass facing the stage. These chairs are covered in white fabric chair covers that drape to the ground. Flower arrangements are to the left of the platform stage facing the chairs. Shade from tall trees dapples the ground.
A trail with rocks edging the path, one small stump is right side on the path  and not clearly marked. A park bench is in the direct line of the stump.
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.
way̓ lim̓lm̓t

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