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Get certified in accessibility

man in wheelchair

 

Anyone who has ever tried navigating a curb on crutches, a shopping mall with a migraine, or a public bus with a baby stroller knows something about the kinds of accessibility challenges people with disabilities face every day. It’s one of those things most of us don’t really think about — until we have to. And then, when we have to, the resulting frustration, physical limitations, exhaustion and sense of alienation can be overwhelming.

“According to Angus Reid Institute research, almost 50 per cent of adults have or have experienced a permanent or temporary physical disability, or live with someone who has,” said Kevin Ng, Acting Director, Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification™. “Canadians struggle every day to access the places where we live, work, learn and play because of physical barriers to accessibility.”

It doesn’t have to be that way.

Universal Design principles for accessibility were first introduced back in the 1970s and have evolved alongside society’s understanding of the scale and scope of disabilities, related challenges and what it means to design for inclusivity. In the early days, accessibility solutions took a strictly utilitarian approach. Mobility aids and accessibility supplements were artificially inserted into spaces, not designed for them. The well-intended focus on making built environments purely accessible overlooked the unwitting consequence of segregation and shame.

The Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification™ (RHFAC) training program aims to make the built world a better place for people with disabilities by teaching participants to identify and eliminate or innovate to minimize social and physical barriers by design.

RHFAC training advances the big-picture as a standard. “Using a holistic and consistent approach to measuring accessibility in the built environment, RHFAC provides a common language and methodology and offers a framework for design professionals to innovate beyond regulation to meet the access needs of people with disabilities.”

There’s a lot of knowledge packed into this certification program, including the impact of social and physical environments on people with disabilities, the relevant legislation, regulations and standards associated with planning and executing an RHFAC rating, and of course, the principles and standards of Universal Design.

The prerequisites for program participation reflect equally high standards. This training program is intended for professionals in the areas of architecture technology, engineering, urban planning, those with a Journeyman Certificate of Qualification in a designated construction trade, or with a minimum five years’ related experience. That explains why SAIT is providing a partner portal into the RHFAC-delivered program. It’s a natural fit with a shared interest in growing job capacity while supporting industry.

Those who complete the certification program and pass the subsequent RHFAC Professional exam will be qualified to conduct RHFAC ratings of existing buildings or new construction drawings, and provide recommendations for improvement to building owners and operators.

It’s a valuable certification to have in the industry.

“Design professionals will have the necessary tool — the RHFAC program — and bring an accessibility lens to new and existing built environment projects, contributing to an accessible and sustainable world for everyone everywhere,” said Ng.

Learn how to empower people with your design skills and register today, classes start in March.

 

Author: Julie Sengl


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