RHF launches Online Course with Athabasca University to Improve Building Accessibility in Canada

The Rick Hansen Foundation (RHF) is partnering with Athabasca University (AU) to launch an online RHFAC Accessibility Assessor training course that uses technology to improve the accessibility of buildings across the country.

“At Athabasca University we are committed to leading the way in digital accessibility and inclusivity,” said Dr. Neil Fassina, AU President. “By working with partners, like the Rick Hansen Foundation, we share a greater purpose to elevate the social good and remove barriers in our communities for a diverse array of learners. By presenting digital and distributed educational options in collaboration with the Rick Hansen Foundation, we’re helping to transform communities and empowering individuals to realize their true potential.”

This new online course uses the Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification (RHFAC) to provide participants with the required skills to rate a building using the RHFAC rating system. The RHFAC rating system helps owners and tenants measure the level of meaningful accessibility of their sites.

RHFAC’s Accessibility Assessor training course incorporates virtual reality into its curriculum, which is offered in a coached digital environment. These virtual reality exercises include:

  • A ‘Virtual Reality (VR) Accessibility Simulation,’ that is available on mobile phones and Virtual Reality headsets. The simulation uses 360-degree footage so participants can experience how a person with a disability navigates buildings.
  • ‘Virtual Field Work Interactive’ where the showcased buildings are accurately scaled to the millimetre and captured using a 3D laser scanning tool to create a virtual floor plan. Participants can rate real-world environments to evaluate the meaningful access of commercial, institutional, and multi-unit residential buildings.

Athabasca University is a leader in digital learning and I’m thrilled we are partnering to deliver an online version of RHFAC Accessibility Assessor training. Athabasca’s focus on accessibility and innovative technology advancements will ensure people have access to high quality learning and are equipped with the standardized, professional skills to rate buildings on their level of meaningful access for people of all abilities. Thank you for helping make this important training accessible for all,” said Rick Hansen, Founder of the Rick Hansen Foundation

RHFAC Accessibility Assessor training is currently offered at Vancouver Community College, the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, George Brown College, Nova Scotia Community College and Carleton University.

The course will be available this fall to individuals meeting pre-requisites including experience working in the built environment, particularly architects, engineers, urban planners, and design-builders.

“We are excited to partner with the Rick Hansen Foundation to develop and deliver an enriched digital offering of the RHFAC Accessibility Assessor training course. Through our partnership, we will provide RHFAC with the digital infrastructure to expand their reach to offer the training across Canada and globally, to help identify physical barriers in public places and spaces, and improve accessibility in our communities,” Jessica Scott, Director, Professional and Corporate Relations, Athabasca University.

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