Rick Hansen Foundation launches Buildings Without Barriers Challenge at BOMEX 2023

The Rick Hansen Foundation has launched the Buildings Without Barriers Challenge at BOMEX 2023.

Photo credit: The Rick Hansen Foundation

The Rick Hansen Foundation (RHF) recently announced the launch of the Buildings Without Barriers Challenge at BOMEX 2023 in Edmonton, Alberta.

This new challenge follows the success of the 2020/2021 Buildings Without Barriers Challenge and now includes four award categories in 2024.

Almost 50 per cent of adults in Canada have experienced a permanent or temporary physical disability or live with someone who has. The Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification (RHFAC) is a national system that certifies and measures the level of meaningful access of buildings and sites.

“Organizations who make a pledge through the Buildings Without Barriers Challenge are demonstrating their leadership and making a commitment to ensure accessibility is part of every conversation around the built environment,” said Brad McCannell, VP Access and Inclusion, Rick Hansen Foundation.

“We’re challenging property owners and managers to accelerate their accessibility journey and support their tenants by making spaces such as our stores, malls, offices and condominiums more inclusive for employees, customers and visitors of all ages and abilities.”

For a total of three days, decision-makers and influencers unite to study the issues affecting building owners, their managers, and their service groups while simultaneously celebrating the industry’s success through the National Award program.

“The Challenge recognizes an organization’s Commitment, Innovation, Accessibility Progress and Accessibility Future. These four aspects look at the holistic and overall approach to accessibility. When organizations are looking at accessibility during all stages of building whether it’s a brand-new build or a renovation, we know that attitudinal changes are happening,” said McCannell.

The four categories for the 2023/2024 RHF Buildings Without Barriers Challenge are the Commitment Award for an organization with the most buildings or pre-construction plans RHFAC rated, the Innovation Award for a building with the highest number of innovation points on their RHFAC rating, the Accessibility Progress Award for a previously rated building who achieves the highest overall improvement in their RHFAC rating and and the Accessible Future Award for the organization with the highest RHFAC rating for a new development in the design or pre-construction phase.

Pledges for the Building Without Barriers Challenge will be accepted from now until November 15, 2023. Organizations must commit to having at least three sites RHFAC rated between January and June 2024. All participants will be recognized and awards given out at BOMEX in September 2024, which is set to take place in Vancouver, B.C.

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