SAP Labs Canada awarded first ‘Certified Gold’ business from Rick Hansen Foundation

The Rick Hansen Foundation is delighted to announce that SAP Labs Canada is the first business in Canada to receive the ‘Accessibility Certified Gold’ rating under the Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification (RHFAC) program for their Vancouver office building.

SAP Labs Canada, Rick Hansen Foundation, accessibility
SAP Labs Canada in Vancouver. Photo via Google Maps

Currently, there is no unified standard for measuring accessibility in the places and spaces where people live, work, learn and play in Canada. Yet one in seven Canadian adults identify as having a disability, and this is expected to grow to as high as one in five by 2036 due in part to our aging Baby Boomer population.

The RHFAC is a LEED-style rating system – the first of its kind in Canada – to bring a national standardized measurement to help owners and tenants consistently evaluate the physical accessibility of their buildings. The rating system determines the accessibility of commercial, institutional, and multi-unit residential buildings. Buildings that reach specific levels are recognized as being ‘Accessibility Certified’ or ‘Accessibility Certified Gold.’

To date, over 800 buildings across BC are registered to be rated and SAP Labs Canada is one of the businesses that integrates accessibility into every aspect of the site’s design. In doing this, SAP has removed barriers and improved accessibility for its 1,400 Vancouver employees.

Among the many features that helped the SAP site on Mainland St, Vancouver, earn its gold rating are the following; the use of highly visible wayfinding signage and visual markers, to help people navigate and identify their location within the building; interior corridors that allow two people with mobility disabilities to travel side by side; adjustable furniture and spaces that accommodate people of varying abilities; an accessible fitness area and showers; a refuge area for emergency situations; a wheelchair lift; and elevators with braille.

Speaking at an event to celebrate SAP’s achievement, Rick Hansen, Founder and CEO of the Rick Hansen Foundation said: “I want to congratulate SAP Labs Canada for this incredible achievement, and I hope it inspires others to incorporate best practices and a holistic view of Universal Design within their buildings. The accessibility movement is building momentum. With an aging population, a growing number of people with disabilities and federal accessibility legislation on the way, businesses need to accommodate people of varying abilities. Improving accessibility and supporting people with disabilities is not only a charitable and a human rights issue, but an economic imperative.”

Kirsten Sutton, Vice President and Managing Director, SAP Labs Canada, said: “At SAP, we strive to create a work environment where employees can perform at their best and where guests feel they are welcome. The Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification rating was a good reminder that accessibility includes a great deal more than meets the eye. While we have much to celebrate, we’re especially grateful for the insight into opportunities to improve. At SAP Vancouver, we are thrilled to be the first certified gold business and encourage other organizations to participate in the certification process so we can help to build a city, province and country that is accessible for all.”

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