Partnership brings accessibility training to architectural community
Rick Hansen Foundation and PowerED™ by Athabasca University collaborate to bring the RHFAC professional designation to the architectural community
The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) has announced a new collaboration with the Rick Hansen Foundation (RHF) and PowerED™ by Athabasca University to expand capacity of accessibility certification training for the architectural community.
The collaboration, announced May 23 during Global Accessibility Awareness Day, brings the Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification™ (RHFAC) Training to the RAIC community. The online course provides participants with the fundamental skills and knowledge required to rate a site using the RHFAC.
“It is our responsibility to build and design with accessibility and inclusivity as an underpinning value and principle. This program is one small step that we can all take together in creating a more inclusive world moving forward,” said John Brown, president of the RAIC.
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Serving a need for accessible communities
In Canada, almost 50% of adults have or have experienced a permanent or temporary physical disability or live with someone who has. No matter the cause, each of us will experience disability at some point in our lives and will need our communities to be accessible so that we can continue to participate and live full lives.
RHFAC Training courses are offered three times per year, delivered online in partnership with PowerED™. The course is 10 weeks in length and requires 6 to 8 hours of study per week.
Doramy Ehling, CEO of the Rick Hansen Foundation, said the course changes how participants experience the built environment and can help them identify barriers they didn’t notice before.
“It’s a bridge that communicates the realities of lived experience to industry professionals. We’re grateful to partner with RAIC and Athabasca University to bring this course to professionals in the architectural community who will help lead this critical change in design culture,” Ehling said.
Dr. Peter Scott, AU president, said the university is proud to collaborate in delivering valuable professional designation to members of the RAIC.
“Athabasca University and PowerED™ are proud to be part of this expanded effort to build and design accessible, inclusive spaces everywhere and support the work of the Rick Hansen Foundation.”
Rating system helps building owners and tenants
RHFAC is a rating system that helps both building owners and tenants measure the meaningful accessibility of their sites and promotes increased access through the adoption of universal design principles. Qualifying for an RHFAC professional designation equips learners with the knowledge and practical skills needed to rate a building for its overall accessibility under the RHFAC program.
The digital course includes a unique variety of enriched content including interactive virtual fieldwork, a mix of videos, activities, readings, assessment tools, and peer discussions—all offered in a coached digital environment.
The online course facilitator will host multiple virtual classroom sessions to discuss rating exercises and for learners to present site ratings. Upon successful completion of the Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification™ Training, students are eligible to write the online exam, administered by CSA Group, to become a designated RHFAC Professional. Once individuals obtain their RHFAC Professional designation, they are eligible to be publicly listed on the RHFAC Professional Directory.
Fiona Jones, a social impact and strategy coordinator with HCMA Architecture + Design, said the course helped advance her specialization in inclusivity and social impact related to the built environment by expanding her knowledge of accessibility and universal design.
“It has helped me see our surroundings in a new, crucial light,” Jones said.
Take the course this fall
The next course runs from Sept. 12 to Nov. 21, 2022. RAIC members save $200 and can access the full course for $2,300 + applicable taxes. The course is also available to others for $2,500 + applicable taxes. Visit the RAIC website for more information and to register for RHFAC Training.