One in five Canadians identify as a person with a disability, a figure that will likely keep rising as the population ages. For communities and cities to be true homes for all, governments, businesses and housing authorities must anticipate the need for accessibility in every area of life.
Every day, Canadians across the country struggle to access spaces like schools, libraries, community centers, hotels and even parts of their own homes. Through our collaboration with the Rick Hansen Foundation, Horizon North is helping our customers provide spaces that give every member of a community, regardless of disability, a sense of belonging and empowerment.
The Rick Hansen Foundation
Founded by Rick Hansen, a former wheelchair athlete and Paralympian, the Foundation envisions an inclusive world where people with disabilities are living to their full potential. Hansen is best known as the “Man In Motion” for his epic 26-month, 34-country, 40,000 km wheelchair trip around the world to prove the potential of people with disabilities and raise funds for spinal cord injury research. The mission of the Foundation is to create and deliver innovative solutions that lead to a global movement to remove barriers and liberate the potential of people with disabilities.
As a leader in the modular construction industry, Horizon North seeks to provide our customers with uncompromised quality and innovation. Building with accessibility in mind is essential to that. Through this relationship, Horizon North can, at the request of the customer, provide features in our buildings that meet Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification (RHFAC) or RHF Certified Gold to ensure top of the line accessibility. To be awarded one of the two levels of RHF Accessibility Certification, trained professionals use a rating system to evaluate the meaningful access of commercial, institutional, and multi-unit residential buildings and sites from the point of view of people living with a mobility, hearing or vision disability.
Equitable and safe access for people with disabilities is an important consideration in the design process. Accessible design applies universal design principles that improve the safety, convenience and service levels for all residents or users of a building. While Horizon North buildings to date have made accessibility a top priority, incorporating the more formal structure of RHFAC is an opportunity for growth and improvement, and it demonstrates the depth of our commitment to providing customers with the highest quality homes and buildings.
Horizon North is now able to provide design guidance to achieve Accessibility Certification for all our structures, including affordable housing, senior homes, schools, and supportive housing. Once final design plans are confirmed, a designated RHFAC Professional rates the site based on its level of accessibility and provides Certification. Then, once the building is complete, it is re-rated to keep its certification, the final process in a verifiable accessible site.
Making public and private spaces universally accessible allows every member of our community to feel a sense of belonging and empowerment. With the growing conversation and interest in modular buildings, as well as the growing need for accessibility in homes and public spaces, this collaboration with the Rick Hansen Foundation aims to support every Canadian who deserves a safe and accessible place to call home.