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.
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.’
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 the aging Baby Boomer population.
To date, more than 800 buildings across B.C. 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.”