About the Rick Hansen Foundation

Rick Hansen with children at an event

Creating A World Without Barriers

In March 1985, Rick Hansen set out on the Man In Motion World Tour which set the stage for his life’s work – a journey that opened the eyes of the world to the potential of people with disabilities. The Rick Hansen Foundation was established in 1988 and has since been dedicated to Rick’s life-long goal of creating an inclusive world where people with disabilities are living to their full potential.

For three decades, Rick and the Foundation has facilitated collaboration, forged partnerships and generated social innovations. This leadership has raised awareness, changed attitudes, and removed barriers for people with disabilities, as well as fund spinal cord injury research (SCI) and care. While we have made great strides towards creating an accessible and inclusive world, our work is not yet done.

What We Do

We develop programs and initiatives that raise awareness, change attitudes and remove barriers for people with disabilities in the built environment.

Our Vision

An inclusive world where people with disabilities are living to their full potential.

Our Mission

To inspire leaders, influencers, and the public to join Rick Hansen in creating a global movement to remove barriers in the built environment and thereby liberate the potential of people living with disabilities.

Our Programs and Initiatives

Awareness Programs

Our awareness programs and initiatives are designed to educate the public about the importance of accessibility and the issues facing people with disabilities.

  • Rick Hansen Foundation School Program provides elementary and secondary educators with free bilingual multimedia resources to educate youth about the importance of inclusion and engage them in addressing accessibility barriers. The program is developing a culture of inclusion for future generations.
  • Rick Hansen Foundation Ambassador Program enlists people with disabilities to tell their stories of overcoming challenges. They raise awareness about the importance and prevalence of barriers.
  • Rick Hansen Foundation Accessible Cities Award recognizes and celebrates Canadian municipalities - and the members of the building community they work with - for creating accessible places and spaces. The Award helps to measure progress, facilitate sharing, and inspire municipalities to create barrier-free environments.
  • Global Access and Inclusion Hub is an online global platform for information sharing and dialogue; connecting professionals, global thought leaders and others working to find solutions for people with disabilities.

Accessibility Certification, Services and Grants

RHF has developed the following initiatives to directly improve accessibility in the built environment. The main components are:

  • Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification Program helps people planning, designing, and constructing the built environment understand and measure the accessibility of their venues. We offer the only program in Canada that trains Assessors to a recognized professional level, and uses a rating system to identify and certify accessible built environments based upon a consistent methodology.
  • Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Services help identify the accessibility requirements of places and ensure they are accurately reflected in drawings and specifications. Our specialists also help to confirm that accessible design considerations are built according to plan.
  • Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Grants help ensure that all members of our community can access the built environment. In 2016 and 2017, with support from the Government of Canada, the Foundation is focused on delivering the Access4All Canada 150 Signature Initiative, granting $1.7 million dollars to schools and community groups across Canada for infrastructure improvement projects and awareness building events in their communities.

Supporting Spinal Cord Injury Research

RHF continues to fund research grants to the Rick Hansen Institute (RHI) as well as fundraising and providing leadership support for specific allocation requests towards spinal cord injury research. Through the Blusson Integrated Cures Partnership, we have committed $2M/year for 10 years to RHI and ICORD, as well as fundraising for ongoing research initiatives.