1. What makes the RHFAC program unique?
The RHFAC program is unique in three ways:
- It measures the level of meaningful access beyond building code, and is based upon the holistic user experience of people with varying disabilities affecting their mobility, vision, and hearing.
- It trains professionals to conduct ratings and become accredited through a formal exam developed by RHF and facilitated CSA Group; and
- It recognizes an organization’s commitment to accessibility through formal certification as ‘RHF Accessibility Certified’ or ‘RHF Accessibility Certified Gold.’
2. Why should I get my site rated and certified?
There are several good reasons why you should get rated and certified. Getting rated and certified will help you:
- be prepared for Canada’s increasing numbers of people with disabilities and seniors
- get ready for a changing regulatory environment and impending federal accessibility legislation
- allow you to serve more customers and attract more employees
- learn about ways to improve your accessibility; and
- showcase your commitment to accessibility by choosing to purchase a label, plaque or to list your location on the online RHFAC Registry.
Ratings are risk-free. Only sites that reach a certain certification level are eligible to be certified and be publicly listed.
3. My site already meets code and is accessible, so why do I need this rating too?
Existing building codes vary widely by municipality and province, and while many sites have accessible features, they are often mobility-centric and may fall short of the actual needs of people with various disabilities. RHFAC complements existing building codes by using a universal rating scale that assesses levels of meaningful access nationally.
4. I don’t have any employees/customers that use wheelchairs, so why would I need to be rated?
When people hear disability, they often think of a person using a wheelchair. However, if you have clients or employees over the age of 55, then you have clients or employees who will likely be dealing with mobility, vision and hearing issues. RHFAC helps to future proof your organization by preparing your building or site to accommodate the one in five Canadians who will have a disability by 2036.
5. What is the difference between RHF Accessibility Certified and RHF Accessibility Certified ‘Gold’?
RHFAC offers two levels of certification: RHF Accessibility Certified Gold and RHF Accessibility Certified. The certification level for a Site is determined by:
- Achieving the minimum rating score; and
- Meeting the mandatory certification requirements (Note: Additional mandatory certification requirements apply in order to become Accessibility Certified Gold).
|Rating Score||Certification Level|
AND meets mandatory gold certification requirements.
|RHF Accessibility Certified Gold|
AND meets mandatory certification requirements.
|RHF Accessibility Certified|
OR does not meet mandatory certification requirements.
Mandatory certification requirements can be found in Appendix D of the Guide to Certification.
6. How much does it cost to get rated?
The cost of an RHFAC rating consists of two fees:
- Registration Fee of $2,350 CAD, payable to CSA Group via the RHFAC Registry; and
- RHFAC Professional Rating Fee. Your RHFAC Professional Rating Fee will vary according to the size and complexity of your site. It will include the on-site visit as well as the submission of the rating to the RHFAC Registry for adjudication. Please speak to your RHFAC Professional directly for rates and an estimate of the number of hours required to rate your Site.
7. How do I find an RHFAC Professional in my province?
Visit the RHFAC Professional Directory to select your RHFAC Professional.
8. How to I register my organization and site(s) on the RHFAC Registry hosted by the CSA group?
A step-by-step guide to this process is available in our video tutorial: How to Use the RHFAC Registry.
Find out more in our Guide to RHF Accessibility Certification.
9. Will I receive my results right away?
After your RHFAC Professional conducts the on-site visit and the data has been submitted to the RHFAC Registry, the adjudication process may take up to 6 weeks or longer to be verified and peer-reviewed. Organizations will be notified by email when their results - the Scorecard, Rating Summary and letter of certification (if applicable) - are available on the RHFAC Registry.
10. Will my results be made public?
No. Rating scorecards are provided to program participants only and are not made public. Organizations may choose to make their certification public on the online RHFAC Registry or by purchasing a label or plaque for the location.
11. What if the rating uncovers accessibility issues?
Ratings are designed to provide organizations with an understanding of the current level of meaningful access in the facility. All program participants will receive a scorecard, and information on what aspects are accessible. The scorecard is also a helpful tool to help you identify where you can improve accessibility. The RHFAC Professional may provide additional feedback on the key areas of success and improvement for the facility via the Registry too.
Regardless of rating score, sites in BC can apply for up to $20,000 in funding through the BC Accessibility Grants Program designed to assist in upgrading levels of accessibility after completing an RHFAC rating.
12. What types of sites are eligible for a rating?
Currently, commercial buildings, public spaces and multi-unit residential buildings can be rated, both existing sites and pre-construction.
- Commercial spaces include retail shops, malls, offices, light industrial sites;
- Public spaces include schools, recreation centres, front-country trails and pathways; and
- Multi-unit residential buildings include condominium dwelling units and shared common areas. Single family homes are not eligible.
13. I am a tenant. Can I get my leased space RHFAC rated?
Yes. Tenants may get their leased space rated even though they do not own the building if they meet the following additional requirements:
- The RHFAC rating must include the leased tenant space and key common areas of the site. The tenant is responsible for identifying the leased tenant space and the key common areas for a RHFAC rating. Key common areas include: (1) the closest accessible entrance and route to the tenant space, and (2) the closest accessible washroom and the route to the tenant space. In the case that the tenant occupies a completely self-sufficient space, it is not necessary to rate common areas.
- The Tenant is responsible for securing permission from the Building Owner to undertake a RHFAC rating in the common areas. An authorized representative of the tenant must acknowledge it has received permission from an authorized representative of the building owner in the RHFAC Registry before a rating is undertaken.
- The tenant may display any certification labels in the leased tenanted space only. When a tenant obtains certification, it may opt to display certification window labels or plaques. In this event, the tenant must display its labels in the leased tenanted space only to avoid implying that the entire premise has been certified.
- The tenant must continue to occupy the leased tenanted space.Certification is no longer valid if the Tenant no longer leases or occupies the space.
14. I am a building owner who is (or will be) leasing out space in my building. Can I get my building RHFAC rated?
Yes. Building owners may get their site rated even though they are leasing (or intend to lease) space to other organizations with the additional following requirements:
- The RHFAC rating must include the space occupied by the building owner and common areas of the site. The building owner is responsible for identifying the space occupied by the building owner and the common areas for a RHFAC rating.
- The building owner must display any certification labels in a manner that does not misrepresent the areas that have been certified. When a building owner obtains certification, it may opt to display certification labels or plaques. In this event, the building owner must display its labels in a manner that avoids implying that the entire premise has been certified when it has not.
15. I’m a property developer, can I get a new construction project rated?
Yes. You can start the process by submitting your plans and blueprints to an RHFAC Professional. You will receive a provisional approval if appropriate. Once your building is built, you must re-certify your site to receive official certification.
16. What aspects will a site be rated on?
Sites are rated on potentially 10 categories including:
- Vehicular Access;
- Exterior Approach and Entrance;
- Interior Circulation;
- Interior Services and Environment;
- Sanitary Facilities;
- Wayfinding and Signage;
- Emergency Systems;
- Additional Use of Space;
- Residential Units; and
- Trails and Pathways.
RHFAC Professionals allocate points to features within a category, which are scored via a standardized rating survey. This determines the Site’s overall level of meaningful access.
17. What is labeling? Why should I get my site labelled?
Once a site is certified, program participants can choose to showcase their certification level on the online RHFAC Registry, hosted by CSA Group, and physically display their accessibility with the purchase of a label (plaque or window sticker) directly from CSA Group. Program participants will also receive a complimentary electronic label.
18. If I get rated and don’t agree with my score, what can I do?
Organizations can launch a formal appeals process to contest a decision by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The email should include: Organization name, site name, unique registration number, and identify the exact element(s) or line items in your RHFAC scorecard that you would like to appeal. The issue will be reviewed and resolved locally at the discretion of the Rick Hansen Foundation (RHF). As part of the review, the relevant RHFAC Adjudicator and/or RHFAC Professional may be consulted. RHF will communicate the decision. All decisions are final.
19. What is the RHFAC Registry?
The RHFAC Registry, hosted by CSA Group, is an online system that facilitates the rating and certification process. Specifically, it is used to manage Site ratings, to record rating and certification results, and to showcase Sites that have achieved RHFAC certification levels (if the clients decide to list publicly). This is key to helping ensure that the program operates independently, while providing transparency to the public and ensuring the accuracy and completeness of information that is critical to RHFAC’s success.
20. Who do I contact if I need help with the RHFAC Registry?
The RHFAC Registry is operated independently by CSA Group, and not by the Rick Hansen Foundation. Please contact CSA Group for Registry technical support.
21. Can I view the RHFAC Rating Survey?
Yes. The RHFAC Rating Survey is used by the RHFAC Professional to record all information (scores and comments) of a Site rating.
22. What is the best way to share my feedback on the RHFAC program?
We would love to know what you think. Please get in touch via email to email@example.com, and briefly explain your experience with the program
23. What are the Terms and Conditions of the RHFAC Registry, hosted by CSA Group?
The Terms and Conditions of the RHFAC Registry vary according to the type of site you have. Download sample Terms and Conditions below:
RHFAC Pre-Construction Registry (pre-construction plans)
RHFAC Certification Registry (existing sites)
24. How is RHFAC v3.0 different from previous versions?
For more information about RHFAC v3.0, read 'Introducing RHFAC v3.0'.
24. How was RHFAC v3.0 developed?
Over the past 14 months, the RHFAC Technical Subcommittee developed RHFAC v3.0 by reviewing each category of the Rating Survey, providing input, and incorporating feedback gathered from:
- People with disabilities representing those with vision, hearing and mobility disabilities;
- The RHFAC Experts Taskforce representing disability organizations such as Canadian Hard of Hearing Association, CNIB, BCANS, Canadian Council on Rehabilitation and Work, March of Dimes, Barrier Free Canada, MS Society, Easter Seals Canada, and the Canadian Association of the Deaf
- Leading architects and designers; and
- RHFAC Professionals who have collectively rated over 1,250 buildings to date.