Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification™ Training


**Stay tuned for the next course offering!

In Canada, almost 50 percent 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.

Be at the forefront of Canada’s growing accessibility movement with the Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification™ (RHFAC) Training. PowerED™ is pleased to partner with the Rick Hansen Foundation to deliver the Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification™ Training online. The online course provides participants with the fundamental skills and knowledge required to rate a site using the Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification™ (RHFAC).

RAIC Members are eligible for a $200 discount.

To take advantage of the discount, please use this link to register.

This course is recognized for continuing education units (CEUs) by professional bodies such as The Alberta Association of Architects, the Ontario Architects Association, and many more. Visit the Rick Hansen Foundation website and scroll to the bottom of the page to learn more under Continuing Education Credit.

Available Sessions

Fall 2024
10 Weeks

The 10-week course requires 6-8 hours of study per week.

“This course has helped me advance my specialization in inclusivity and social impact related to the built environment by expanding my knowledge of accessibility and universal design. It has helped me see our surroundings in a new, crucial light.” Fiona Jones, BA&Sc, M.Arch., Social Impact + Strategy Coordinator, HCMA Architecture + Design

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.

Whether you’re an architect, general contractor, engineer, urban planner, design-builder, or anyone interested in accessibility in the built environment, qualifying for an RHFAC Professional designation will provide you 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 virtual fieldwork interactives, 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. They will also be available for questions during predetermined office hours. The schedule is clearly outlined within the learning environment for easy access.

Upon successful completion of the Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification™ Training, students are eligible to write the online exam, not administered as part of this course, 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.

Course Resources

Required: Download a Limited version (free) of CSA B651-18 from CSA store Accessible Design for the Built Environment

Optional: Complementary Guide to CSA B651-18 Accessible Design for the Built Environment - Implementation Version

For purchase from CSA store (to use in addition to CSA B651-18, contains explanatory, informative commentary on the requirements of the Standard)

Learners will also require a measuring tape and a camera for this course.

Virtual Sessions

Just as a successful face-to-face class thrives on engaging discussion and participation, so does an online and virtual class. The success of this course relies on building a strong, respectful course community. This is achieved through regular participation in online discussion forums and attendance at the live virtual meetings. Virtual sessions with your facilitator solidify your knowledge, provide opportunities for practice, and attendance is expected. A portion of your mark will be based on your attendance at the sessions. You are expected to attend 80% of the sessions. If you are unable to attend, please make sure to contact your instructor.

How It Works

Program Duration
10 weeks

6 - 8 hours per week



Tuition funding for people with disabilities is available. Find out more at Rick Hansen Foundation.

What You'll Learn

  • Explain the impact of the social and physical environment on people with disabilities.
  • Integrate relevant legislation, regulations, and standards needed when planning and executing a rating.
  • Integrate Universal Design principles and standards when planning and executing a rating.
  • Interpret and navigate a set of construction drawings.
  • Communicate and support rating findings to clients, and prepare a recommendation report of the rating findings, reflecting compliance and gaps related to relevant human rights and accessibility legislation, regulations, and Universal Design standards.
  • Display professionalism and promote inclusiveness when working with clients.

Certification Prerequisites

    If you do not meet the prerequisites but want to gain a better understanding of the impact of the social and physical environment on people with disabilities, check out Accessible Spaces 101

  • You have a diploma or at least two years of completed post-secondary studies in architecture, engineering, urban planning, interior design or a related program; or
  • You have a Journeyman Certificate of Qualification in a designated trade related to building construction; or
  • You are an engineer (or eligible for registration as an engineer); or
  • You are an architect (or eligible for registration as an architect); or
  • You have a minimum of five years of construction experience; or
  • You have an equivalent combination of lived experience and built environment knowledge.
  • Recommendations

  • You will have the most success in this course if you already have a high level of proficiency with computer systems and programs (including Microsoft Excel), as well as solid written and verbal communication skills.
  • Do you feel strongly that you would be a good candidate but do not meet the above requirements? Please contact us – we will be pleased to discuss your options at training@rickhansen.com or powered@athabascau.ca.
  • Course Audit Option

    Rick Hansen Foundation and PowerED™ are pleased to announce that there is now a Course Audit option available for individuals interested in the course but do not meet the prerequisites. As a course auditor, students will learn about RHFAC’s comprehensive national rating system, measuring meaningful accessibility from the perspective of those with mobility, vision and hearing disabilities. In addition, students will learn how to promote increased access through the adoption of Universal Design principles.

    Please note, as a course auditor:

  • Course auditor requests are granted upon the understanding that the student has an interest in accessibility in the built environment and that the student will be expected to participate at the same standard and pace as other students, despite not having the necessary prerequisites.
  • You will have access to course content, instruction and discussion forums; consequently, full course fees are applicable.
  • You will not be required to submit weekly or final assignments.
  • You will not receive a certificate of completion or a digital badge at the end of the course.
  • You will not be eligible for the RHFAC exam, administered by CSA Group, which is required for RHFAC Professional designation. Therefore, upon the completion of this course, you will NOT be qualified to conduct RHFAC ratings.
  • For registration and further inquires about auditing, please contact PowerED™ at powered@athabascau.ca.

Featured Leaders

Brad McCannell

Vice President, Access and Inclusion
Rick Hansen Foundation

Brad's expertise in the application of universal design comes from both personal experience and practical knowledge. In 1990, he formed Canadian Barrier Free Design Inc. (CBFD) - created to fill the gap between the application of the building code and the real needs of the community of people with disabilities. In 2015, Brad joined the Rick Hansen Foundation and was tasked with developing The Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification (RHFAC) rating program and companion assessor training.

Brad was recently appointed as a Director of the Canadian Accessibility Standards Development Organization (CASDO); is a member of the Canadian Committee of the International Standards Organization; is the recipient of the City of Vancouver’s Access and Inclusion Award (2010) and the Canadian Paraplegic Association’s Award Of Distinction. He became a C6-7 quadriplegic after a car accident in 1980 at age 27. He uses a wheelchair and a service dog on a daily basis.

Patricia Short

Patricia Short, P. Eng, MBA, PID, RHFAC Professional

Patricia’s career spans over 30 years in teaching, information technology, business and engineering, she has spent the last 10 years creating engaging classroom and e-learning experiences for workplaces and post-secondary institutions. Most recently, Patricia created the original curriculum for the new, innovative Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification™ (RHFAC) program. Prior to that, she performed business analysis and delivered workplace training for business systems implementation projects for a range of public and private sector organizations. Her passion is working with organizations who recognize the value of providing people with the technical skills they need to grow and advance in their careers.

Jenny Blome

Jenny Blome

Jenny has over 20+ years of experience in user design, product management and strategic consulting with innovative companies such as Apple. In 2014, she joined the Rick Hansen Foundation (RHF) to lead the design of a new technology solution for the accessibility rating of the built environment. This effort was a predecessor of the organization’s Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification Program (RHFAC), its core focus today. Jenny was the co-architect of the RHFAC Rating Survey, the basis of the RHFAC certification system. In her role as Director at RHF, Jenny provided accessibility consultation for new construction projects and accessibility assessments of existing facilities in a wide range of industries. A few of the projects include, Hill Children’s Health Centre at BC Children's Hospital, First Nations Health Authority, UBC School of Biomedical Engineering, UBC Gateway Building, Canadian Museum of Science and Technology, Rideau Hall, Canadian Border Security Agency, Canadian Transportation Agency, CN Tower, New Toronto Courthouse, and Canada Post. She also managed educational programs, including accessibility training for architects, engineers, designers, planners and other professionals. Additionally, Jenny developed a new accessibility curriculum, “Accessible Spaces 101”, which she facilitated as SME.

Who Will Benefit

  • Architects
  • General Contractors
  • Engineers
  • Urban Planners
  • Design-Builders
  • Anyone interested in accessibility in the built environment

Course FAQs

Is this an instructor-led course?

This course is coached by an instructor and includes moderated discussions. It has been designed by subject matter experts and includes video interviews of leading experts. It is an immersive experience with a mix of video content, field work experiences, impactful readings, learning checks, and other interactive elements.

How much time will I need to spend?

The course contains six modules and is structured to be completed over a 12 week period. You will be spending approximately 6 - 8 hours of time per week on content. If you are unfamiliar with your jurisdictions’ building code, or do not have a background in working with construction documents, this course may require additional hours per week.

Do I have to be online at a certain time of day?

You complete the weekly coursework at the times and places that fit your schedule. The online course facilitator will host multiple virtual classroom sessions to discuss rating exercises and for learners to present site ratings. They will also be available for questions during predetermined office hours. The schedule is clearly outlined within the learning environment for easy access and e-mailed one week before your course begins. The sessions will be recorded and you can review them at a time that best suits you.

When do I start?

You can start the course at the next available start date! Once you register in the course, we can send you links to reading materials from the Rick Hansen Foundation.

How long will I have access to the course?

You will have access to the course for an additional 30 days after the 12 week period is complete.

What is the refund policy?

No refunds will be issued for courses. Refunds may be considered under exceptional circumstances on a case-by-case basis. Please contact powered@athabascau.ca for more information.

Are there tests or quizzes involved?

There will be activities, assignments, and short quizzes within the course to ensure you understand the content. All quizzes are designed to be accessible and easy to complete by engaging in the course content. Within each module, you will have the answers to each evaluation. In order to receive a certificate, you will be graded (P/F) on your participation on weekly discussion forums and submit a final assignment.

Are there any assignments?

Yes, the instructor will award a pass/fail for discussion forum participation. There is also a final assignment, which includes completing a Ratings Workbook and a Key Areas of Success and Improvement for the site presented in the course. A level of mastery (pass/fail) will be awarded.

What are the computer requirements for this course?

If you can access the Internet, you can access the course environment. The course environment is compatible with laptops, PCs, tablets and smart phones.

Does this course have prerequisites?

Yes, you must have prerequisites to register in this course. Please see the Certification Prerequisites section above.

Who do I contact if I need help?

You can contact powered@athabascau.ca for assistance with any questions you may have. We are here to help!

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