Non-profit, public and private organizations in Greater Sudbury may be eligible for funding to increase their accessibility, said the Rick Hansen Foundation.
Greater Sudbury is among 10 municipalities in Ontario that can tap into $1.3 million from the province's Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility. The Rick Hansen Foundation will be accepting applications for funding.
Interested organizations — including community centres, libraries, schools, retailers and office buildings — can apply to receive complimentary ratings through the Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification program. Two hundred and fifty sites will have the opportunity to be rated through the program.
The foundation rates the level of meaningful access of the built environment, keeping in mind user experience of people with varying disabilities affecting their mobility, vision and hearing. This means attracting more consumers and potential employees for organizations across the province.
According to the Conference Board of Canada, improvements to workplace access would allow more than half a million Canadians with disabilities to work more hours, increasing GDP by $16.8 billion by 2030.
To date, more than 1,200 buildings across Canada have been rated through the program.
“People with disabilities and our seniors deserve to be independent and fully participate in their communities as consumers and employees,” said Raymond Cho, minister for Seniors and Accessibility. “This certification pilot project will help businesses and communities understand how to be more accessible and inclusive for everyone, so that we all benefit. By helping to build awareness of accessible built environments, we are fostering a culture of accessibility and inclusion.”
“This generous funding from the Ontario government will enable many organizations to understand and showcase their building’s accessibility, and help inform their future accessibility plans with respect to the built environment,” said Brad McCannell, VP of Access and Inclusion at RHF. “This is a great opportunity for organizations to help make Ontario more inclusive for our aging population and the growing number of people with disabilities.”
Applications from building owners and tenants can be submitted online until March 27. RHF will be engaging municipalities and their Accessibility Advisory Committees to select finalists in their local communities.
To learn more and apply for a complimentary rating, visit RickHansen.com/FreeRating.