Patrick White has a clear plan of what he wants to accomplish – and Vancouver Community College’s (VCC) Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification™ (RHFAC) Training program is helping him achieve it.
Patrick’s goal is to become a preeminent Universal Design consultant, making the built environment inclusive for all. He’s always had an affinity for architecture and, having been a wheelchair user for 20 years, he often sees the built environment in ways others do not.
“The older I got, the more I wanted to use my career to make a difference,” Patrick said. Patrick’s background in accessibility and architecture, along with his lived experience, made him the perfect fit to become an RHFAC Professional.
His timing couldn’t be better. The federal government launched the Accessible Canada Act in 2019 and created Accessibility Standards Canada, an organization led by a board of directors, the majority of whom are persons with disabilities. As one of the organizations’ six pillars, it recently announced plans to make buildings in Canada more accessible for all.
Environmental sustainability has been a key consideration in architecture for more than a decade, so it makes sense for accessibility to be the next step. “You can’t really have sustainability if it doesn’t extend to people,” Patrick says. “A building needs to be able to sustain the changing needs of Canadians.”
“Let’s also consider the fact that it is people who are finding solutions to environmental issues,” he adds, “but they cannot accomplish this if they are unable to – literally – get through the door.”
Patick believes that, thanks to RHFAC training programs, more people will become aware of this connection. He also hopes it will add more people with disabilities to the work force and allow more people to enjoy spaces they normally wouldn’t because of the barriers involved.
VCC’s Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification™ (RHFAC) Training is a registered program counting towards Continuing Education hours for architects, engineers, and more. When you earn your Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certificate, you are qualified to rate and certify sites for meaningful access under the RHFAC program.
Help make Canada more accessible for all by becoming an RHFAC Professional. Register now for May or September 2021.