YOW receives gold accessibility rating from Rick Hansen Foundation

Ottawa International Airport Authority Press Release | December 4, 2019

Estimated reading time 2 minutes, 58 seconds.

To mark International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the Ottawa International Airport Authority announced that the Ottawa International Airport (YOW) has received the “Accessibility Certified Gold” rating under the Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification (RHFAC) program.

From left: Sarah McCarthy, Rick Hansen Foundation; Krista Kealey, Ottawa International Airport Authority; Julie Sawchuk, accessibility strategist and educator; Samantha Proulx, Accessible Built Environment specialist, ABE Factors Inc.; and Mardelle Woods, Rick Hansen Foundation Ambassador. Ottawa International Airport Authority Photo

RHFAC is the first program to rate meaningful access, based upon the holistic user experience of people with varying disabilities affecting their mobility, vision and hearing. To date, over 1,200 buildings have been rated through the program.

“The airport terminal, which opened in 2003, was built with accessibility in mind,” said Mark Laroche, president and CEO of the Ottawa International Airport Authority. “As building code and accessibility standards have evolved over the years, along with the needs of the community, the Authority has endeavoured to not only keep up, but to exceed these standards as it strives to provide the best possible passenger experience. We are delighted to have achieved this exceptional level of certification, which is a tribute to the Authority’s commitment to an accessible terminal for all passengers, employees and visitors.”

“My sincerest congratulations to the Ottawa International Airport on this remarkable achievement,” said Rick Hansen, founder, Rick Hansen Foundation. “Your commitment to creating an accessible environment for everyone who travels through the airport – whether it be employees, tourists, or people returning home – demonstrates a true leader in creating a Canada where everyone can go everywhere. Your leadership sets the bar for others across our country and the globe to follow suit.”

RHFAC is a program that rates the level of meaningful access in commercial, institutional and multi-residential buildings and sites, offering a snapshot of the sites’ current level of accessibility. For YOW, notable accessibility features include:

  • A strategic wayfinding system that is consistent throughout the building;
  • A variety of seating options, with and without arm rests;
  • Universal washrooms with accessible features such as adult-size change tables and emergency call systems;
  • Roll-up, automatic drinking fountains;
  • A variety of flooring options, in particular carpeting that is easy to roll on; and
  • Parkade facility with accessible parking with direct access to the pedestrian walkways that lead to the elevator lobbies for safe movement.

The Authority is committed to continuing its efforts to ensure that as accessibility needs evolve, so too will the airport’s facilities.

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