Sask. Legislature first in Canada to get Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility CertificationMay 12, 2022
The Saskatchewan Legislature has received Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification (RHFAC) – making it the first legislative building in Canada to be designated as such. On May 10, 2022, a plaque was unveiled at the legislature commemorating the designation. The plaque, which is to be installed in the hallway of the Prince of Wales entrance, should serve as an example to all municipalities and building owners that older buildings and heritage buildings can, and should, be updated to provide modern access.
The Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission commends the provincial legislature on its certification, and remains committed to working with stakeholders on projects that improve accessibility and address barriers in Saskatchewan’s built environment. In recent years, the Commission has:
- Been involved in discussions with and the Ministry of Government Relations, Building and Technical Standard Branch, that resulted in the creation of a first-ever Barrier Free Design Guide for Saskatchewan. During these discussions, the Commission presented on the relationship between The Saskatchewan Human Rights Code, accessibility in the built environment, and the need to accommodate people with disabilities in public spaces and services.
- Provided the Buildings and Technical Standards Branch with human rights-related feedback on the draft regulations for The Construction Code Act, which went into effect January 1, 2022.
The Commission looks forward to its continued collaborations with the Building and Technical Standards Branch, as well as with the Office of Disability Issues and other stakeholders, to help improve accessibility in this province.
There is a moral and ethical responsibility, as well as a legal requirement, to make Saskatchewan accessible. There is also a strong business case for supporting greater accessibility which includes increased employment opportunities, increased tourism-related revenues, and improved access to educational opportunities.
 Building owners, businesses, and public service providers need to be aware that approved building permits, and adherence to minimum building code standards, may not ensure accessibility for persons with disabilities and/or compliance with the Code.