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In March 1985, Rick Hansen set out on the Man in Motion World Tour which set the stage for his life’s work – a journey that opened the eyes of the world to the potential of people with disabilities. The Rick Hansen Foundation was established as a Canadian charity in 1988 and has since been dedicated to Rick’s life-long goal of creating an inclusive world where people with disabilities are living to their full potential.

For three decades, the Foundation has raised awareness, changed attitudes, and removed barriers for people with disabilities, as well as fund spinal cord injury research and care. While they’ve made great strides towards creating an accessible and inclusive world, there’s still more work to be done.

The vision is an inclusive world where people with disabilities are living to their full potential.

Their mission is to inspire leaders, influencers, and the public to join Rick Hansen in creating a global movement to remove barriers in the built environment and thereby liberate the potential of people living with disabilities.

They develop programs and initiatives that raise awareness, change attitudes and remove barriers for people with disabilities in the built environment. Learn more about their awareness and accessibility programs and initiatives.

At CAN we plan to work closely with the Rick Hansen Foundation to help Elk Valley Residents gain access to their communities and being accessible is good for business. Here’s why.

We want the freedom to move easily and safely through our own communities. We want to work, shop, play, and learn wherever we call home. Essentially, we want to get to where we need to go, and accomplish what we need to do.

When people with disabilities are unable to enter or make their way through a building, whether it’s a business, an office, or a community centre, we lose their potential. As a valued employee. A loyal customer. An active participant. Even if it’s unintentional, the message they receive is that their needs are different and, for whatever reason, can’t be met.

Canada prides itself on being a country that champions diversity and cares for its people. Improving accessibility is one more way to do that. It naturally encourages inclusion. And it makes our communities stronger and more sustainable.

“It isn’t negotiable,” Rick Hansen said in a CBC interview in 2016, on the issue of improved access. “We’re not just saying [to people with disabilities], ‘You’re lucky to get in the building.’ You’re a Canadian – you get in the building.”

With one in five Canadian adults expected to have a disability by 2036, due in part to our aging population, it’s critical we rethink how we access and use all our spaces.

The bottom line: Improving access is the right thing to do.

But did you know there’s another bottom line to consider? It’s a big one. Improving the accessibility of our business and institutions will have a huge economic impact, adding billions of dollars to our economy every year.