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Ottawa International Airport marked International Day of Persons with Disabilities by announcing that it has received an Accessibility Certified Gold rating under the Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification (RHFAC) programme.

RHFAC is the first programme to rate meaningful access, based upon the holistic user experience of people with varying disabilities affecting their mobility, vision and hearing.


The Canadian gateway notes that its airport terminal, which opened in 2003, was built with accessibility in mind.

And it is quick to point out that as building code and accessibility standards have evolved over the years, along with the needs of the community, it 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 airport authority’s commitment to an accessible terminal for all passengers, employees and visitors,” said Mark Laroche, president and CEO of the Ottawa International Airport Authority.

While Rick Hansen, founder of the Rick Hansen Foundation, noted: “My sincerest congratulations to the Ottawa International Airport on this remarkable achievement. 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 programme 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 Ottawa International Airport (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 airport insists that it is committed to continuing its efforts to ensure that as accessibility needs evolve, so too will YOW’s facilities.


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