BURNABY, British Columbia, Feb. 26, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Rick Hansen Foundation is pleased to announce Vancity credit union has become the first financial institution in Canada to receive the ‘Accessibility Certified Gold’ rating under the Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification™ (RHFAC) program. Both the Burnaby Heights Community branch and Vancity Centre, one of the credit union’s office locations in Vancouver, have been certified gold.

“We’ve always strived to create inclusive and welcoming spaces for our members and employees because it’s not only the right thing to do, it also strengthens our organization and the communities we serve,” said Vancity President and CEO Tamara Vrooman. Tamara is also founding co-chair of the Presidents Group, a network of business leaders in B.C. focused on increasing employment opportunities for people with diverse-abilities and creating a more accessible consumer marketplace. “It’s been an honour to work with the Rick Hansen Foundation on this program and we look forward to incorporating many of their recommendations to improve accessibility at more of our branches in the future.” 

“I’m proud to congratulate Tamara Vrooman and her team for this incredible accomplishment. I hope Vancity’s achievement inspires other businesses at the municipal, provincial, national and global level to design with accessibility and inclusion in mind.  When people of all abilities can participate, we contribute to a healthy society, which is part of the Canada and the world that we all want to be part of,” said Rick Hansen, Founder of the Rick Hansen Foundation.

Doramy Ehling, CEO of the Rick Hansen Foundation, said: “Vancity has been committed to accessibility for a long time and have been involved in the RHFAC program since its inception. People with diverse-abilities experience accessibility challenges daily, and it’s critical that everyday spaces such as those where people do their banking meet everyone’s needs.”

RHFAC is the first program to measure the level of meaningful access beyond building code, and is based upon the holistic user experience of people with varying disabilities affecting their mobility, vision and hearing. Thanks to support from the Government of B.C., more than 1,100 sites across the province have registered to be rated.

Vancity has taken steps to remove barriers and improve accessibility for the hundreds of employees and members who enter these buildings daily. Vancity’s Burnaby Heights Community branch has a broad range of accessibility features including:

  • Fully accessible Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) that include grab bars, knee clearance for chair users, accessible buttons, and plugs for head phones;
  • Power doors in all entrances;
  • Contrasting colour flooring and walls for improved wayfinding;
  • A lowered teller counter with a hearing induction loop for employees and members; and
  • Accessible washrooms with inclusive signage

For more on the Rick Hansen Foundation Accessibility Certification™ program, please visit: www.rickhansen.com/RHFAC

About the Rick Hansen Foundation
The Rick Hansen Foundation (RHF) was established in 1988, following the completion of Rick Hansen’s Man In Motion World Tour. For nearly 30 years, RHF has worked to raise awareness, change attitudes, and remove barriers for people with disabilities. Visit www.rickhansen.com to learn more.

About Vancity
Vancity is a values-based financial co-operative serving the needs of its more than 525,000 member-owners and their communities in the Coast Salish and Kwakwaka’wakw territories, with 59 branches in Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Victoria, Squamish and Alert Bay. With $26.4 billion in assets plus assets under administration, Vancity is Canada’s largest community credit union. Vancity uses its assets to help improve the financial well-being of its members while at the same time helping to develop healthy communities that are socially, economically and environmentally sustainable.

Tweet us @Vancity and connect with us on Facebook.com/Vancity.

RHF Media Contact:                                                      Vancity Media Relations:
Yulu Public Relations                                                       Brent Shearer
Nora Eastwood                                                                778-837-0394
778-751-4542                                                                  mediarelations@vancity.com
nora@yulupr.com