Accessibility: The Business Case for CEOs

Rick shares how addressing accessibility in spaces that people live, work, learn and play can benefit your company’s profitability. Canada’s business community is making progress and it is important to celebrate our successes, but now is the time to accelerate accessibility, address barriers and change our mindset from one of charitable concern and meeting legislation requirements to a more economic, cultural and global perspective.

Visit to access resources available to help you identify physical barriers and improve accessibility through the RHF Accessibility Program, access grants and professional training and certification. Become a leader, take action and tap into the 1.3 billion people with disabilities to become part of a healthier and more sustainable world.

Rick Hansen is a Paralympic athlete and the founder of the Rick Hansen Foundation, an organization that removes barriers for people with disabilities by changing attitudes, creating accessible spaces and inspiring an inclusive society.

Rick grew up in Port Alberni, British Columbia, with ambitions for professional sport. When he was 15, on his way home from a fishing trip, he suffered a spinal cord injury when he was thrown from the back of a pickup truck. The accident left him paralysed from the waist down. With support and motivation from various mentors, Rick returned to sport less than a year later, and attended the University of British Columbia, where he became the first person with a disability to graduate with a degree in physical education.

Between 1979 and 1984, Rick won 19 international wheelchair marathons, four world titles, and nine Pan American Wheelchair gold medals. During this period, Rick was named Canada’s Disabled Athlete of the Year three times and he represented Canada at the Summer Paralympic Games in 1984.

In 1985, Rick embarked on the Man in Motion World Tour, a two-year journey through 34 countries around the world to raise awareness for the potential of people with disabilities. Through the tour, Rick promoted accessibility and inclusiveness for all, and raised $26 million.

Rick founded the Rick Hansen Foundation in 1988 to continue the work of the Man in Motion World Tour. The Foundation focuses on spinal cord injury research, and other programs which aim to create an accessible and inclusive world where people with disabilities can live to their full potential.