Vancity clients and staff with disabilities will have greater access at the bank’s head office in Vancouver or the Burnaby Heights branch.
Today, both buildings were awarded gold accessibility certifications by the Rick Hansen Foundation – the first financial institution and the third company in B.C. to receive the rating.
The foundation’s namesake, Rick Hansen, was in Burnaby Heights to celebrate the milestone achievement.
“They’ve set a really high bar to become much more inclusive for everybody not just for their staff but for their customers and community,” Hansen told CTV News.
“It’s the new standard that we want to recognize and create across Canada and all across the world.”
Hansen said that the country has come a long way in accessibility, and his foundation wants to turn a “made-in-BC global solution” into an industry standard worth praising.
“We’ll train industry professionals – they’ll have all the knowledge and tools, we’ll have an objective rating, and then we’ll reconigze people,” he said.
“We want innovation to keep going and think about their buildings and how they function for people who desperately need those barriers removed,” said Hansen.
Vancity president and CEO Tamara Vrooman said when the company decided to rebuild their Burnaby Heights branch, it was done with more than sustainability or aesthetics in mind.
“For our staff and our community, if you can’t come in and see us, it’s very difficult to be part of our great organization,” she said.
Vrooman is also the current chair of the Rick Hansen Foundation board. The bank’s Burnaby Heights Community branch features:
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 hearing assistance for employees and members; and
Accessible washrooms with inclusive signage
More than 1,100 buildings across the province have been registered for rating by the foundation.