Web Site Accessibility Standards in Ontario

The Regulation on Integrated Accessibility Standards under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) provides, in s. 14, that ‘large organizations’

‘shall meet the requirements of this section in accordance with the following schedule:
1. By January 1, 2014, new internet websites and web content on those sites must conform with WCAG 2.0 Level A.’

Are your clients or other large organizations you know of complying with this obligation? Have they sought your advice on how to comply?

I ask not in order to send in the forces of order (‘not my department’, as we say in government), but because a private correspondent suggested to me that clients have not been paying much attention to this obligation and wondered if that experience was general. Or are most web sites already compliant?

You probably know of various lawsuits in the US by accessibility advocates that have successfully imposed such standards on private-sector enterprises with respect to their web sites. The regulation under the AODA might support similar suits (class actions?) here.

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Some definitions:

“large organization” means an obligated organization with 50 or more employees in Ontario …

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines” means the World Wide Web Consortium Recommendation, dated December 2008, entitled “Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0”

“new internet website” means either a website with a new domain name or a website with an existing domain name undergoing a significant refresh;

Comments

  1. I work in house for a large company – we and I think most other large companies are aware of and are implementing AODA standards. The WCAG standards are some of the easier ones to implement because as a technical standard it’s clear what we need to do to comply. The same can’t be said for the other AODA standards which leave a lot of things open to interpretation.

    I think where there might be compliance issues is with companies that are at or just slightly above the large company threshold. They just don’t have the expensive lawyers on permanent retainer to let them know about these standards and how to implement them.