In 2005 Ontario became the first Canadian Province to pass accessibility laws and has one of the most comprehensive policies created to date: The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). Many countries, like the US, have laws that require government organizations or organizations that use government funds to have and procure accessible technology, websites and digital products, but AODA goes beyond these sectors by requiring many for-profit/private businesses to comply as well.
But, starting January 1st, 2021 new requirements of AODA kick-in, and many more businesses and institutions will need to ensure their websites are accessible. This is part of Ontario’s goal of being fully accessible to people with disabilities by 2025.
The following Canadian organizations must file an accessibility compliance report:
- Businesses and nonprofits with 20 or more employees
- All public sector organizations
The following Canadian organizations must make their website and web content accessible:
- Businesses with 50 or more employees
- Nonprofits with 50 or more employees
- Public sector organizations with 20-plus employees
- All public sector publishers,
- All public sector educational institutions,
- All municipalities in Ontario
These organizations must comply with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 AA Those that have not done so by the first day of 2021 face fines of up to $50,000 CAD per day.
Let’s hope that other countries follow what this province, which by far has the largest population in Canada, is doing to actually require and implement this law so that most organizations have accessible websites and content. And let’s continue to urge legislators to ensure accessibility is always accounted for, because leaving folks with disabilities out of the equation is unethical.