Final Information and Communications Standard Submitted

The final proposed Accessible Information and Communications Standard has been submitted to the Ontario Legislature.  The proposed standard has been pared down considerably from its original version making it much less onerous for organizations to comply.

While the standard is not in effect yet, we can anticipate the requirements for accessible websites.  The proposed legislation will require websites and web content to comply with WCAG 2.0 (W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0), level A.

Based on the propsed standard, it is expected that web compliance will happen in 2 stages:

  1. Within 1 year of the standard becoming law, all new web sites and new web content will need to be accessible; existing web content will need to be provided in accessible formats when requested.
  2. Within 3 years of becoming law, all organizations with existing websites will need to ensure they are accessible.

So, essentially, if you’re planning to build or rebuild a web site in the next year, it makes sense to build an accessible site.  If you haven’t made plans to update your current site, you’ll need to keep the 3 year window in mind.  At some point in the next 3 years you’ll need to make sure your site meets the proposed legislative requirements.