Three Accessibility Standards Now in Place

On June 3, 2011 the Ontario government put the next 3 accessibility standards under the AODA legislation in place:

  1. Transportation
  2. Employment
  3. Information and Communications

With the Information and Communications piece now in place, many organizations across the province will need to consider web accessibility in their on-going communications plan.

What organizations are impacted?

Both public and private sector organizations will need to review the legislation to determine how they will be affected and when changes will need to be implemented.  Most organizations – both private and public, for-profit and not-for-profit, will need to comply.

When do accessible websites and web content need to be in place?

The Government of Ontario and the Legislative Assembly will need to meet WCAG 2.0, Level AA standards under the following schedule:

  • By January 1, 2012, new internet and intranet websites and web content on those sites must conform with WCAG 2.0 Level AA other than Captions (Live), and Audio Descriptions (Pre-recorded).
  • By January 1, 2016, all internet websites and web content must conform with WCAG 2.0 Level AA, other than Captions (Live), and Audio Descriptions (Pre-recorded).
  • By January 1, 2020, all internet and intranet websites and web content must conform with WCAG 2.0 Level AA.

Designated public sector organizations and large organizations will need to ensure their internet websites and web content meet WCAG 2.0, initially at Level A and increasing to Level AA under the following schedule:

  • By January 1, 2014, new internet websites and web content on those sites must conform with WCAG 2.0, Level A.
  • By January 1, 2021, all internet websites and web content must conform with WCAG 2.0 Level AA, other than Captions (Live), and Audio Descriptions (Pre-recorded).

How do I know if I need an accessible website and web content?

Unless your organization has fewer than 50 employees, you’ll need to comply with the legislation.  Public sector organizations will need to comply sooner and to more stringent standards in some cases.  However, if yours is a small organization, it still makes sense to aim for an accessible website with accessible web content, especially if you’re planning a new website or an overhaul of an existing site. It doesn’t cost any more, but it will make your website more search engine friendly as well as making your website accessible to people with disabilities. That’s 1.85 million people with spending power!