What you need to know about Ontario’s website accessibility laws

What you need to know about Ontario’s website accessibility laws

Canada has one of the highest internet availability rates in the world, with over 92% of Canadians having access to the internet. With such high internet penetration rates, citizens with disabilities cannot be ignored; 22% of Canadians over the age of 15 live with one or more disabilities that limit their day-to-day activities from their physical environment to websites and web content.

The online world is just as important in navigating our daily lives as the physical world, which is why it’s more important than ever that your website is accessible to all Canadians.

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)

The 2005 AODA legislation made Ontario the first province to implement far-reaching accessibility requirements that lead the charge for other provinces to follow suit.

The deadline for businesses with 50+ employees and at least one employee working in the province to comply with the AODA was January 1st, 2021. Due to the pandemic, the filing deadline has been extended to June 30th, 2021. Ontario plans to lower the threshold to businesses with 20+ employees soon.

If not followed, organizations can be fined up to $100,000 per day until they meet accessibility compliance.

The AODA requirements are from the WCAG 2.1 (Web Content Accessibility Guide), penned by the Worldwide Consortium (W3E). This is an international community that develops open standards to ensure the long-term growth of the Web.

While Ontario is implementing the most comprehensive guidelines, other provinces have accessibility guidelines that should be adhered to, and it would not be surprising if they soon follow Ontario’s AODA model.

We have created a complete guide to Accessibility requirements for Canadian provinces. You can read it here.

Web Content Accessibility Guide 2.1 (WCAG) explained in three minutes

The WCAG’s core idea is based on creating a web environment that is accessible to everyone, using the following core principles as its defining criteria:

Perceivable: All users must be able to perceive all the information on your site including all images, text, videos, and audio.

Operable: All users must be able to use all functions on your website in an easy and operable manner.

Understandable: The user must be able to both operate and understand the website. The user may be able to click through content, but if they don’t understand the content itself, it’s not understandable.

Robust: Website must be compatible with assistive devices such as a screen reader. The content on the site must stay up to date with the newest compatibility guidelines.

WCAG 2.1 measuring standards 

The WCAG has different levels of measuring standards: level A, level AA, and Level AAA. For the AODA, the standard will be level AA, which includes:

  • Alt text with image that convey meaning.
  • Colour contrast ratio of 4.5:1
  • Consistency in navigation elements throughout the site
  • All form fields are labelled accurately
  • Logical order to headings

How Trufla can help:

All websites added to Trufla’s truWeb platform starting in 2021 will meet and exceed the WCAG 2.1 AA standards. So if you’re planning to move to our platform or already using truWeb, you will meet the requirements.

If you’re not currently on truWeb, not to worry, we have software we can use to optimize your existing site to meet the AODA standards. We’ll even help you file your paperwork for the June 30th deadline.

Is your site AODA compliant? We can score your site and let you know what you need to do to meet requirements. Send an email to thomas.b@trufla.com.

 

Did you know? 

Google search favours sites that are accessible, it’s one of their growing ranking factors!

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