The government of Ontario, Canada established a law in 2005 that is “The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)” in order to enforce accessibility standards for government, businesses, nonprofits, and public sector organizations.
As per the upcoming deadlines under AODA, by January 1st, 2021, all the public sector organizations and private/non-profit organizations with 50 or more employees in Ontario must make their websites adhere to the WCAG 2.0, Level AA guidelines excluding the success criteria Captions(Live) and Audio Descriptions(Pre-recorded).
The reason behind why the Ontario Government is strict with the rules for an organization to adhere to accessibility standards is rather an important one. It entails providing a seamless usage of digital technology by persons with disabilities to meet their daily activities which involve accessing websites.
Failing to comply with the accessibility standards, Directors and Officers would be convicted of an offense and be fined up to $50,000 per day and for a corporation, up to $100,000 per day.
So, let's elaborate upon what needs to be done to make sure that the AODA compliant website services in Toronto are in sync with the target set by Ontario of making a fully accessible province by 2025 and also the website is AODA compliant before the deadline arrives.
Image Source: Google
AODA references The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 as the technical standard for web compliance. These internationally recognized and adopted standards offer detailed guidance and success criteria for removing the barriers that people with disabilities encounter on the web.
WCAG has four guiding principles which require web content to be:
- Perceivable: Information can be perceived in multiple ways; for example, non-text content has alternative text, or videos have captions or audio descriptions.
- Operable: User interface and navigation functionality are available from a keyboard, as well as other input modalities like speech recognition and gestures.
- Understandable: Content is readable and understandable to the broadest possible audience, and appears and operates in predictable ways.
- Robust: Content is compatible with current and future tools, including browsers, assistive technologies, and other user agents.