Accessibility Laws and Your Website
Designing smart and inclusive websites for everyday users
Ontario is the first Canadian Province to pass the accessibility law (Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act — AODA) in 2005 in order to develop accessibility standards for public and private sectors — in physical as well as digital spaces.
More than 1.85 million (1 in 7) people in Ontario and 4.4 million people in Canada have a disability. This number is on the rise as our population ages.
Accessibility is no longer an option — it’s is a necessity.
What does this mean for your company?
By law, you must follow the AODA guidelines and make new and significantly refreshed websites accessible if you are an organization with 50+ employees or a public sector organization.
By the 1st of January 2021 all websites and web content must comply with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1.
What is WCAG 2.1?
WCAG is an internationally accepted standard for web accessibility developed by the World Wide Consortium (W3C), an international team of experts.
Users who benefit from these guidelines may have a wide range of disabilities, including:
- Blindness and low vision
- Deafness and hearing loss
- Learning disabilities
- Cognitive impairments
- Mobility impairments
“Is anyone really checking my site?”
Under the AODA, the deputy minister has the power to appoint inspectors. The inspector’s job is to see if persons and organizations are meeting the accessibility standards and/or complying with the Act and its regulations.
Failure to comply with the AODA can put your organization at risk of being fined $100,000 per day. Directors and officers can be fined up to $50,000 per day.
Benefits of having an accessible website
Enhancing your website
Accessibility benefits all and offers a better experience to your clients. This case study on NPR’s “This American Life” shows that accessible websites have better search results, therefore they reach a bigger audience. They have faster download times, and have better usability.
Increasing your market reach
According to the Royal Bank of Canada, people with disabilities have an estimated spending power of about $25 billion annually across Canada. People with disabilities also represent a large pool of untapped employment potential. Reaching out to customers with disabilities may enable business to tap into $9.6 billion more in revenue.
Assess your website with an audit
A web accessibility audit is an expert evaluation of your website analyzing how much you comply with the AODA requirements.
We offer a free website accessibility audit quote.
Your quote is calculated for a full audit based on:
- Measuring your written and graphic content for readability/visibility
- Measuring your website’s performance and functionality (i.e. page loading speed, tools like onsite search)
You will receive a summary score of these measurements with your quote.
Here’s Some Examples!
Take a look at some key features used in accessible websites and learn how to fix common issues: