Updated January 7, 2021: The deadline to file accessibility compliance reports has been extended to June 30, 2021. The timeline for compliance has not changed, as of January 1, 2021 all web content published after January 1, 2012 must be compliant.
Starting in January 2021, all public sector websites and all organizations with 50 or more employees in Ontario must meet specific accessibility standards. Websites that are not accessible are at risk of fines up to $50,000 per day and private legal action—like these high-profile case against Beyoncé's Parkwood Entertainment last year and this case against the Canadian federal government.
Does the AODA deadline apply to my website?
If you answer yes to any of the following questions you must ensure that all of your web content posted after January 1, 2012 meets the WCAG 2.0 at Level AA (there are some exceptions for certain content like live captions and pre-recorded audio descriptions):
- Does your businesses and/or non-profit have 50 or more employees?
- Is your organization a municipality?
- Is your organization a library (including all public and those private libraries with 50 or more employees)?
- Are you considered a public-sector organization?
- Is your organization a public and private-sector educational institution?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may have to make some changes to your website to ensure it complies.
What updates do I need to make?
To make your website meet the AODA standards you may need to update your website in a number of ways. Some of the guidelines include:
- Use text alternatives for non-text content so it can be changed into other forms
- Make all functionality available through the use of a keyboard
- Maximize compatibility with different devices and browsers
- Provide navigation tools so users can find content and determine where on your website they are
- Make content easy to see (e.g. colour contrast) and hear
- Make text readable and understandable
There are many more areas covered in these guidelines, all of which enhance a user's experience and will make your website available to a larger number of people.
How do I get this done quickly?
For a quick introduction to accessibility, check out this post about what web accessibility is, exactly, and who it affects.
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are the most common set of standards internationally. In these guidelines, levels like AA or AAA refer to the degree that a website's design, development and content ensure it is accessible to all users.