UPDATED: Accessibility Deadline Approaching

By September 23, 2020Employers, Ontario

UPDATED OCTOBER 14, 2020

The Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility recently recognized that the COVID-19 outbreak has created challenges for many businesses and non-profit organizations and has therefore decided to extend the accessibility compliance reporting deadline from December 31, 2020, to June 30, 2021. This adjusted deadline applies to private sector organizations (i.e. businesses and non-profit), subject to the AODA, that have 20 or more employees in Ontario.

With that said, however, as per the Ministry website the deadline of January 1 2021 for businesses with over 50 employees to have all internet websites and content, accessible still applies.

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Small business owners of Ontario take note: compliance deadlines for 2 significant requirements under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) are just three months away.

By December 31, 2020, any designated public sector organizations and private/non-profit organizations with over 20 employees in Ontario must complete and submit an accessibility compliance report.

The purpose of the report is to confirm to the Government of Ontario that your business has met current accessibility requirements under the AODA.  The report is fairly straightforward, containing questions such as:

  • Does your business have a written accessibility policy and a statement of commitment?
  • Does your business provide training on the AODA Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation and the Human Rights Code?
  • Does your business have a process to provide accessible formats and communication to people with disabilities?

The report can be accessed online through the Government of Ontario’s website.

Additionally, businesses with 50 or more employees in Ontario must ensure that all internet websites and web content conform to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, Level AA, other than:

  • success criteria 1.2.4 Captions (Live); and
  • success criteria 1.2.5 Audio Descriptions (Pre-recorded).

An “Internet website” is defined in the AODA as a collection of related web pages, images, videos or other digital assets that are addressed relative to a common Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) and is accessible to the public. “Web content” includes documents such as Word and PDFs.

To learn more about the Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility and their requirements for businesses in Ontario visit their website.

Failure to comply with the aforementioned laws could lead to monetary fines imposed by the Director of the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario.

Jess Watt

Author Jess Watt

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