The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act or AODA was passed into law in 2005 and seeks to prevent barriers to resource access for people with disabilities. While applicable to businesses in Ontario that have one or more employees, requirements and deadlines are specific to a business' size and type. Generally, AODA is made up of give standards as well as some general requirements. The five standards are Customer Service, Information and Communication, Employment, Transportation and Design of Public Spaces. These AODA standards in turn are part of the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (IASR), which includes the following general requirements: provide training, develop an accessibility policy, create a multi-year accessibility plan updated every five years and consider accessibility in procurement and when utilizing self-service kiosks. To learn more about AODA, click here.
Why You Should Care
So, you've got a website for your business but why should you care about accessibility? Because it's the right thing to do and anyway you are legally required to follow the AODA with enforcement fines of up to $100,000 per day. And this is not to mention that people with disabilities, according to accessontario.com, have approximately $25 billion in spending power across Canada, so it is financially beneficial to decrease barriers to access on your website for people with disabilities. Why would you want to pass up so many potential customers?
Since the beginning of 2014, all organizational websites for companies with 50 or more employees must conform with accessibility requirements under the AODA. Internet-based mobile apps have requirements under this standard as well. Areas to consider include social media accessibility, contrast and color schemes, screen reader compatibility, simple and clear writing, form validation and error recovery, alternate text for images and typographical layout. To learn more about the specific tools and techniques used to increase website accessibility, check out this collection of articles.
If you need help designing an accessible website or improving the accessibility of your existing site, contact us. We'd be happy to help.