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Understanding AODA & Website Accessibility

Jun 08 2021 |
Ontario has a goal to become fully accessible for people with disabilities by 2025, so that those with disabilities have more opportunities to participate in everyday life.  You’re likely aware of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), but what you might not know is how the AODA applies to your website and other digital properties. 
Under the AODA, all public sector, private and non-profit organizations are required to make their websites accessible.  By January 1st, 2021, all public websites and web content posted after 2012, must meet the WCAG Level AA.  The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) is an internationally accepted standard for web accessibility developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).  

WCAG guidelines will make content accessible to people with a wide range of disabilities, including:
  • Blindness and low vision
  • Deafness and hearing loss
  • Learning disabilities
  • Cognitive impairments
  • Mobility impairments
  • Speech impairments
Following the WCAG guidelines will not only make your website and content more accessible to people with disabilities, it will also make it more usable by older individuals with changing abilities due to ageing and ultimately it will improve the overall experience for all users.  WCAG’s guidelines and success criteria are organized around the following principles, which lay the foundation necessary for anyone to access and use web content:
  1. Perceivable: Information and user interface components must be presentable to users in ways they can perceive. 
  2. Operable: User interface components and navigation must be operable.
  3. Understandable: Information and the operation of user interface must be understandable.
  4. Robust: Content must be robust enough that it can be interpreted reliably by a wide variety of user agents, including assistive technologies.
It’s important to know that AODA compliance is not optional.  Companies can face fines of up to $100,000 a day for non-compliance and directors and officers of a corporation with fiduciary responsibility are liable for a fine of up to $50,000 a day.

Though Level AA compliance is not required until 2021, as an interactive agency with particular thought leadership, A.K.A. has been developing websites to meet Level AA for several years.  Because of our commitment to the AODA and our client’s success, we have partnered with Siteimprove to offer our client’s a complimentary digital audit of their site to evaluate where they currently stand in advance of the upcoming deadline.  Siteimprove is a global leader in digital accessibility and website optimization solutions, helping over 7,500 organizations world-wide provide a more inclusive online experience.

AODA Compliant Level AA websites developed by A.K.A., featured in banner: