What is AODA?

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, or AODA, aims to identify, remove, and prevent barriers for people with disabilities.

The AODA became law on June 13, 2005 and applies to all levels of government, nonprofits, and private sector businesses in Ontario that have one or more employees (full-time, part-time, seasonal, or contract).

One important area to consider under the AODA is website compliance. There are accessibility standards under the law that directly apply to web and digital accessibility. One of these is the Information and Communications Standards (Part II of the AODA).

Who must comply?

By law, you must make new and significantly refreshed public websites accessible if you are:

  • a private or non-profit organization with 50+ employees; or
  • a public sector organization

 Is your website AODA Compliant?

There are different levels of adhering to WCAG 2.0, depending on how accessible a website is. These are A, AA, and AAA.

A new AODA requirement for Ontario websites will come into force on January 1st, 2021. Under the Information and Communications Standards, organizations must make their websites and web-based apps accessible. Organizations  must do so by making their websites compliant with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, Level AA.

In addition to WCAG 2.0, a new version, WCAG 2.1, has also been introduced. WCAG 2.1 covers everything that WCAG 2.0 does but also has a few additions, targeted towards making mobile devices, websites, and apps more accessible. WCAG 2.1 isn’t a required standard yet, but organizations can “future proof” themselves by elevating their standards to WCAG 2.1.

What are common issues?

Below, you will find a high level checklist of many of the criteria that must be followed for AODA compliance. You can also visit the Government of Ontario’s “How to Make Websites Accessible” page for a more detailed checklist.

  • Non-text elements on the website, such as images, have text alternatives.
  • Understanding the meaning of the content does not depend on being able to perceive colors, sounds, object size, etc.
  • Individuals are able to pause, stop or control the volume of any audio that plays for more than three seconds.
  • Web pages and links have self-explanatory titles.
  • Text can be resized (enlarged).
  • Website functions work using a keyboard.
  • If there is a short time limit for certain functions, individuals can control or extend the time limit.
  • There is nothing on the website that flashes rapidly.

How can Point Alliance help?

Point Alliance can help organizations in a variety of ways, including the following:

  • Assessing your website(s) for AODA compliance
  • Preparing a list of recommended website enhancements to meet your compliance requirements
  • Implementing the necessary changes into your web pages and templates
  • Making any other additional changes to your website to assist in modernizing the site
  • Ensuring that your website has a responsive design and is optimized for mobile devices

We have been actively working with many of our clients throughout 2020 to ensure that their websites will meet or exceed the required standards. We have the tools and methodology to assist organizations of any size and would welcome the opportunity to assist you.

Call me, Jonathan Hamilton at 416-943-1556 to schedule a 10-minute virtual coffee. I look forward to meeting you.

We hope you have found this edition of “To The Point” by Jonathan Hamilton to be helpful and informative. Look out for our next installment as we continue to explore unique topics from business to the latest technology.

We want to hear your point! If you have any ideas, suggestions or any questions about our weekly blog, please contact us at: info@pointalliance.com.

Warm regards,

Point Alliance Team