Web Accessibility laws coming soon

July 31, 2013 - By

New websites being made now should be accessible, BY LAW!!! Accessibility affects every level of web site production. Starting with design, the development, and the copy writing. It’s everyone’s job to know this stuff.

If this is all a bit daunting, here are some places to start: 

AODA (http://www.aoda.ca/): This is a governing body. They don’t have a standards set themselves; they enforce WCAG 2.0.

WCAG: Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. This group was developed by the W3C, and they set the standard for making the web accessible. They essentially have a collection of guidelines at three levels of strictness. Level A (the lowest) is required by law, in 2021 Level AA will be.

Here’s an excerpt from the AODA PDF linked below (bear in mind the law part here may only apply in Ontario Canada):

Beginning January 1, 2014: If you launch a new public website or your existing site undergoes a significant refresh, the site and any of its web content published after January 1, 2012, must conform to the World Wide Web Consortium Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, Level A

This applies to any work we are doing NOW. 

One of the most eye opening things I’ve done to learn about this subject was to attend an accessibility (A11Y) conference. There may be some in your area. If you’re near the GTA check out  http://www.accessibilitycampto.org/

Most of the reading and checklists are pretty dry, and very wordy. If you know of any resources that are maybe a bit more fun comment it up! If not maybe there’s an opportunity here ;)

There’s lots to read up on here. Here are some links to get started:

Links

WCAG 2.0 Guide: http://www.w3.org/WAI/WCAG20/quickref/

AODA Guide for Accessible Sites: http://www.mcss.gov.on.ca/documents/en/mcss/accessibility/iasr_info/website.pdf – there are a lot of good looking links off of this.

WCAG 2.0 Checklist: http://webaim.org/standards/wcag/checklist/

 

Update: The Stakes

And this is more than just best practice; from this page: http://www.aoda.ca/guide-to-the-act/

It is an offence to:

  • provide false or misleading information to a director or in an accessibility report
  • fail to comply with an order made under the AODA
  • block or fail to cooperate with an inspection
  • intimidate, coerce, penalize or discriminate against someone for
    seeking enforcement of the AODA, cooperating with an inspection or providing information as part of an inspection.

There are fines for persons or organizations convicted of an offence under
the AODA. The fines are:

  • up to $50,000 for each and every day or part day that an offence
    happens
  • for a corporation, up to $100,000 for each and every day or part
    day that an offence happens.

All directors and/or officers of a corporation must take all reasonable care
to prevent the corporation from committing an offence. Failure to do so is
an offence. The directors and/or officers of a corporation are liable to a fine
of up to $50,000 for each and every day or part day that the offence happens
[PART X, section 37].

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This post was written by ArleyM