Preparing for the Upcoming AODA Web Compliance Deadlines

By now, organizations in Ontario, Canada should be well acquainted with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). The Act applies to every organization in the public and private sectors of the Province of Ontario and aims to remove barriers to access for Ontarians with disabilities with respect to ‘goods, services, facilities, accommodation, employment, buildings, structures and premises on or before January 1, 2025’. This also includes access to public websites and web content published after January 1st, 2012. To comply with the AODA, organizations will have to meet the standards set by the act by specific deadlines based on the size of the institution and the sector it operates within. Here are two upcoming AODA compliance deadlines for 2020 and 2021 that organizations in Ontario will need to prepare for:
December 31, 2020 - filing an AODA compliance report.

As a general requirement of AODA compliance, public, private, and non-profit organizations will need to complete an Accessibility Compliance Report every three years following the first compliance report in 2014. The compliance report requirement applies to organizations and non-profits with 20 or more employees, as well as public sector organizations. The report itself is a self-assessment that should confirm that the organization is complying with the current accessibility requirements and standards under the AODA. To complete the report, employers must fill out a compliance report form. You can find the form, as well as information on how to fill it out on the Ontario.ca website.
January 1, 2021 - Website accessibility

Private and non-profit organizations with 50 or more employees and all public sector organizations must make all their public websites and web content posted after January 2012 accessible. The AODA uses the WCAG 2.0 level AA as their standard of accessibility and websites must conform to all WCAG criteria, except for criteria 1.2.4 (on live captioning ) and 1.2.5 (on pre-recorded audio descriptions). You can find a breakdown of the guidelines on how to make your website accessible on the Ontario.ca website.

Failure to confirm compliance with these deadlines will result in financial penalties.

Preparing for the deadlines

With the upcoming deadlines, organizations must conduct a full audit of their accessibility to assess their current status of compliance. This will help them review any significant changes within the organization since the last report that may have affected compliance, as well as ensure that they have the appropriate policies, standards, and procedures in place to file a compliance report. And with web accessibility, having an auditing tool that assesses and documents website progress in accordance with the WCAG will be valuable for proving compliance. 

Looking for a web accessibility solution that will help you comply with the AODA? Monsido can help. Learn more about our web accessibility auditing and reporting tool with a free product tour and website consultation