New Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) guidelines for website compliance have taken effect — and your business must respond accordingly. If you understand the guidelines and what they mean for your business and its staff, you can take appropriate measures to optimize your site’s accessibility going forward.
What Is AODA, and What Does It Mean for Your Business?
AODA is a law that defines a process for developing and enforcing accessibility standards. It was passed in 2005 and encourages people with disabilities and industry representatives to work with the government to create and implement these standards.
According to AODA, the government is responsible for launching accessibility standards for organizations to follow. Organizations can then implement and enforce these standards, and ultimately, foster accessibility and inclusion across Ontario.
New AODA guidelines relating to website compliance were implemented January 1. The guidelines state that internet websites and web content must conform with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level AA (excluding pre-recorded audio descriptions and live captioning). These guidelines apply to private and nonprofit organizations with 50 or more employees and public sector organizations. If your company does not comply with AODA’s guidelines for website compliance, it could face penalties that range anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000 per day.
What Types of Web Content Must Comply with the New AODA Guidelines?
The new AODA guidelines apply to all web content, including:
Under the guidelines, you are not required to ensure web content posted before 2012 or used internally accessible in accordance with WCAG 2.0 Level AA. However, doing so can be beneficial for your business, particularly if you want to show your employees you are willing to do everything possible to support them.
Tips to Ensure Your Website Complies with the New AODA Guidelines
If you are concerned your company’s website falls short of meeting the new AODA guidelines, there is no need to stress. In fact, there are many things you can do to verify your site complies with these guidelines, including:
Review WCAG 2.0 Level AA:
Read through WCAG 2.0 Level AA, and you can find out exactly what needs to be done to ensure your site complies with the new AODA guidelines.
Conduct a Website Audit:
Evaluate your website’s accessibility, so you can identify any problem areas and address them right away.
Update Your Website:
Give your website a fresh look and feel; that way, your new site will be highly accessible and can comply with the new AODA guidelines.
You should stay up to date on AODA guidelines going forward, too. In doing so, you can do your part to contribute to making Ontario accessible and inclusive for all individuals.
Take Your Business to the Next Level
In addition to building an accessible and inclusive website, your company should do everything possible to hire top talent. At Employment Professionals Canada, we can connect you with light industrial and technical talent that helps your company achieve its short- and long-term goals. To learn more, please contact us today.