More than 6 million people with disabilities live in Canada, and more than 2 million are from Ontario alone. Currently, most of them can’t use websites just like everyone else. This is what the AODA comes to fix, and not complying can have costly consequences.
Suppose you’re a business owner, a non-profit organization, or any kind of web agency that operates in Canada. In that case, chances are you have come across the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) guidelines for web accessibility.
What are these guidelines, and how do they impact your business? This short guide will focus on the basics of AODA compliance and why it’s crucial for you and your company to attain and maintain compliance.
What Is AODA?
The important thing to know about the AODA is that it officially went into effect on June 30th, 2021. And not complying with it might put you at risk of $100,000 for each day of non-compliance.
The AODA is a 2005 provincial law of Ontario and extends the 2001 Ontarians with Disabilities Act. This law set the bar high for Ontarians with disabilities, making the web equally accessible for everyone.
With the Accessible Canada Act of 2018, the government enforces laws and regulations in consultations with stakeholders to improve the lives of people with disabilities. AODA, in particular, focuses only on the web accessibility standards in the State of Ontario, having passed on June 13th, 2005.
All registered businesses and agencies are required to follow and comply with the law.
The legislation is part of the Government of Ontario’s vision to make all businesses and public sector organizations inclusive and accessible for everyone by the deadline of 2025.
How to Test My Website’s Accessibility?
To protect your business and make sure your site is compliant with the AODA, the first step you should take is to test the current level of accessibility for the site, identifying the issues that require attention and resolution.
You can run a quick and free test with aCe, an accessibility checker that checks your website and provides a detailed audit of your site’s level of compliance. aCe provides you with an accurate picture of your website’s compliance with the AODA requirements.
Become AODA Compliant with accessiBe
Once you’ve got an accurate picture of your current level of compliance, you can install our industry-leading web accessibility automated solution and become accessible and compliant. The solution is effortless. It takes no more than 2 minutes of installation, and within 48 hours, your site is compliant. It’s also extremely affordable, with pricing starting at $49 a month. It’s a “no brainer” choice for you and your company.
Web Agencies - Why Does AODA Matter to You?
If you’re a web agency, you have even bigger responsibilities than business owners.
As an agency, you work with several businesses simultaneously. As a responsible business, you now need to convey the importance of AODA compliance to your clients and design websites that meet the set criteria laid out by the Government of Ontario.
You need to remove the barrier of accessibility by designing immersive user experiences catering to all types of audiences, including people with disabilities. While the clients may not be particularly interested in web accessibility, it’s your job to convince them to provide web accessibility solutions.
But when you have a solution as simple as accessiBe, you as a web agency don’t have any reasons not to offer it to your clients as part of building and improving their websites. accessiBe also has a partners program dedicated exclusively to web agencies. You can find more information here or simply schedule a demo.
For many of us, the internet has revolutionized our lives. Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, work has shifted to where it’s now possible to be primarily remote-based. Offices have shut down, and employers/employees who were once reluctant now gladly work from home. This means that an ever-increasing number of people with disabilities rely on this medium to earn a living, interact with friends, family members, and clients, make purchases, and learn new information.
With the AODA in effect and the shift to the online world, it’s time to make websites accessible. And don’t just do it because of the law, do it because it’s the right thing to do.