Among the most important issues which organizations face under
the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act
("AODA") is the requirement to change websites.
The new AODA requirements for websites kicked-in for government
entities in 2012, but for large (50 employees or more) private
organizations (including not-for-profit organizations), the
obligations started on January 1, 2014. What are those duties?
If an organization starts a new website (with a new domain
name) it must be compliant with AODA from Day One;
If an organization gives its existing website a
"significant refresh" after January 1, 2014 it must be
compliant with AODA. Any content on that website dated from January
1, 2012 or after must be accessible.
Every large organization website in the Province has to be
compliant by January 1, 2021.
The practical questions for organizations are: "just
what does it mean to be compliant?" And
"what's a significant refresh?"
A compliant website is one which satisfies an international
standard called the World Wide Web Consortium's Web Content
Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0. This means providing text
alternatives for any non-text content to facilitate conversions
into different formats such as Braille, creating high contrast
visuals that enable persons with sight limitations to use the
website, and like changes. The WCAG 2.0 sets out three levels of
accessibility standards (A, AA & AAA). Large organizations must
conform with the Level A requirements after January 1, 2014, and
with the Level AA requirements (subject to certain exceptions)
after January 1, 2021.
Existing websites are immune from the requirement until they
undergo the so-called "significant refresh." Guidance
materials provided by the Government of Ontario clarify that a
"significant refresh" means changing more than 50% of the
content, design or technology (e.g., web publishing platform/model)
of the website.
Equally practical is this consideration: by 2021, every large
organization website has to be compliant with AODA, in respect of
any content dated January 1, 2012 or later. This means websites
will be getting a "significant refresh" by the end of
2020 at the latest. If companies are considering any substantial
changes to their websites before then, they might consider
adding the accessibility tools now, rather than paying to
re-build the website again in a few years.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
The prospect of an internal investigation raises many thorny issues. This presentation will canvass some of the potential triggering events, and discuss how to structure an investigation, retain forensic assistance and manage the inevitable ethical issues that will arise.
From the boardroom to the shop floor, effective organizations recognize the value of having a diverse workplace. This presentation will explore effective strategies to promote diversity, defeat bias and encourage a broader community outlook.
Staying local but going global presents its challenges. Gowling WLG lawyers offer an international roundtable on doing business in the U.K., France, Germany, China and Russia. This three-hour session will videoconference in lawyers from around the world to discuss business and intellectual property hurdles.
Unfortunately, reasonable accommodation for employees in the workplace continues to be the source of significant litigation and even today we continue to see outrageous examples of employers behaving badly.
We are now beginning to see reported cases involving charges and subsequent fines laid against employers for failing to provide information, instruction and supervision to protect a worker from workplace violence.
On October 13, 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada denied leave to appeal an Ontario Court of Appeal decision which ordered an employer to pay a former employee 37 months of salary and benefits following termination.
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).