The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)
Digital accessibility law- The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) needs no introduction to organizations in Ontario, Canada. Public and private sector establishments in the Province of Ontario must provide access to Ontarians with disabilities concerning goods, services, building, accommodation, facilities, employment, including public websites and web content published after January 1st, 2012.
Passed as far back as 2005, AODA requires public institutions such as government institutions, educational institutions, and private organizations with 50+ employees including nonprofits, and private educational institutions to make websites and web content compliant with the international standard- the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 AA success criteria by January 1st, 2021. This includes text, videos, sounds, images, forms, PDFs, buttons, logins, etc. Invariably, organizations must follow WCAG to be AODA compliant.
AODA covers websites and web content, including web-based applications owned by organizations based in Ontario and those that conduct business in Ontario (have at least one employee in Ontario) via a contractual relationship that allows for the alternation of the product.
AODA compliance requires public, private, and non-profit organizations (with 20 or more employees) to complete an Accessibility Compliance Report following the required first compliance report in 2014 and every three years after. The compliance report is a self-assessment confirming the organization’s compliance with accessibility requirements and standards under the Ontario regulation. Organizations/employers are required to fill out a compliance report form on the Ontario website.
Good thing for business- the completion of the AODA Accessibility Compliance Report has now been extended to June 30, 2021 (from December 31, 2020). To complete the report, employers must fill out a compliance report form. You can find the form and information on how to fill it out on the Ontario.ca website.
Why you should be AODA compliant
Since the AODA Act references WCAG 2.0 Level AA other than criteria 1.2.4 and 1.2.5 (live captioning and pre-recorded audio descriptions) as a technical guideline and requirement, to be AODA compliant means to follow the WCAG guidelines in making your website accessible.
Failure to be AODA compliant will result in financial penalties of up to $100,000 for corporations or $50,000 for individuals or unincorporated organizations.
With about 24% of Ontario’s population living with a form of disability, improving accessibility is not only ethically right, but it is also definitely the smart thing to do. Forward-thinking organizations would be sending a welcome message to persons with disabilities and their families who are likely to be attracted due to influence.
How to scan your website for AODA website compliance
- Enter a URL/domain.
- Get an accurate and easy-to-understand audit (with visual illustrations and recommendations).
- Share the audit report with your team.
- Start fixing your site and ensure barrier-free access to people with disabilities.
A unique accessibility testing tool
Our free software automatically scans your website and identifies accessibility errors according to WCAG 2.0/2.1- AODA accessibility testing standards and their impact on individuals with a variety of disabilities.
Our automated web accessibility checker assesses the website's coding and provides a detailed audit report that contains prioritized recommendations to enable you to remove barriers that could prevent people with disabilities from accessing the site.
How it works
The web accessibility scanner is fully automated, sorting your testing categories into:
- High impact: issues that need urgent attention
- Medium impact: corrections needed
- Low impact: require manual review
Our AODA compliance checker provides a report that allows you to filter by:
- Guidelines (WCAG 2.0/2.1) Level A-AAA
- Priority (high, medium, and low impact)
Control your audit
The web accessibility checker also provides information on the accessibility barriers, best practices on how to test, and visual examples of wrong and right ways to achieve AODA compliance.
Because the website's status can change during updates, ongoing compliance monitoring via periodic assessment is just as important as remediating the website to be compliant. Regular testing for compliance monitoring helps organizations in proving compliance.
FAQ - AODA
What is AODA?
Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) is an Ontario legislation that mandates public and private sector organizations provide access to people with disabilities concerning goods, services, building, accommodation, facilities, employment, information and communications technology, including websites and web content.
Who must be AODA Compliant?
By law, private or non-profit organizations with 50+ employees; or public sector organizations must ensure their websites and applications are accessible to people with disabilities.
What is the deadline for AODA Compliance?
By January 1, 2021 and henceforth, all public websites and web content must be accessible.
What are the requirements for AODA website compliance?
All public websites and web content posted after January 1, 2012 must meet WCAG 2.0 Level AA other than criteria 1.2.4 (live captions) and 1.2.5 (pre-recorded audio descriptions) by January 1, 2021 and henceforth.
How to achieve AODA Compliance?
By ingraining accessibility in your company culture and making sure all information and communications covered by AODA are accessible to people with disabilities.
How do I perform AODA compliance testing?
By testing your website against the WCAG 2.0 AA using the Accessi.org web accessibility checker.
Is your website AODA compliant?
Test on Accessi.org