AODA: Accessibility Compliance Reports Extended while WCAG Deadline Remains

Under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (the “AODA”) organizations with at least 20 employees, whether a business organization or a non-profit, are required to submit an annual compliance report by December 31 of each year. The report is intended to confirm that the organization has met its current accessibility requirements under the AODA and the accompanying Integrated Accessibility Standards.

Information on completing the annual accessibility compliance report can be found by clicking here.

Due to the impact of COVID-19, the deadline to file an accessibility compliance report has been extended to June 30, 2021 from the original deadline of December 31, 2020. This means that employers in Ontario have an additional 6 months to complete their report. At this time, it is unclear whether the Ontario government will require another report to be filed on December 31, 2021.

The accessibility compliance report must be filed using the standardized form, which can be found at the Ontario Central Forms Repository by clicking here.

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines

While the deadline for the report has been pushed forward, an additional deadline for organizations with at least 50 employees is looming. According to the AODA, by January 1, 2021, those organizations are required to ensure that any content posted on their public website after January 1, 2012 is compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 Level AA (WCAG) standard. This means that content must be accessible for individuals that may suffer from vision impairment, hearing impairment, learning disabilities and other disabilities that may affect their ability to interact with the organization’s website.

Extensive documentation of the WCAG 2.0 Level AA standard can be found at the following website: https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/

Compliance will depend on the complexity and type of website of the organization. Action items may include providing text alternatives for controls, inputs, and other website content; providing subtitles or captions on pre-recorded videos; enhanced colour contrasts; controls for text size; screen reader compatibility; and more.  Note that organizations are not required to provide simultaneous captions for live audio content and descriptions for pre-recorded audio content under WCAG 2.0 1.2.4 and 1.2.5.

Additional resources on making websites accessible can be found from the Government of Ontario at: https://www.ontario.ca/page/how-make-websites-accessible

If you have any questions or require assistance reviewing your organization’s compliance with AODA requirements, do not hesitate to contact Bridge Legal & HR Solutions at admin@bridgelegalhr.ca or at (647) 794-5442.

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