Web Site Accessibility LAW in Ontario

Is your business web site legally accessible in Ontario? Accessibility standards for website compliance are mandatory for many organizations here. It’s the law. It also makes good business sense for businesses that serve seniors and other users with distinct needs for usability, some of the most pervasive users of the Internet for general consumer information.

One important aspect of securing your information technology is to be aware of the regulatory risks, and, in particular, being aware of the laws that govern the information you convey to the public. RiPPUL Cyber Security services can review your web presence and guide you and set and achieve a plan to become compliant, and demonstrate to your customer base that you are a progressive and accessible business.

You must file an accessibility compliance report with the government of Ontario if:

  • a business or non-profit organization with 20 or more employees
  • a public-sector organization

Even if you’re not 20 or more employees, there is still law that applies to how your web site or communications must be constructed and planned for to include persons of disabilities.

The link to the Ontario Accessibility Compliance Report site contains a lot of information.

If you have 1-19 employees you must still see to the following sections regarding your web site:

  • Create accessibility policies and a multi-year plan
    • create policies and a multi-year accessibility plan to help you achieve your accessibility goals
    • tell your employees and customers about your policies
    • post the multi-year plan  on your website in an accessible format
  • Make websites accessible
    This includes only new websites and old websites you significantly update and new web content you create.

If you have 50+ employees, by January 1, 2021, you need to:

That means, the site must adhere to the following Guideline Principles of the WCAG 2.0.

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) standard is also used around the globe and was developed by the W3C, or, World Wide Web Consortium. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international community where Member organizations, a full-time staff, and the public work together to develop Web standards. Led by Web inventor and Director Tim Berners-Lee.

An image of a brail output device for a personal computer.

Principle 1 – Perceivable

Information and user interface components must be presentable to users in ways they can perceive. This means Text Alternatives, Recordings must have audio descriptions or captions, etc. The reading sequence must be perceived naturally, meaning simpler layouts.

Use of colour, text sizes, fonts, and contrast must be selected to meet specific criteria. Color is not used as the only visual means of conveying information.

Images of text are only used for pure decoration or where a particular presentation of text is essential to the information being conveyed.

Principle 2 – Operable

User interface components and navigation must be operable.
The text must be keyboard Accessible. All functionality of the content is operable through a keyboard interface without requiring specific timings for individual keystrokes.

The web site must be designed to guard against Seizures and Physical Reactions. Flashing,
Navigation must be logically tiered and ordered. Pages must be properly titled, and headings and labels must describe the topic or purpose. Links must be identified from link text.

The focus of keyboard entry must be made clear.

Principle 3 – Understandable

Information and the operation of the user interface must be understandable.
The language must be chosen to expand abbreviations, assist with pronunciation, and must offer content in a readability level of “lower secondary education level”.

A web page, must be consistent in it’s navigation and presentation.

Web page instructions or contextual help must be made available, and errors must be preventable. For example, a name field should never accept a $ dollar sign or number matching a Social Insurance Number.

Principle 4 – Robust

Content must be robust enough that it can be interpreted by a wide variety of user agents, including assistive technologies.
This essentially means that your web site should be renderable by any browsers, especially those that are specifically designed for users with special needs. Some examples include browsers that are designed to speak, or brail output devices.