December 1, 2020by Israel Foulon LLP
The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) was enacted in 2005 with the express purpose of advancing participation and engagement for Ontarians with disabilities and thereby creating an accessible Ontario by 2025. As such, it is important that businesses are mindful of their obligations under the AODA. In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Ontario has extended the deadline for private sector organizations to file their AODA compliance reports from December 31, 2020 until June 30, 2021.
Under the AODA, the Government of Ontario is responsible for creating accessibility standards that all businesses and organizations must follow. The AODA sets out specific accessibility standards for:
- Customer Service
- Information and Communication
- Employment; and
- Design of Public Spaces
We recommend that businesses review their AODA accessibility obligations HERE.
Accessible Websites by January 1, 2021
With many Ontarians working from home, during the COVID-19 Pandemic, it is more important than ever for businesses to ensure that their websites are accessible to individuals with disabilities. All businesses with 50 employees or more and all public sector organizations must ensure that their websites meet WCAG 2.0 standards by January 1, 2021.
WCAG is an internationally accepted standard for website accessibility and business are encouraged to work with developers to ensure that their websites are accessible.
Details on how you can make your website WCAG 2.0 compliant can be accessed HERE.
Deadline to File Accessibility Compliance Reports Extended to June 30, 2021
All businesses and organizations with more than 20 employees must file an accessibility compliance report with the Government of Ontario that confirms that they have met current accessibility requirements under the AODA.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Ontario has extended the deadline for private sector organizations to file accessibility compliance reports from December 31, 2020 to June 30, 2021. The extension does not apply to public sector organizations. Organizations that fail to file their compliance report could face enforcement, which may include significant financial penalties. Details on how to complete your accessibility compliance reports can be accessed HERE.