What is AODA Compliance?

What is AODA Compliance?

What is AODA Compliance?

AODA, Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, is a landmark provincial legislation passed in 2005. It sets out a comprehensive framework to ensure that Ontario becomes fully accessible by 2025, requiring both public and private sectors, as well as non-profits, to meet accessibility standards.
As a business owner, you must comply with this law to ensure your organization is accessible. This Act is an improvement upon the earlier Ontarians with Disabilities Act of 2001 and is a significant step forward in achieving a barrier-free Ontario.

What are the 5 Standards of AODA?

The AODA needs organizations and individuals to follow accessibility rules that are broken down into five areas of your business:
  • Information and communications (including your business’s digital documents, apps, and websites)
  • Transportation
  • Customer service
  • Design of public spaces
  • Employment
These standards have been reinforced by committee members of different backgrounds, including people with disabilities. The Ontario government has a goal of making the province completely accessible to people with disabilities by 2025. Written into the AODA is a time period during which all government, public-sector organizations, and organizations of various sizes must adhere to accessibility regulations. Keep in mind that there is already a Human Rights Legislation present in Ontario that explicitly prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities. The AODA does not replace the Ontario Human Rights Code but sets out clear procedures that said entities must follow to ensure their services and policies are AODA-compliant.

Who Must Comply with AODA Standards?

Organizations designated as public sector or having 50 or more employees are required to adhere to the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) by making their public websites accessible. This requirement applies to both new websites as well as sites with substantial updates to their content’s look, feel, or navigation. All new websites or websites that have undergone significant changes to their look, content, and navigation must comply with website regulations. A new website is one with a different web address, while a significantly refreshed website is one that has kept its address but has made changes to its overall appearance, content, and navigation.

What Happens When One Doesn’t Follow AODA Compliance?

Discrimination against people with disabilities can be damaging both to their well-being and an organization’s reputation, and non-compliance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) can lead to hefty financial penalties. For individuals, a fine of up to $50,000 per day or part day can be imposed for any violation. Corporations can face up to $100,000 per day or part day for failing to adhere to the Act’s requirements.
The AODA outlines three distinct categories of violations, each carrying its own penalties. Here is the categorization of non-compliance to AODA Ontario:

1. For Minor Cases

When a particular feature of a website is inaccessible to certain people with disabilities, such as text content being incompatible with a screen reader, these are considered minor violations.

2. For Moderate Cases

Showing a lack of concern for accessibility standards on digital platforms can result in negative consequences and are counted in moderate violation cases.

3. For Major Cases

This category mainly concerns physical or structural issues, but a website could violate a major rule. For example, according to the WCAG’s Success Criterion G19, light flashes on a webpage should be kept to a minimum to avoid triggering seizures in people with certain photo-sensitivity issues. A website with flashing-light features and no way to control them could be seen as endangering users with disabilities or other problems.

How PREP’s Document Remediation Solution Can Help You?

PREP is an AI-enabled technology that makes it easy to import and tag content from PowerPoint (PPTX), Word Document (Docx), or PDF documents. It creates a hierarchical structure based on labels and tags, making it easier for screen reader users or assistive technology device users to navigate. It also allows users to annotate, assign tags, make corrections, and add alternative text (alt text) to images. Moreover, it can check documents for compliance with Section 508, WCAG 2.0, PDF U/A, and ADA.

We provide customized accessibility solutions for organizations and professionals at the most affordable rates! Contact us to learn more!

Editors:

Debangku Sarma

Digital Marketing Associate
Continual Engine

Vijayshree Vethantham

Senior Vice-President, Growth & Strategy
Continual Engine US LLC

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