AODA Deadlines Approach for Ontario Businesses

Ontario Skyline at night

In 2005, Ontario passed the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), mandating that all businesses be fully accessible to people with disabilities by 2025. “Ontario is the first jurisdiction in the world to require staff to be trained on accessibility,” said the Ontario Accessibility Action Plan. The AODA covers five aspects of business: customer service, employment, information and communications, transportation, and design of public spaces. Ontario aims to create a culture of accessibility in which all people are included and accessibility is a “way of life” for Ontarians. AODA accessibility deadlines are now approaching for Ontario businesses. 

What AODA digital accessibility deadlines apply to my business?

If you are:

A business with 20-49 employees

You must file an Accessibility Compliance Report by December 31, 2020. 

A business with 50 or more employees: 

You must file an Accessibility Compliance Report by December 31, 2020. 

You must make all websites and web content accessible by January 1, 2021. 

Accessibility Compliance Report by December 31, 2020

All businesses, both public and private, must file an Accessibility Compliance Report by December 31, 2020.  

Information about filing an Accessibility Compliance Report is found on the Ontario.ca website. You will need to download and fill out the form, making sure you choose the correct category for your organization or business. You will need a copy of Adobe Reader to access the form – a free copy can be downloaded from the Ontario website. The Ontario.ca website also has further information about accessibility for businesses as well, including guides, resources, and case studies. 

Full digital accessibility by January 2021

By January 1, 2021, all businesses with 50 or more employees will be required to be fully compliant with the Ontario digital accessibility requirements, which requires websites to adhere to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). The financial penalties for non-compliance are quite steep. 

You will need to make both your website and all web content (PDFs and any other document types found on your website) accessible in order to be compliant.  

WCAG standards have been updated since this law was passed.  While the AODA requires compliance with WCAG 2.0, there is now a WCAG 2.1, and it’s advisable to use that standard when working towards compliance, as it is the most up to date. 

Ontario offers training and information

Ontario wants businesses to succeed and accomplish accessibility goals to create a more inclusive community.  They provide training and information for businesses in Ontario, as well as free accessibility training available from the Ministry for Seniors

There may be funding available for your organization to help finance your accessibility project. 

If you’re not sure how to get started, contact us and we will be happy to help. We can provide training, test and audit your website for compliance, and help remediate any inaccessible documents.

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Tammy Albee

Tammy Albee | Content Marketer | Onix Tammy joined Onix after four years experience working at the National Federation of the Blind. She firmly maintains that accessibility is about reaching everyone, regardless of ability, and boosting your market share in the process. "Nobody should be barred from accessing information. It's what drives our modern society."