AODA Deadlines: 2023 Update

Flags of Canada and Ontario against the glass front of a building, symbolizing Canadian accessibility laws.

In 2010, Donna Jodhan filed a digital accessibility lawsuit against the federal government of Canada because she was unable to independently apply for a job on its website using her assistive technology. Since her landmark victory in that case, Canada has been working towards increased accessibility in many different environments – both physical and digital. Ontario has been particularly progressive in this regard, legislating the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), a mandate to create and enforce accessibility standards in the province. 

You’ve probably heard more than once that AODA deadlines are looming for your Ontario-based business. But what does that mean for your organization, and how long do you really have? All organizations with 20 or more employees are required to comply by the end of 2023 or face hefty fines.


Deadline for Organizations with 20+ employees 

If your organization employs 20 or more people in Ontario (not counting volunteers, contractors, or those outside of Ontario), you must file an AODA Compliance Report by December 31, 2023.


What is the AODA Compliance Report?

The AODA compliance report requires organizations to verify that they are indeed complying with accessibility standards set by the AODA. That includes all previously instated AODA requirements including making public spaces accessible, training staff on Ontario accessibility laws, creating accessible hiring practices, and providing accessible customer service, among other things. If you don’t complete and submit an AODA compliance report, you may face enforcement which can include significant financial penalties. 

The AODA Compliance Report is a downloadable form that organizations must fill out. This form consists of a series of yes or no questions regarding your organization’s compliance with individual regulations within the AODA, with space to comment on your answers. The report must be certified by a senior officer in your organization with legal authority to vouch for its accuracy. After you’ve submitted the report you’ll receive a confirmation number verifying the submission. If the size, contact info, or address of your organization changes after you’ve submitted the report you’ll need to notify the government of Ontario of the change.


How do I know if my website is AODA Compliant?

Organizations should follow internationally-recognized WCAG 2.0 standards when making their public-facing website accessible. WCAG standards are centered around four pillars of accessibility; content must be perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust. Every part of your website must comply with these guidelines, including web page content, videos, images, charts, audio files, PDF documents, and more. It’s important to note that WCAG standards aren’t just a checklist of static points that will instantly make your website accessible. WCAG provides a framework for building digital content that everyone can use, regardless of their disabilities or how they access the content. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) designed these standards to be intentionally broad so they continue to apply to technology even as it changes. 


Penalties of noncompliance

Organizations that fail to comply with AODA standards can be fined up to $100,000 per day. Fines may also be imposed upon directors and officers of an organization that fails to comply, and could be up to $50,000 per day.


Avoid fines by making your PDFs accessible

If your website has PDFs that need to be remediated quickly to meet deadlines and avoid fines, contact us! Equidox uses automation to make PDF accessibility fast, easy, and efficient to get the job done quickly and accurately.


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Nina Overdorff

Nina comes to Equidox with years of sales and marketing experience from a variety of industries and holds a BS in Language Arts Education. Nina has a passion for words, storytelling, and information, which she believes everyone should have access to regardless of ability. After spending time as a teacher with a blind student, she became much more aware of the limitations and abilities of web accessibility, and how essential it is to those experiencing disabilities. “Being able to access information equally ensures that everyone has an equal opportunity for education, employment, and success in life.”

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