New 2014 Ontario Web Accessibility Law that you may not be aware of

You are probably aware of the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service piece of the AODA Accessibility Law. Many of you have had to go through the process to provide Accessible Customer Service to your customers.

Are you aware that since January 1st, 2014 your website MUST also be accessible? (If your business has over 50 employees).

Below is a conversation that has repeated itself over and over: 

Client:  “Can we please get a quotation for a website redevelopment? Here are the requirements.”

CMS Web Solutions:  “I notice you have over 50 employees. Where are your web accessibility requirements?

Client (sounding puzzled):   “What do you mean?”

CMS Web Solutions:   “The part of the AODA (Accessibility for Ontario Disability Act) legislation that touches on websites came into effect Jan 1, 2014. All Ontario companies (with more than 50 employees) building or re-building their websites must comply. ”

Client:  “Does it cost more?”

CMS Web Solutions:  “Usually it’s minimal if done during the build. Like adding chocolate chips to a cookie before you bake it – much harder to add them after they are baked. It’s more how a website is built.”

“If there’s more than just text and pictures, like PDF’s that need to be made accessible, then the costs can go up.

Client (pausing): “So we have to do this?”

CMS Web Solutions:  “Yes, it’s now law.”

What’s disturbing is that many other web development firms and agencies have no idea of the new requirements. And when they hear the words “web accessibility” they believe it means that the website can be viewed on various mobile devices and browsers. 

Need a brief summary on what web accessibility is and how to comply? Visit www.webaccessibilityexplained.ca for a free executive summary.