What is AODA?
AODA stands for the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act 2005. It’s a law that sets out accessibility standards for organizations in Ontario.
The aim of AODA is to make Ontario more accessible and inclusive for people with disabilities. To identify, remove and prevent barriers for people with disabilities is important to the government of Ontario. In fact, they’re working towards a goal of making Ontario accessible by 2025.
Ontario is also the first province in the world to pass specific legislation with a goal and time-frame for accessibility. AODA is helping them in their efforts to create a place where everyone can fully take part in everyday life. And they’re calling on businesses, organizations and communities to help them reach their goal.
AODA compliance is the responsibility of all public, private and non-profit organizations in Ontario with 1 or more employees. To help, AODA outlines 5 standards that support organizations to improve accessibility.
On this page discover:
Each of the 5 AODA standards outlines rules that sectors across Ontario must follow to improve accessibility for Ontarians.
For example, under the standards, organizations must give information in accessible formats or with communication support when asked for.
As well as the above, 2 new ADOA standards are being developed. They are:
- The Health Care Standards which will specifically guide healthcare providers to improve accessibility. For example, under the Design of Public Spaces Standards, healthcare providers must make new and redeveloped public spaces accessible. However the new Health Care Standards will outline how to make medical settings more accessible. Such as giving guidance to help designers create accessible hospital rooms.
- The Education Standards which will address specific barriers facing students from kindergarten to grade 12. As well as barriers to university and college.
These new standards will address accessibility barriers that the current 5 AODA standards do not.
WCAG is the international standard for website accessibility and is used by accessibility laws all around the world. It explains how to make websites and apps accessible to people with disabilities. There are 3 levels of conformance.
WCAG Level AA is considered the most achievable. It tackles the most common barriers for disabled users. At this level, your website would be considered usable and understandable for most people, including those with disabilities.
January 1, 2021: Ontario Organizations with 50+ Employees
Organizations within this category were obliged to make sure their websites were accessible by January 1, 2021. This must be confirmed in the Accessibility Compliance Report due June 30, 2021.
Meeting AODA compliance
To meet AODA compliance organizations must meet the rules set out under each of the 5 AODA standards. Not only that, in 2011 the AODA standards became part of the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (IASR). That means that organizations must also meet the general requirements below:
- give training to staff and volunteers
- develop an accessibility policy
- create a multi-year accessibility plan and update it every five years
- consider accessibility in buying and when designing or buying self-service kiosks
To help you improve accessibility, we’ve created two WCAG checklists. One for your marketing team, and the other for your design team. It’ll help them to keep accessibility in mind as they create new digital content.
Accessibility is an ongoing journey. It’s something that every organization should work towards. And maintain. Not only is it simply the right thing to do, it’s good for business too.
At Texthelp, we’re on our own journey with digital access and inclusion. To improve accessibility company-wide, we’re using ReachDeck. It’s a digital inclusion software that we created, because there was no all-in-one solution that met our needs. It supports WCAG compliance by helping you improve the accessibility and readability of online content.