Building Accessible Digital Services

The Accessible Canada Act

On June 21, 2019, Bill C-81, the Accessible Canada Act, received Royal Assent and subsequently came into force on July 11, 2019.

As the Canadian Government explains:

“Accessibility in Canada is about creating communities, workplaces and services that enable everyone to participate fully in society without barriers.”

Federally regulated entities are required to:

  • Create accessibility plans: Federal employers must create accessibility plans in consultation with persons with disabilities, which describe the entity’s strategy to improve accessibility and meet their legal duties.
  • Develop feedback tools: Federally regulated entities will need to set up a mechanism to receive and address feedback from its employees and consumers, which can include complaints about barriers encountered.
  • Publish progress reports: In consultation with persons with disabilities, these reports will detail how the organization fulfills its accessibility plan and outlines its consultations.

Examples of published plans include Public Service and ProcurementNova Scotia and British Columbia.

WCAG – Web Content Accessibility Guidelines

The World Wide Web Consortium have a substantial standards initiative underway to improve the accessibility of the web.

Key standards include the WCAG – Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. Version 2.2 covers a wide range of recommendations for making Web content more accessible.

Following these guidelines will make content more accessible to a wider range of people with disabilities, including accommodations for blindness and low vision, deafness and hearing loss, limited movement, speech disabilities, photosensitivity, and combinations of these, and some accommodation for learning disabilities and cognitive limitations; but will not address every user need for people with these disabilities.

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