Businesses and non-profits with 20 or more employees now have until June 30, 2021, to file an accessibility compliance report with the Ontario Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility. The original deadline was December 31, 2020. The purpose of the report is to confirm all applicable accessibility requirements under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 have been met.
The accessibility compliance report is submitted through a standardized form that asks organizations to answer a series of "yes or no" questions and certify they have met applicable obligations. Failing to submit a report could result in enforcement action, such as a compliance order or administrative monetary penalties.
There is also a new obligation under the AODA's Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation. As of January 1, 2021, private-sector organizations with 50 or more employees in Ontario are generally required to ensure that all of their internet websites, and web content posted after January 1, 2012, conform with the World Wide Web Consortium Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG 2.0) at Level AA, other than the success criteria for live captions and pre-recorded audio descriptions.
The WCAG 2.0 Level AA requirement under AODA applies to an obligated organization's "internet websites" and web content that the organization controls directly or through a contractual relationship that allows for modification of the product. "Internet websites" are defined under the AODA as "a collection of related web pages, images, videos or other digital assets that are addressed relative to a common Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) and is accessible to the public."
Private-sector organizations (regardless of their size) are not required to conform with WCAG 2.0 Level AA in respect of "intranet websites," defined under AODA as "an organization's internal website that is used to privately and securely share any part of the organization's information or operational systems within the organization and includes extranet websites." AODA defines "extranet websites" as a "controlled extension of the intranet, or internal network of an organization to outside users over the Internet." Additionally, the requirement does not apply where meeting it is "not practicable," including because of the availability of commercial software or tools.
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