What is this about?
The province of Ontario has put into place laws that improve accessibility for people with disabilities. These accessibility laws extend to digital content served over the Internet. Mandatory compliance to these laws started on January 2014, with the requirement of WCAG 2.0 Level A.
Why is this important?
Beginning July 1st, 2021, Ontario businesses consisting of 20 employees or more, whether private or non-profit, must now meet WCAG 2.0 Level AA compliance. Failure to meet this requirement may result in daily fines of $50,000 or more.
What is involved?
Here are a few tips to give you a general idea of what you’ll be looking closely at:
- Aim for the reading level of a 12-year-old in your web content;
- Headings are important for assistive technologies, use them strategically;
- Ensure high legibility of your content by adopting a high contrast ratio between foreground and background colours;
- Make sure all images have accompanying descriptive text;
- It is better to link phrases rather than 2-word generic text (like “Read more”);
- Audio and video components, such as YouTube embeds, must be captioned.
What should be done?
Make sure your website meets WCAG 2.0 Level AA sooner rather than later, and definitely before July 1st, 2021!
When you’re ready to jump in, follow these steps:
- Run your website through an accessibility checker: this will give you an idea of your compliance level and what needs to be adjusted.
- Fix all reported errors: once you know what you’re missing to be compliant, make the necessary code fixes. Don’t forget, you need to meet the WCAG 2.0 Level AA guidelines.
- Verify your changes: after making your modifications, run your website through your accessibility checker once more to make sure you are compliant.