Many separate accessibility standards development processes exist in Canada. Ontario, Manitoba, and Nova Scotia all have laws that mandate creation of provincial accessibility standards. In addition, the Accessible Canada Act mandates accessibility standards that apply to organizations under federal jurisdiction. However, the government of Canada intends to coordinate federal and provincial accessibility laws. Moreover, the third review of the AODA recommends that the Ontario government should support this aim by aligning its accessibility law, the AODA, with the laws of other provinces and the country. If the governments work together to make these laws more similar, the AODA standards development process may change to align with laws in other places across the country. In this article, we will explore accessible information and communication standards in Ontario and Manitoba.
Accessible Information and Communication Standards in Ontario and Manitoba
The Information and Communications Standards under the AODA and the accessible Information and Communication Standard under the Accessibility for Manitobans Act both require organizations to make information and communication accessible to citizens with disabilities. Moreover, both standards require many of the same processes and practices to ensure accessibility. For instance, both standards require organizations in the public and private sectors to:
- Provide information in accessible formats, or with communication supports:
- Upon request
- In a timely manner
- At no extra cost
- For emergency and public safety information
- Receive and respond to feedback through accessible formats or communication supports
- Make websites compliant with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)
Other mandates in both standards apply specifically to schools and libraries.
Differences Between Standards
However, there are many important differences between the standards for accessible information and communication in Ontario and Manitoba. Moreover, both of these standards may change over time to improve accessibility or to better align with:
- Each other
- Accessibility standards in other provinces
- The Accessible Canada Act
Our next series of articles will explore differences between Ontario’s and Manitoba’s mandates for accessible information and communication.