After AODA standards come into force, they must be reviewed at least every five (5) years. In other words, the AODA Standards Development Committee that created each standard must also review it every five (5) years, or more often. The Committee must then submit a draft of their review to the Minister in charge of the AODA. The Minister must make the review available to the public so that people can comment on it. Based on those public reactions, the committee revises the proposed standard and resubmits it to the minister. The minister must recommend to the Lieutenant Governor that the standard be accepted in whole, in part, or with modifications. The first review of the Information and communications Standards became public in 2020.
The First Review of the Information and communications Standards
In this review, the Committee outlines improvements to make information and communications accessible for people with disabilities by 2025. The Committee recommends changes to the standards to reduce the accessibility barriers that people with disabilities currently face while creating and using information and communication, including:
- Through accessible formats and communication supports
- On websites
- In educational contexts, such as through:
The Committee recommends changes to the standards to identify, remove, and prevent the barriers that people with disabilities face when they attempt to access information and communications. However, the Committee reports that the current procedure for creating and reviewing AODA standards cannot keep pace with modern technology. While methods of creating and using information change rapidly, current standards cannot provide enough guidance to organizations about how to ensure that the information they produce is accessible. As a result, the Committee recommends an alternative system for developing, updating, and enforcing AODA standards. This new system would affect the Information and Communications Standards, as well as other existing and future standards.
If the government and other organizations work together to implement these recommendations, and the Standards change in compliance with the Committee’s recommendations, the province will be closer to its goal of full accessibility by 2025.
Our next series of articles will explore these recommendations in the first review of the Information and communications Standards.