The Third Review of the AODA recommends updates to the Information and Communications Standards, including updated web accessibility requirements. The standards currently require public-sector organizations, and large private-sector organizations, to make their web content accessible. Organizations must do so by complying with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0), level AA. However, updating AODA requirements for web accessibility would mean mandating organizations’ compliance with more recent versions of WCAG.
Updating AODA Requirements for Web Accessibility
WCAG principles, guidelines, and criteria ensure that websites will be functional when people with disabilities browse them. For example, compliant websites include features such as:
- Consistent layouts
- Content that users can perceive in different ways, including:
- Compatibility with various assistive technologies, including:
- Accessible ways for users to input information
- Ways to avoid online accessibility barriers, such as time limits or moving information
However, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) created version 2.0 of these guidelines in 2008. As a result, this version of the guidelines does not help make modern technology, such as phone apps, accessible.
The W3C released a new version of these guidelines, version 2.1, in 2018. Therefore, the review recommends that the Standards require organizations to comply with this updated version of the guidelines.
Alternatively, attendees who contributed to the Review’s findings suggest that the Standards should require organizations to comply with the most up-to-date version of WCAG. For example, WCAG version 2.2 will be released in September 2022. A requirement to comply with the latest version of WCAG would help organizations remain accessible to customers, clients, staff, and visitors with disabilities.
Our next series of articles will outline some of the guidelines in WCAG version 2.1. Although the AODA does not yet require organizations to follow them, updates to the Information and Communications Standards may require compliance with these guidelines, as well as guidelines in future versions of WCAG.