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Some Organizations Face AODA Compliance Deadline

MORE THAN  20 EMPLOYEES? LESS THAN  30 DAYS TO FILE aN AODA COMPLIANCE REPORT

Do you operate a business or non-profit with over 20 employees? Have you filed an accessibility compliance report yet?

June 30, 2021, is the deadline for all public sector organizations and some small businesses and non-profits to submit statements affirming they comply with Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) standards. The measures relate to customer service, employment, access to information, public transportation, and outdoor public spaces. Major circumventions of AODA regulations can be subject to fines of up to $100,000 per day. Administrative breaches can result in penalties ranging from $500 to $15,000. The deadline is not likely to be extended, having already been pushed off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The report itself is a self-assessment consisting of a series of yes/no questions, declaring whether the company complies with AODA standards. The electronic document includes links to the related section of the regulation, plus resources to help one understand and meet the requirements. If needed, one can request the form in alternative formats.

Organizations of 50 employees or more, in addition to all public institutions, have a further requirement in addition to submitting an AODA compliance report. Websites and web content must meet the Level AA World Wide Web Consortium Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), a universally held standard for web accessibility. The guidelines address points such as colour contrast and alt-text. Moreover, the regulation has been in effect since January 1, 2021. The only WCAG guideline not currently required by the AODA are live captions and pre-recorded audio transcriptions. Many organizations are still not acquiescence to the law and may not realize until filing the compliance documents.

One local marketing firm, Dufferin Media, announced earlier this year that it would be focusing on making its client businesses more accessible online. It is now offering accessibility audits, consulting, and solutions for clients to become AODA-compliant. Dufferin News interviewed Sarah Clarke, the founder of Dufferin Media, who discussed the benefits of online accessibility. An audio transcript of the conversation accompanies the video.

On June 1, Dufferin Media announced that all team members had been trained in Web Accessibility. Furthermore, three members have finished the certification process, including the newly appointed Accessibility Officer.

“I am so proud of our team for embracing this incredibly important initiative,” said Sarah Clarke in the associated press release. “I am thrilled at the opportunity to increase awareness and help with solutions for accessibility.”

Full Disclosure: Dufferin Media and Dufferin’s Spotlight created a strategic alliance in 2020. To learn more details, check out this press release.

Dufferin MediaSarah Clarke
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