Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)

What is the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)?

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act is designed to provide standards on accessibility is designed to provide framework of standards in accessibility on accessibility in all areas of daily life. With respect to websites, all Universities in Ontario must comply with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level A by Jan 1, 2014 and Level AA (except for guidelines 1.2.4 and 1.2.5) by Jan 1, 2021.

The omitted guidelines deal with live captioning of video (1.2.4) and described video (1.2.5).

What is the difference between levels A, AA, and AAA?

Level A

This level defines guidelines that MUST be done. Failure to meet these guidelines will result in some group of users being excluded from accessing your content. This is the minimum requirement for accessibility.

Level AA

These are guidelines that SHOULD be done. Failure to meet these guidelines will result in difficulties for some groups of users in accessing your content.

Level AAA

These are additional guidelines that CAN be done to improve accessibility. They are not required, but will improve the overall usability of your site.

  • This site is designed to comply with AODA requirements for websites
  • For content managers, it means that every image and multimedia item that you add to this MUST have meaningful descriptive text that accompanies it
  • To make sure that happens, we’ve designed this system so that if you add an image, it won’t accept it until you have added descriptive text
  • It must be DESCRIPTIVE — that doesn’t mean lengthy, but if it’s a picture of a car, don’t type “car”; type “blue car driving past Instructional Building”. This is what will be read by screen reader software, so it has to be useful text.
  • The same rule applies to multimedia — describe the video, podcast, slideshow, etc

What are the compliance dates?

Date Compliance Level
January 1, 2014 WCAG 2.0 Level A
January 1, 2021 WCAG 2.0 Level AA

This means that all UTM sites must be, at a minimum, WCAG 2.0 Level A compliant by January 1st, 2014.

What steps can I take to make my site compliant to the legislation?

Some tips on maintaining compliance are found in this guide. While not an exhaustive list, these tips should help with some of hte most common problems.

Where can I get more information?

See the section on Accessibility Resources.