In Canada, 6.2 million people live with disabilities that affect their day to day lives.

The data collected by The Canadian Survey on Disability from citizens aged over 15 years old show that this represents 22 per cent of the population. People with disabilities may find more obstacles to daily tasks – whether that's due to difficulties in their physical environment or access to websites and online resources.

The Canadian Government are working towards developing new accessibility laws to promote inclusivity. These changes in legislation are designed to improve access to the physical environment and online.  

We've put together this post to help organizations understand how the proposed legislation changes affect their businesses. So, if you're wondering how to make your website more inclusive for everyone, read on.

How have Canada's accessibility laws progressed?

The change seen today in Canadas federal and provincial legislation is the result of many years of advancement. These are the fundamental laws relating to accessibility within Canada:

What You Need To Know About The Current Federal And Provincial Accessibility Laws In Canada

Since 2004 there have been various new laws and legislations promoting inclusivity in Canada. Below we outline these and what compliance is needed by organizations. 

The Accessible Canada Act (Bill C-81)

This Bill was proposed to parliament in June 2018 by Kirsty Duncan and became law On June 21, 2019. Bill C-81 is designed to aid accessibility within information, communication and digital technologies. Part of this act is providing web accessibility following the Website Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). Organizations that fail to comply with this law may face fines of up to $250,000.  

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) became law in 2005. This act makes Ontario the first province in Canada to have accessibility legislation. This act aims to make Ontario accessible for everyone by 2025.

Starting from January 1, 2021, private or non-profit organizations with more than 50 employees and all public sector organizations must make their website and web content accessible to people with disabilities. Failing to do so may result in fines of up to $100,000 per day.

The Accessibility for Manitobans Act (AMA)

The Manitoba government is trying to make Manitoba a more inclusive place for everyone by removing barriers for people with disabilities and all citizens. In 2013 The Accessibility for Manitobans Act (AMA) became law. Part of the AMA addresses eliminating barriers to accessing information online, including websites. 

Common website barriers include small print size and lack of colour variation for visibility. Once implemented, the standard should follow the requirements set out in WCAG. 

The Nova Scotia Accessibility Act

In April 2017, Nova Scotia's Accessibility Act became law. This act contains six standards, including the accessibility standard for Information and Communications (websites). This accessibility standard is currently being developed. 

The Government of Nova Scotia is planning to make its website accessible for everyone, meeting WCAG 2.0 AA requirements. Organizations should start making their websites more accessible, as if they don't comply, they could be fined up to $250,000.

Quebec's Act to Secure Handicapped Persons in the Exercise of their Rights with a View to Achieving Social, School and Workplace Integration.

Accessibility In Quebec

In 2004, Quebec amended this law to make it more effective in helping people with disabilities achieve social, school, and job integration. As part of the inclusivity requirements, public sectors must meet WCAG 2.0 standards. At present, there are no definitive timelines or penalties given by Quebec for non-compliance. 

Accessibility Grants Available For You In Canada

Here is some good news for those who are on a tight budget.

Several grants are available in different provinces across Canada to help improve accessibility and inclusion. These are available to businesses and communities that develop projects increasing inclusion for people with disabilities. 

For example, accessibility grants in British Columbia amounting to over $450,000 have been awarded for projects promoting art, movement therapy and bicycle programs for people with hearing difficulties and the deaf. Other grants available across Canada include:

Website Accessibility For Canadian Medical Clinics 

It is estimated that 1 in 5 Canadians have a disability. This means they may have difficulty accessing or using websites, products, or services. This leaves a large population of people unable to use the web to its fullest potential.

Clinic Sites can help make your website accessible to everyone by implementing Website Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) guidelines. We are experts in website accessibility for medical clinics and other businesses in Canada. We offer various services that will make sure your website is accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities.

Final Thoughts 

If you run a medical clinic looking for help making your website accessible to everyone, you can learn more about your options here. We can work with you to make sure your website meets all the requirements for website accessibility in Canada and 

Jon Morrison

Jon Morrison

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