From my previous post on the Future of Web Accessibility in Canada, the latest judgment has now come in from the Federal Court of Canada in favour of Donna Jodhan.
Reasons for Judgment and Judgment dated 29-NOV-2010 rendered by The Honourable Mr. Justice Kelen Matter considered with personal appearance The Court’s decision is with regard to Judicial Review (s.18)
Result: granted “THIS COURT ORDERS AND ADJUDGES that:
- This application for judicial review is allowed and the applicant is entitled to a declaration under section 18.1 of the Federal Courts Act that she has been denied equal access to, and benefit from, government information and services provided online to the public on the Internet, and that this constitutes discrimination against her on the basis of her physical disability, namely that she is blind. Accordingly, she has not received the equal benefit of the law without discrimination based on her physical [disability] and that this is a violation of section 15(1) of the Charter;
- It is also declared that the applicant’s inability to access online certain departmental websites is representative of a system wide failure by many of the 146 government departments and agencies to make their websites accessible. The failure of the government to monitor and ensure compliance with the government’s 2001 accessibility standards is an infringement of section 15(1) of the Charter since it discriminates against the applicant and other visually impaired persons;
- It is also declared that the government has a constitutional obligation to bring itself into compliance with the Charter within a reasonable time period, such as 15 months;
- This Court will retain jurisdiction over the implementation of this declaration and the Court will resume its proceedings on the [application] of either party if necessary to ensure the effect of this declaration is properly implemented;
- The applicant is a public interest litigant and is entitled to her legal costs including disbursements in the fixed amount of $150,000.” Filed on 29-NOV-2010 certified copies sent to parties Transmittal Letters placed on file. Final Decision Certificate of Judgment entered in J. & O. Book, volume 1106 page(s) 424 – 425
Needless to say, this will potentially have huge ramifications on the future of web accessibility in Canada. Specifically with sites related to the Federal Government. I’ll continue to monitor this story very closely. For now, it looks like 15 months will be the time line to be in compliance. Much work will need to be done.
As I’ve stated before, it is a shame that it has to come to this. But, let’s not take the time to dwell on the past.
Let’s make web accessibility in Canada even better than it is today. It begins now.
- Federal Court – Court Index and Docket – DONNA JODHAN v. AGC (File Number T-1190-07)
- Federal Court – REASONS FOR JUDGMENT AND JUDGMENT – DONNA JODHAN v. AGC (File Number T-1190-07)
- Press Release – Bakerlaw Accessible Justice – Jodhan wins landmark case against federal government to fix inaccessible websites
- Press Release – Bakerlaw Accessible Justice – Blind MBA to have her day in court over inaccessible government website