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The Accessible Canada Act

Last updated on 19 December 2021

The Accessible Canada ActACA (Bill C-81) will receive Royal Assent today (June 21, 2019). Once received, it will be law, in effect, and assure a barrier-free Canada by the year 2040.

The ACA mandates all agencies controlled by the Federal Government to remove barriers for those with accessibility needs. Moving forward, this will directly impact these categories:

  • Employment
  • Built Environment
  • Information / Communication Technologies
  • Communication (not included in Information / Communication Technologies)
  • Procurement of goods / services / facilities
  • Design / delivery of programs and services
  • Transportation
  • Other items defined in the Bill where regulations can be applied

Impacts of the ACA to Information / Communications Technology

For those in the Information / Communication Technology fields, I would like to do my part. I’ve created a strategy to help you get started with you projects now and moving forward. This is a high level comparison of points from the ACA and impacts related to this field:

ACA (Parts)Information / Communication Technologies Impacts
  • Enactment of the Accessible Canada Act as law
  • All Federal Government controlled agencies must remove all barriers around access to technologies around information and communications: web-related content (internal and external)
  • CASDO will be publishing the new, revised and recommended standards to follow, in regards to web accessibility.
  • Regular monitoring will be mandatory to assure that any standards that are created are recognized and followed.
  • Appointment of an Accessibility Commissioner to provide the Minister with information, advice and written reports that relate to the enforcement of the Act
  • Regular reports will be required and requested around the current and future state of web accessibility.
  • Duty to prepare accessibility plans and progress reports in consultation with persons with disabilities, publishing of these plans, establishing / publishing of a feedback process.
  • Related to the Accessibility Commissioner, regular reports will be required and requested around the current and future state of web accessibility.
  • Processes will need to be developed to create regular consultation opportunities, establishing / publishing of the feedback process, reporting / publishing of results around web accessibility.
  • Establishing powers to the Accessibility Commissioner to inspect, create production / compliance orders and impose administrative monetary penalties.
  • Related to the Accessibility Commissioner, regular inspections, audits and compliance of all web-related content to assure compliance.
  • Imposing administrative fines / penalties, where necessary. Maximum penalty, in relation to web accessibility, is $250,000. Regulation 91, Paragraph (1)(b)
  • Establishing a complain process for those who have suffered physical / psychological harm, property damage or economic loss due to not meeting regulations.
  • A new section would be mandatory on web-related content that specifies the complain process, how to initiate / submit infractions.
  • Appointment of a Chief Accessibility Officer who will advise the Minister, in respect to reoccurring or emerging accessibility issues.
  • Related to the complaint process, results of the reporting of and actions taken on infractions would need to be communicated to the Chief Accessibility Officer on a regular basis.
  • Authorizing the Governor in Council to make regulations to establish accessibility standards and specify the form of the plans and progress reports.
  • Regular monitoring will be mandatory to assure that any regulations that are created are recognized and followed.
  • Designation of National AccessAbility Week starting the last Sunday in May.
  • Recognition of the national AccessAbility Week on all communication channels (traditional and digital).
  • Applies changes to certain other Acts, in relation to Accessibility.
  • Recognition of the changes to the other referenced Acts and assuring web accessibility compliance, as required.

Thank you!

I’ve been an advocate of Web Accessibility for a long time – almost 20 years. To see an act like the ACA finally become a reality will add much needed quality to the lives of so many in Canada. When Bill C-81 passed the House of Commons in May, I thanked The Honourable Carla Qualtrough with this Tweet:

Web Accessibility is only one part of the ACA and I know there are many many others who have contributed as well. I also want to say thanks to everyone else involved in all the other aspects of greater accessibility and inclusion.

It’s efforts like this that make me feel like a proud Canadian and further empower me to help change the lives of others in my own little way.

Now … let’s get to work!

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