All organizations in Ontario with at least one employee must comply with accessibility standards under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (the “AODA”) and its Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (the “Integrated Accessibility Standards”).
AODA requires that public sector organizations and businesses and non-profit organizations with 20 or more employees complete an accessibility compliance report each year. This report is a self-assessment of an organization’s status in terms of compliance with all provincial accessibility requirements. The deadline to submit this compliance report is typically December 31 of each year. However, in acknowledgement of the challenges faced by affected employers caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the deadline to file the accessibility compliance report has now been extended to June 30, 2021. More information regarding completing an accessibility compliance report can be found at Ontario.ca/page/completing-your-accessibility-compliance-report.
It is important to highlight that the above extension does not apply to the upcoming web compliance deadline of January 1, 2021. Under s. 14(4)(2) of the Integrated Accessibility Standards, January 1, 2021 remains the deadline for large private-sector organizations and not-for-profit organizations with 50 or more employees in Ontario to ensure that any internet website or internet web content posted after January 1, 2012 conforms with the World Wide Web Consortium Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (“WCAG 2.0”) Level AA standards. Currently, any website or web content is required to meet WCAG 2.0 Level A. More details about WCAG 2.0 compliance can be found at https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/.
As a result, any compliance report submitted within the extended deadline window will likely require confirmation of compliance with the WCAG 2.0 standards unless it can be established that an exemption applies.
For advice specific to your situation and any questions relating to the AODA or the WCAG Standards, consider contacting your regular lawyer at Rae Christen Jeffries LLP.