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Approaching 2021: Website accessibility and AODA compliance at Ryerson

By: Adam Chaboryk, IT Accessibility Specialist
September 09, 2020

January 1st, 2021 marks the day of an important compliance deadline Ryerson must fulfil under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). 

Section 14 of the AODA states that all internet websites and web content must conform with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 at Level AA by this date. These guidelines are designed to make information accessible for people with disabilities, and people who use assistive technology.

What this means

  • If you own or edit a Ryerson-related website, you are responsible for meeting this deadline.
  • All public facing content on your website must meet Level AA of the WCAG 2.0 by January 1st, 2021. This includes anything you upload to your website like PDF documents, forms, and other media.
  • Non compliance may result in financial penalties for your unit, depending on the severity or impact of accessibility issues. 

Steps towards achieving compliance

Depending on the number of website pages, remediating your website may be a lengthy process. When assessing your website, prioritize your efforts based on impact and reach.

Review

Retire

  • Your website is not a USB drive; consider removing old outdated pages and documents.
  • Keeping fresh, relevant content is critical for your website and SEO.

Replace

  • Sometimes it’s easier to start with a clean slate. If you are managing a website using an older legacy template; now is the time to start fresh. The responsive template is designed to facilitate accessibility and make website editing easy.
  • If you have multiple PDF or Office documents, consider converting them into a webpage for easy maintenance and discoverability.

Renovate

  • If your website currently exists in the new responsive template, you can use the free built-in accessibility checker on every page. The accessibility checker gives you detailed, relevant information on how to fix accessibility and usability issues on a page.
  • Go to the Accessibility Dashboard and ensure that all images have been tagged appropriately for alternative text. 

Retain

  • Remember that accessibility is a journey, not a destination. It’s an on-going process. 
  • Build accessibility into your processes and workflows. Make accessibility a habit; not an afterthought. 
  • Discuss future web projects with your team and how you plan to ensure those assets are accessible. 
  • Crowdsource help. Accessibility is a shared responsibility. If being requested to upload something to your website, ask them to:   

Support and training

Various webinars will be offered in September and October. Register for an event on the Learning Events Calendar.

For more information or if you have questions about digital accessibility, training, or support, please contact Adam Chaboryk, IT accessibility specialist at adam.chaboryk@ryerson.ca.