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The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act was enforced to ensure that all Ontarians have equal access to online content, products, and services.
Because of this act, Canada website accessibility has become a prominent topic and consideration, so you may be wondering what would happen if you missed the AODA deadlines.
We will cover that and more in this blog.
The Ontario government requires all government, profit, and non-profit organizations to file an accessibility report once every three years.
Since this became a requirement in 2017, the last report that businesses had to file was in June 2020. However, the deadline was extended to June 2021.
This means the next AODA compliance deadline is June 2024. 7
Organizations that fail to meet the June 2024 deadline could face costly penalties and fines.
What’s more, non-compliance puts your business at risk of ADA compliance lawsuits, which can severely damage your brand’s reputation or put your business’s livelihood in jeopardy.
If you’re wondering whether it’s possible to get an extension on this deadline, know that the ministry is quite stern on this matter, so extensions are highly unlikely.
The only way to get an AODA deadline extension is if the government issues one, but the extension will apply to everyone and not a specific business. An example of this is when the AODA reporting deadline was moved from 2020 to 2021.
Very often, organizations find that they’re non-compliant as the AODA reporting deadline approaches. However, just because you are non-compliant does not mean that you shouldn’t file a report.
In fact, the government encourages all businesses to file a report, regardless of compliance status.
The report should indicate that you are non-compliant with one or more of the AODA requirements. It should also highlight the roadmap you’re following to achieve a compliant status.
The government is even willing to offer tools, resources, and support to non-compliant organizations to help them achieve ADA compliance more quickly.
Unfortunately, even if you do file a report, being non-compliant can still attract penalties. However, the fines will be much larger if you fail to file a report completely. You also open your business up to lawsuits from consumers.
Meeting AODA reporting deadlines is not enough – ADA compliance is an ongoing process.
It is your responsibility as a business and website owner to make a continuous effort to provide customers with a more accessible and inclusive experience.
The AODA reporting deadlines are not there to place additional pressure on businesses. They’re in a place to ensure that everyone is doing their part to create a more inclusive society in Ontario.
It’s important for us to understand our role in accessibility, encouraging everyone to take responsibility to assist and include the differently-abled.
Find out where your website stands by conducting an audit on Accessibility Checker.
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