Private Sector Accessibility: Canada

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I have recently being doing some form and UI work for a Canadian legal entrepreneur.

As we are about to upgrade the dynamic validation system for the public signup form, I wondered if I had a solid basis for kicking off a discussion about the site’s inaccessibility.

After finding 3 Play Media’s primer on Canadian Web Accessibility Standards, I was surprised to learn that:

The AODA set accessibility standards for private organizations bases on company size. Companies with under 50 employees don’t have specified web accessibility requirements, but larger organizations do.

3 Play Media: How the AODA Applies to Private Businesses

Wow. Given the massive North American start-up culture, this really seems like a huge barrier for a small accessibility movement.

On the one hand you have a handful of big companies who must abide by WCAG’s ambitious all-or-nothing criteria. And on the other you have everybody else living in a lawless paradise.

The cynic in me also supposes that the big companies have deeper pockets and can afford to absorb the kind of legal action that would sink a small company.

It seems that the AODA is acknowledging the financial impact of accessibility but not the human cost. With business conducted on a global scale, even a small start-up can affect many thousands of people.

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