Private Sector Accessibility: Canada

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.

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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