Extended Deadline for AODA Accessibility Reports


Under the AODA, private or non-profit businesses with twenty to forty-nine (20-49) workers, or fifty (50) or more workers, must complete accessibility reports every three years. The next accessibility reports for private or non-profit businesses were due on December 31st, 2020. However, the Ontario government has extended this deadline. This extended deadline for accessibility reports for private or non-profit businesses is June 30th, 2021. Nonetheless, businesses should use this extra time to assess how compliant they are with AODA standards. Moreover, businesses should also improve their compliance by changing the services they offer so that their businesses are more accessible.

Extended Deadline for AODA Accessibility Reports

When businesses fill in their accessibility reports next year, they will need to answer questions about how well they comply with mandates in the AODA standards. Therefore, the extended deadline gives staff time to:

  • Remind themselves what these mandates are
  • Assess how well their business fulfills AODA requirements
  • Make any needed changes to:
    • Policies
    • Programs
    • Spaces
    • Services

For instance, some staff may learn that their business is not doing enough to fully comply with one or more AODA standards. These businesses have time to change their policies or find better ways to serve their staff and clients. In contrast, staff at other businesses may find that their workplaces comply with the AODA. However, the process of assessing their compliance may still add value to their companies. For example, companies can consult with people who have disabilities to assess compliance. These consultants could suggest ways for the companies to improve their accessibility. If companies choose to go beyond AODA compliance, they can meet the needs of many more people with and without disabilities. In short, improved accessibility is a good business strategy. Therefore, businesses should take the time, before June 30th, 2021, to assess and improve their AODA compliance.

Our next series of articles will outline the things businesses need to do to comply with the five current AODA standards. We will also suggest ways to assess compliance and change services to make them more accessible.




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New captioned Video is Unveiled Today on Hardships People with Disabilities Face During the COVID-19 Pandemic, To Mark This Sunday, the 26th Anniversary of the Birth of Ontario’s Grassroots Movement for Disability Accessibility


Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Update United for a Barrier-Free Society for All People with Disabilities
Web: http://www.aodaalliance.org Email: [email protected] Twitter: @aodaalliance Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/aodaalliance/

November 27, 2020

SUMMARY

Happy birthday to us! This Sunday, November 29, 2020, is the 26th anniversary of the birth of Ontario’s unstoppable grassroots non-partisan movement that successfully campaigned for a decade from 1994 to 2005 to get the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act passed, and that has tenaciously campaigned since then to get the AODA effectively implemented. To mark this anniversary, we today unveil another captioned video. It is the newest addition to our large and growing collection of captioned online videos on the important subject of accessibility for people with disabilities.

This newest captioned video is entitled: “Advocating to Address the Added Hardships that COVID-19 Imposes on People with Disabilities.” For the past 8 months, the AODA Alliance has focused our advocacy efforts on the many barriers that people with disabilities are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in the areas of education for students with disabilities and health care for patients with disabilities. In this one-hour talk by AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky, you can learn all about the barriers we’ve faced, the corrective actions we’ve sought, the results we’ve achieved, and the lessons to be learned from the experience of people with disabilities during this pandemic.

This new video is available online at: https://youtu.be/yB5i7cCiw68

You can read all about the issues addressed in this newest video by visiting the AODA Alliance website’s COVID-19 page.

While we’re at it, why don’t we also remind you of the three other important new captioned videos that the AODA Alliance made public over the past few weeks:

1. Tips for Parents of Students with Disabilities on How to Advocate for Your Child’s Needs in the School system, available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TtadvCvcGC0

2. The Threat to Disability Rights If Critical Medical Care Must Be Rationed or Triaged During the COVID-19 Pandemic, available at https://youtu.be/MxpHXUYNP4A

3. The AODA Alliance’s August 31, 2020 Presentation to the Ford Government’s “Bioethics Table” on the Need to Protect Disability Rights If Critical Medical Care Must be Triaged or Rationed, available at https://youtu.be/MAigGhN5zB4

4. AODA 101 An Introduction to the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, available at https://youtu.be/zrPLb3N1DBQ

We have already gotten great feedback on these videos so far. We’d welcome your feedback too! Write us at [email protected]

Please share these videos with others and encourage them to watch them. Please post links to our videos on your social media.

If you are a school teacher or a professor in a college or university, please feel free to use all or part of any of our videos in your courses. They can be helpful in courses or programs on a diverse spectrum of topics, such as law, education, health, medicine, public policy, political science, human rights, disability studies, civics, bioethics, and history.

We also invite you to learn more about the historic events of November 29, 1994 that led to the birth of the grassroots AODA movement that is as tenacious and relentless as ever 26 years later. Read a description of those historic events, set out below.!

We still have so much more to do! There have now been 666 days, or almost 22 months, since the Ford Government received the ground-breaking final report of the Independent Review of the implementation of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act by former Ontario Lieutenant Governor David Onley. The Government has announced no comprehensive plan of new action to implement that report. That makes even worse the serious problems facing Ontarians with disabilities during the COVID-19 crisis, addressed in the new video we unveil today.

MORE DETAILS

EXCERPT FROM “THE LONG ARDUOUS ROAD TO A BARRIER-FREE ONTARIO FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES: THE HISTORY OF THE ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT – THE FIRST CHAPTER” BY DAVID LEPOFSKY, PUBLISHED IN THE NATIONAL JOURNAL OF CONSTITUTIONAL LAW, VOLUME 15.

a) The Birth of the Organized ODA Movement

The realization within Ontario’s disability community that a new law was needed to tear down the barriers facing persons with disabilities did not take place all at once as the result of a single catastrophic event. Rather, it resulted slowly from a simmering, gradual process. That process led to the birth of Ontario’s organized ODA movement.

How then did the organized ODA movement get started? Most would naturally think that it is the birth of a civil rights movement that later spawns the introduction into a legislature of a new piece of civil rights legislation. Ironically in the case of the organized ODA movement, the opposite was the case. The same ironic twist had occurred 15 years before when the Ontario Coalition for Human Rights for the Handicapped formed in reaction to the Government’s introduction of a stand-alone piece of disability rights legislation.

In the early 1990s, after the enactment in the U.S. of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990, sporadic voices in Ontario began discussing the idea of seeking the enactment of something called an “Ontarians with Disabilities Act.” There was little if any focused attention on what this new law would contain. It was understood from the outset that an ODA would not be a carbon copy of the ADA. For example, some parts of the ADA were already incorporated in the Ontario Human Rights Code. There was no need to replicate them again.

In the 1990 Ontario provincial election campaign (which happened to take place just days after the U.S. had enacted the Americans with Disabilities Act) NDP leader Bob Rae responded to a disability rights legal clinic’s all-party election platform questionnaire in August 1990 with a letter which, among other things, supported appropriate legislation along the lines of an Ontarians with Disabilities Act. Rae’s letter didn’t spell out what this law would include. This letter did not get serious airplay in that election campaign. It was not well-known when the NDP came from behind in the polls to win that provincial election. Because the NDP had not been expected to win, it was widely seen as campaigning on a range of election commitments that it never anticipated having the opportunity to implement.

Despite sporadic discussions among some in the early 1990s, there was no grassroots groundswell in Ontario supporting an ODA. There was also no major grassroots political force building to push for one. This was quite similar to the fact that there was no organized grassroots disability rights movement pushing for the inclusion of disability equality in the Ontario Human Rights Code in 1979, before the Ontario Government proposed its new disability discrimination legislation in that year. In the early 1990s, Ontario disability organizations involved in disability advocacy were primarily focused on other things, such as the NDP Ontario Government’s proposed Employment Equity Act, expected to be the first provincial legislation of its kind in Canada. That legislation, aimed at increasing the employment of persons with disabilities as well as women, racial minorities and Aboriginal persons, was on the agenda of the provincial New Democratic Party that was then in power in Ontario.

What ultimately led to the birth of a province-wide, organized grassroots ODA movement in Ontario was the decision of an NDP back-bench member of the Ontario Legislature, Gary Malkowski, to introduce into the Legislature a private member’s ODA bill in the Spring of 1994, over three years into the NDP Government’s term in office. By that time, the NDP Government had not brought forward a Government ODA bill. Malkowski decided to bring forward Bill 168, the first proposed Ontarians with Disabilities Act, to focus public and political interest in this new issue. Malkowski was well-known as Ontario’s, and indeed North America’s, first elected parliamentarian who was deaf. Ontario’s New Democratic Party Government, then entering the final year of its term in office, allowed Malkowski’s bill to proceed to a Second Reading vote in the Ontario Legislature in June, 1994, and then to public hearings before a committee of the Ontario Legislature in November and December 1994.

In 1994, word got around various quarters in Ontario’s disability community that Malkowski had introduced this bill. Interest in it started to percolate. Malkowski met with groups in the disability community, urging them to come together to support his bill. He called for the disability community to unite in a new coalition to support an Ontarians with Disabilities Act. A significant number of persons with disabilities turned up at the Ontario Legislature when this bill came forward for Second Reading debate in the Spring of 1994.

Over the spring, summer and fall months of 1994, around the same time as Malkowski was coming forward with his ODA bill, some of the beginnings of the organized ODA movement were also simmering within an organization of Ontario Government employees with disabilities. Under the governing NDP, the Ontario Government had set up an “Advisory Group” of provincial public servants with disabilities to advise it on measures to achieve equality for persons with disabilities in the Ontario Public Service. In the Spring of 1994, this Advisory Group set as one of its priorities working within the machinery of the Ontario Government to promote the idea of an ODA.

This public service Advisory Group met with several provincial Cabinet Ministers and later with Ontario’s Premier, Bob Rae, to discuss the idea of an ODA. It successfully pressed the Government to hold public hearings on Malkowski’s ODA bill.

As 1994 progressed, Malkowski’s bill served its important purpose. It sparked the attention and interest of several players in Ontario’s disability community in the idea of an ODA. No one was then too preoccupied with the details of the contents of Malkowski’s ODA bill.

Malkowski’s bill had an even more decisive effect on November 29, 1994, when it first came before the Legislature’s Standing Committee for debate and public hearings. On that date, NDP Citizenship Minister Elaine Ziemba was asked to make a presentation to the Committee on the Government’s views on Malkowski’s bill. She was called upon to do this before community groups would be called on to start making presentations to the legislative committee. The hearing room was packed with persons with disabilities, eager to hear what the Minister would have to say.

Much to the audience’s dismay, the Minister’s lengthy speech said little if anything about the bill. She focused instead on the Government’s record on other disability issues. The temperature in the room elevated as the audience’s frustration mounted.

When the committee session ended for the day, word quickly spread among the audience that all were invited to go to another room in Ontario’s legislative building. An informal, impromptu gathering came together to talk about taking action in support of Malkowski’s bill. Malkowski passionately urged those present to come together and to get active on this cause.

I was one of the 20 or so people who made their way into that room. In an informal meeting that lasted about an hour, it was unanimously decided to form a new coalition to fight for a strong and effective Ontarians with Disabilities Act. There was no debate over the content of such legislation at that meeting. However, there was a strong and united realization that new legislation was desperately needed, and that a new coalition needed to be formed to fight for it. This coalition did not spawn the first ODA bill. Rather, the first ODA bill had spawned this coalition.

Days later, in December 1994, the Legislature’s Standing Committee held two full days of hearings into Malkowski’s bill. A significant number of organizations, including disability community organizations, appeared before the Legislature’s Standing Committee to submit briefs and make presentations on the need for new legislation in this area. Among the groups that made presentations was the Ontario Public Service Disability Advisory Group which had pressed for these hearings to be held. Its brief later served as a core basis for briefs and positions that would be presented by the brand-new Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee.




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New captioned Video is Unveiled Today on Hardships People with Disabilities Face During the COVID-19 Pandemic, To Mark This Sunday, the 26th Anniversary of the Birth of Ontario’s Grassroots Movement for Disability Accessibility


Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance Update

United for a Barrier-Free Society for All People with Disabilities

Web: www.aodaalliance.org Email: [email protected] Twitter: @aodaalliance Facebook: www.facebook.com/aodaalliance/

New captioned Video is Unveiled Today on Hardships People with Disabilities Face During the COVID-19 Pandemic, To Mark This Sunday, the 26th Anniversary of the Birth of Ontario’s Grassroots Movement for Disability Accessibility

November 27, 2020

            SUMMARY

Happy birthday to us! This Sunday, November 29, 2020, is the 26th anniversary of the birth of Ontario’s unstoppable grassroots non-partisan movement that successfully campaigned for a decade from 1994 to 2005 to get the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act passed, and that has tenaciously campaigned since then to get the AODA effectively implemented. To mark this anniversary, we today unveil another captioned video. It is the newest addition to our large and growing collection of captioned online videos on the important subject of accessibility for people with disabilities.

This newest captioned video is entitled: “Advocating to Address the Added Hardships that COVID-19 Imposes on People with Disabilities.” For the past 8 months, the AODA Alliance has focused our advocacy efforts on the many barriers that people with disabilities are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in the areas of education for students with disabilities and health care for patients with disabilities. In this one-hour talk by AODA Alliance Chair David Lepofsky, you can learn all about the barriers we’ve faced, the corrective actions we’ve sought, the results we’ve achieved, and the lessons to be learned from the experience of people with disabilities during this pandemic.

This new video is available online at: https://youtu.be/yB5i7cCiw68

You can read all about the issues addressed in this newest video by visiting the AODA Alliance website’s COVID-19 page.

While we’re at it, why don’t we also remind you of the three other important new captioned videos that the AODA Alliance made public over the past few weeks:

  1. Tips for Parents of Students with Disabilities on How to Advocate for Your Child’s Needs in the School system, available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TtadvCvcGC0
  1. The Threat to Disability Rights If Critical Medical Care Must Be Rationed or Triaged During the COVID-19 Pandemic, available at https://youtu.be/MxpHXUYNP4A
  1. The AODA Alliance’s August 31, 2020 Presentation to the Ford Government’s “Bioethics Table” on the Need to Protect Disability Rights If Critical Medical Care Must be Triaged or Rationed, available at https://youtu.be/MAigGhN5zB4
  1. AODA 101 – An Introduction to the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, available at https://youtu.be/zrPLb3N1DBQ

We have already gotten great feedback on these videos so far. We’d welcome your feedback too! Write us at [email protected]

Please share these videos with others and encourage them to watch them. Please post links to our videos on your social media.

If you are a school teacher or a professor in a college or university, please feel free to use all or part of any of our videos in your courses. They can be helpful in courses or programs on a diverse spectrum of topics, such as law, education, health, medicine, public policy, political science, human rights, disability studies, civics, bioethics, and history.

We also invite you to learn more about the historic events of November 29, 1994 that led to the birth of the grassroots AODA movement that is as tenacious and relentless as ever 26 years later. Read a description of those historic events, set out below.!

We still have so much more to do! There have now been 666 days, or almost 22 months, since the Ford Government received the ground-breaking final report of the Independent Review of the implementation of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act by former Ontario Lieutenant Governor David Onley. The Government has announced no comprehensive plan of new action to implement that report. That makes even worse the serious problems facing Ontarians with disabilities during the COVID-19 crisis, addressed in the new video we unveil today.

            MORE DETAILS

EXCERPT FROM “THE LONG ARDUOUS ROAD TO A BARRIER-FREE ONTARIO FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES: THE HISTORY OF THE ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT – THE FIRST CHAPTER” BY DAVID LEPOFSKY, PUBLISHED IN THE NATIONAL JOURNAL OF CONSTITUTIONAL LAW, VOLUME 15.

  1. a) The Birth of the Organized ODA Movement

The realization within Ontario’s disability community that a new law was needed to tear down the barriers facing persons with disabilities did not take place all at once as the result of a single catastrophic event. Rather, it resulted slowly from a simmering, gradual process. That process led to the birth of Ontario’s organized ODA movement.

How then did the organized ODA movement get started? Most would naturally think that it is the birth of a civil rights movement that later spawns the introduction into a legislature of a new piece of civil rights legislation. Ironically in the case of the organized ODA movement, the opposite was the case. The same ironic twist had occurred 15 years before when the Ontario Coalition for Human Rights for the Handicapped formed in reaction to the Government’s introduction of a stand-alone piece of disability rights legislation.

In the early 1990s, after the enactment in the U.S. of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990, sporadic voices in Ontario began discussing the idea of seeking the enactment of something called an “Ontarians with Disabilities Act.” There was little if any focused attention on what this new law would contain. It was understood from the outset that an ODA would not be a carbon copy of the ADA. For example, some parts of the ADA were already incorporated in the Ontario Human Rights Code. There was no need to replicate them again.

In the 1990 Ontario provincial election campaign (which happened to take place just days after the U.S. had enacted the Americans with Disabilities Act) NDP leader Bob Rae responded to a disability rights legal clinic’s all-party election platform questionnaire in August 1990 with a letter which, among other things, supported appropriate legislation along the lines of an Ontarians with Disabilities Act. Rae’s letter didn’t spell out what this law would include. This letter did not get serious airplay in that election campaign. It was not well-known when the NDP came from behind in the polls to win that provincial election. Because the NDP had not been expected to win, it was widely seen as campaigning on a range of election commitments that it never anticipated having the opportunity to implement.

Despite sporadic discussions among some in the early 1990s, there was no grassroots groundswell in Ontario supporting an ODA. There was also no major grassroots political force building to push for one. This was quite similar to the fact that there was no organized grassroots disability rights movement pushing for the inclusion of disability equality in the Ontario Human Rights Code in 1979, before the Ontario Government proposed its new disability discrimination legislation in that year. In the early 1990s, Ontario disability organizations involved in disability advocacy were primarily focused on other things, such as the NDP Ontario Government’s proposed Employment Equity Act, expected to be the first provincial legislation of its kind in Canada. That legislation, aimed at increasing the employment of persons with disabilities as well as women, racial minorities and Aboriginal persons, was on the agenda of the provincial New Democratic Party that was then in power in Ontario.

What ultimately led to the birth of a province-wide, organized grassroots ODA movement in Ontario was the decision of an NDP back-bench member of the Ontario Legislature, Gary Malkowski, to introduce into the Legislature a private member’s ODA bill in the Spring of 1994, over three years into the NDP Government’s term in office. By that time, the NDP Government had not brought forward a Government ODA bill. Malkowski decided to bring forward Bill 168, the first proposed Ontarians with Disabilities Act, to focus public and political interest in this new issue. Malkowski was well-known as Ontario’s, and indeed North America’s, first elected parliamentarian who was deaf. Ontario’s New Democratic Party Government, then entering the final year of its term in office, allowed Malkowski’s bill to proceed to a Second Reading vote in the Ontario Legislature in June, 1994, and then to public hearings before a committee of the Ontario Legislature in November and December 1994.

In 1994, word got around various quarters in Ontario’s disability community that Malkowski had introduced this bill. Interest in it started to percolate. Malkowski met with groups in the disability community, urging them to come together to support his bill. He called for the disability community to unite in a new coalition to support an Ontarians with Disabilities Act. A significant number of persons with disabilities turned up at the Ontario Legislature when this bill came forward for Second Reading debate in the Spring of 1994.

Over the spring, summer and fall months of 1994, around the same time as Malkowski was coming forward with his ODA bill, some of the beginnings of the organized ODA movement were also simmering within an organization of Ontario Government employees with disabilities. Under the governing NDP, the Ontario Government had set up an “Advisory Group” of provincial public servants with disabilities to advise it on measures to achieve equality for persons with disabilities in the Ontario Public Service. In the Spring of 1994, this Advisory Group set as one of its priorities working within the machinery of the Ontario Government to promote the idea of an ODA.

This public service Advisory Group met with several provincial Cabinet Ministers and later with Ontario’s Premier, Bob Rae, to discuss the idea of an ODA. It successfully pressed the Government to hold public hearings on Malkowski’s ODA bill.

As 1994 progressed, Malkowski’s bill served its important purpose. It sparked the attention and interest of several players in Ontario’s disability community in the idea of an ODA. No one was then too preoccupied with the details of the contents of Malkowski’s ODA bill.

Malkowski’s bill had an even more decisive effect on November 29, 1994, when it first came before the Legislature’s Standing Committee for debate and public hearings. On that date, NDP Citizenship Minister Elaine Ziemba was asked to make a presentation to the Committee on the Government’s views on Malkowski’s bill. She was called upon to do this before community groups would be called on to start making presentations to the legislative committee. The hearing room was packed with persons with disabilities, eager to hear what the Minister would have to say.

Much to the audience’s dismay, the Minister’s lengthy speech said little if anything about the bill. She focused instead on the Government’s record on other disability issues. The temperature in the room elevated as the audience’s frustration mounted.

When the committee session ended for the day, word quickly spread among the audience that all were invited to go to another room in Ontario’s legislative building. An informal, impromptu gathering came together to talk about taking action in support of Malkowski’s bill. Malkowski passionately urged those present to come together and to get active on this cause.

I was one of the 20 or so people who made their way into that room. In an informal meeting that lasted about an hour, it was unanimously decided to form a new coalition to fight for a strong and effective Ontarians with Disabilities Act. There was no debate over the content of such legislation at that meeting. However, there was a strong and united realization that new legislation was desperately needed, and that a new coalition needed to be formed to fight for it. This coalition did not spawn the first ODA bill. Rather, the first ODA bill had spawned this coalition.

Days later, in December 1994, the Legislature’s Standing Committee held two full days of hearings into Malkowski’s bill. A significant number of organizations, including disability community organizations, appeared before the Legislature’s Standing Committee to submit briefs and make presentations on the need for new legislation in this area. Among the groups that made presentations was the Ontario Public Service Disability Advisory Group which had pressed for these hearings to be held. Its brief later served as a core basis for briefs and positions that would be presented by the brand-new Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee.



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Web Accessibility Guidelines for Preventing Online Barriers


A new AODA requirement for Ontario websites will come into force on January 1st, 2021. Under the Information and Communications Standards, organizations must make their websites and web-based apps accessible. Organizations  must do so by making their websites compliant with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, Level AA. This international standard gives web developers guidelines on how to make their webpages accessible to computer users with disabilities. Some of these guidelines outline how to make websites accessible to users who operate or interact with them in different ways. Here we will describe a few of these web accessibility guidelines for preventing online barriers.

Web Accessibility Guidelines for Preventing Online Barriers

Adjusting Time Limits

When a designer creates a time limit for an online activity, the user must have a way to adjust this limit. For example, a website should give users the option to:

  • Turn off the time limit before time is up
  • Adjust the time limit, up to ten (10) times the default setting, before time is up
  • Extend the time limit at least ten (10) times, with a simple action such as pressing the space bar

There are three exceptions to this requirement. Time limits must remain in place:

  • For real-time activities, such as auctions
  • If time limits are essential, such as during tests
  • When limits are twenty (20) hours or longer

Information that Moves, Blinks, Scrolls, or Updates Automatically

Designers must provide ways for users to pause, stop, or hide any information that:

  • Moves
  • Blinks
  • Scrolls
  • Updates automatically

This requirement applies to information that:

  • Starts automatically
  • Displays at the same time as other, non-moving content

Users must also have ways to pause, stop, or hide moving, blinking, or scrolling information that lasts for five (5) seconds or more. Furthermore, users must have ways to control how often information updates. The only exception to these requirements is for activities where information that moves, blinks, scrolls, or automatically updates is essential.

Avoiding Seizures or Other Physical Reactions

Designers must create content in ways that will not cause users to have seizures or other physical reactions. For instance, flashes must be below the general flash or red flash threshold. If they are not, flashes cannot happen more than three (3) times per second.

Advanced Requirements

The WCAG webpage provides the full list of requirements, as well as technical guidance on how to implement them. The AODA only requires websites to follow guidelines in version 2.0, level AA. However, the WCAG webpage provides guidelines at level AAA. In addition, the page also includes new guidelines added in Version 2.1. For example, some additional guidelines for preventing online barriers are:

  • More guidelines for timing, interruptions, and authentication
  • No exceptions for flashes
  • Animation

While websites do not need to follow these guidelines, they can choose to follow them as a best practice. Websites that follow more guidelines have the chance to welcome more visitors and do more online business.




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Ontario Human Rights Commission Issues Statement on Accessible Housing


November 22, 2020

While the COVID-19 pandemic has spotlighted the need for safe housing, Ontarians with disabilities have always lived with the harsh reality that their housing choices are extremely limited, chronically inaccessible and often substandard and unsafe.

One in seven Ontarians have a disability. Yet, Ontarians with disabilities routinely face discriminatory screening practices by landlords and blanket refusals to retrofit accessibility features when accommodation needs arise. People with disabilities are regularly forced to file legal claims simply to get landlords to remove barriers and build safer environments; for example, litigating the installation of ramps, accessible parking, automated doors, brighter lighting, widened entrances, handrails, switching floors, etc. These are just a few of the types of claims that have gone before human rights tribunals and landlord and tenant boards.

For over a decade, the Ontario Human Rights Commission has pointed out that the onus is not just on housing providers to respect the right to accessibility. All levels of government, community planners and housing developers must promote disability rights by committing to universal design for any new housing construction. Accessible housing is not a panacea for eliminating discrimination against people with disabilities, but is a critical step toward facilitating safety, security and independence.

On National Housing Day, the OHRC calls on the Province to amend Ontario’s Building Code Regulation to require all units in new construction or major renovation of multi-unit residences to fully meet universal accessibility standards. The OHRC also calls on municipalities to prioritize universal design construction, consistent with their obligations under the Code. Government and housing providers must work together to make sure that new developments are fully inclusive, because Ontarians deserve no less.

“Universal design” makes housing accessible and adaptable not just for people with disabilities, but for everyone.

A 2019 Angus Reid Institute study found that over half of Canadians surveyed were concerned about their home being inaccessible as their family aged. Universal design allows people to age with dignity ” in their own homes and communities ” without costly retrofits, searching for new housing or being forced into residential care.

The economic and social benefits of aging in our own homes are well established. The pandemic has exposed the unfortunate truth that residential care, while necessary for some people, is an expensive option that carries significant risks.

Universal design isn’t just a human rights ideal

Original at http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/news_centre/ohrc-statement-national-housing-day-november-22-accessible-housing-makes-social-economic-sense




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Web Accessibility Guidelines for Inputting Information


A new AODA requirement for Ontario websites will come into force on January 1st, 2021. Under the Information and Communications Standards, organizations must make their websites and web-based apps accessible. Organizations  must do so by making their websites compliant with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, Level AA. This international standard gives web developers guidelines on how to make their webpages accessible to computer users with disabilities. Some of these guidelines outline how to make websites accessible to users who operate or interact with them in different ways. Here we will describe a few of these web accessibility guidelines for inputting information.

Web Accessibility Guidelines for Inputting Information

Designers must provide ways to ensure that any information users input is correct. For instance, designers must provide instructions or labels whenever part of a webpage requires users to input information. Moreover, many websites automatically detect user input errors. These websites must point out errors, and describe them using text. Furthermore, if the website can offer suggestions to correct user errors, the site must show the user these suggestions. However, if showing users possible corrections would compromise the site’s security or purpose, the site does not need to point out corrections.

Additional error-correction guidelines apply to websites where users input information that:

  • Has legal or financial consequences
  • Is kept in data storage systems where it can be changed or removed
  • Includes test responses

These sites must offer users more chances to ensure that the information they submit is accurate. For example, websites can allow users to review and confirm the information they input before the final submission. In contrast, websites can include a feature that finds errors and allows users to correct them before submitting. Alternatively, websites can allow users to reverse their submissions.

Advanced Requirements

The WCAG webpage provides the full list of requirements, as well as technical guidance on how to implement them. The AODA only requires websites to follow guidelines in version 2.0, level AA. However, the WCAG webpage provides guidelines at level AAA. In addition, the page also includes new guidelines added in Version 2.1. For example, some additional guidelines for inputting information accessibly are:

  • No automatic context changes
  • Help that changes according to context
  • Additional error-correction guidelines applied to all websites

While websites do not need to follow these guidelines, they can choose to follow them as a best practice. Websites that follow more guidelines have the chance to welcome more visitors and do more online business.




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Coronavirus: Ford taps Gen. Rick Hillier to lead vaccine distribution task force



Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced Monday that Gen. Rick Hillier would head up a task force charged with distributing a COVID-19 to Ontarians once one is approved, saying that distributing the vaccine would be “the largest logistical undertaking in a generation.”



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New Real Estate Features Help Identify Accessible Housing


By Quinn Ritzdorf News-Press NOW

The Heartland Multiple Listing Service, an informational housing system used by real estate agents in the St. Joseph and Kansas City area, has added a more detailed filtering system for accessibility features.

Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant housing is difficult to find for the elderly and those with physical disabilities, which is why Kenton Randolph, the owner of Randolph Seating & Mobility, partnered with Berkshire Hathaway as an accessibility specialist to come up with a solution by updating the filters in the MLS.

“There is a growing need for ADA-accessible housing, not only in St. Joe, but in multiple communities,” Randolph said. “So as people age, a lot of them are wanting to age in place, therefore desiring to have a home that will allow them to do that.”

Randolph said there are two issues with ADA accessible housing ” inventory and identifying. This new feature will help with the identifying problem by helping those with physical disabilities find the home that’s right for them.

“Somebody comes to a real estate agent and asks about buying a home,” Randolph said. “Then the agent would be able to go into the matrix and search it by looking for a house that has wheelchair entry, accessible bathroom or stairlift.”

The previous MLS only stated if the entry of a house was accessible, but didn’t include anything inside the house. The updated filters include door widths, bathroom accessibility, stairlifts and ceiling tracks, to name a few.

“So in order to help my clients try to find more accessible homes, the MLS offers them an avenue to go in and select what modifications this home may have that is accessible ” ramps, smart technology, bathroom handicap accessibility, kitchens, bedrooms, so forth,” Randolph said. “So it gives a lot more expandability.”

The new MLS was six months in the making and followed the example of Northwest MLS in Oregon.

The Northwest and Heartland MLS are leading the way in accessible housing. They are one of the few systems in the entire country with detailed accessibility features.

Randolph said the goal is for all MLS systems to have these detailed filters, because it provides an easier way for those with disabilities to find housing with the proper needs.

“Everybody has unique needs,” Randolph said. “Not all people require the same amount of accessibility. Some of them don’t need an overhead lift in a home, so you can narrow that technology down.”

This updated MLS is new, and Randolph said real estate agents need to use the accessibility features for it to be effective. But if it is utilized, the identifying problems surrounding accessible housing could face a possible solution.

Original at https://www.newspressnow.com/news/local_news/business/new-real-estate-features-help-identify-accessible-housing/article_c32cdce0-2ad1-11eb-b8d5-a37c565da9c9.html




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London Accessibility Committee Back to Meetings After Nine Months of Frustration


Author of the article: Megan Stacey
Publishing date: Nov 21, 2020

Nine months after its work was sidelined by the pandemic, and after losing a trio of members, a citizen advisory committeeon disability issues will have a meeting next week.

But it’s no longer good enough for city hall to just the “check the box” on disability issues, the group’s chairperson says. Instead, London needs to get serious about building a community that is accessible for all.

“We hope for the best. I don’t want to say we expect the worst, but our history has shown that has been the expectation,” Jay Menard, chair of the accessibility advisory committee, said of only its third meeting this year.

“We’re not asking to be agreed with 100 per cent of the time, but we’re asking to be considered. Right nowwe kind of just feel like we’re a check box, and what we say won’t matter one way or the other.”

The accessibility advisory committee, like most of the citizen groups that advise council, had its meetings suspended when COVID-19 walloped the region last spring.

But the long delay with no chance to weigh in on city hall decisions prompted two long-serving members of the committee to quit. One of them, former chair Jacqueline Madden, filed a complaint alleging city hall violated provincial accessibility law by keeping the group in limbo for so long.

She got a response from the province only after contacting Ontario’s Ombudsman.

“I did get an email answer, it was a form letter. They were also clear that they don’t do anything with these complaints except save them to help inform future decision-making,” Madden said Friday.

Original at https://lfpress.com/news/local-news/london-accessibility-committee-back-to-meetings-after-nine-months-of-frustration




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Web Accessibility Guidelines for Compatibility with Assistive Technology


A new AODA requirement for Ontario websites will come into force on January 1st, 2021. Under the Information and Communications Standards, organizations must make their websites and web-based apps accessible. Organizations  must do so by making their websites compliant with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, Level AA. This international standard gives web developers guidelines on how to make their webpages accessible to computer users with disabilities. Some of these guidelines outline how to make websites accessible to users who operate or interact with them in different ways. Here we will describe a few of these web accessibility guidelines for compatibility with assistive technology.

Web Accessibility Guidelines for Compatibility with Assistive Technology

Keyboard Commands

Web designers must ensure that users can navigate their websites using a keyboard rather than a mouse. Moreover, designers must not limit the amount of time that users have to input keystrokes. Furthermore, users must also be able to navigate anywhere on a webpage using the keyboard. For instance, they must be able to move focus toward or away from every part of the page using their keyboards.

In addition, users have many standard keyboard commands for moving focus around a page, such as:

  • The arrow keys
  • The tab key

Designers have the option of requiring different commands to navigate a page. However, when users need to use non-standard commands to navigate, designers must alert them when these commands are needed, and what they are.

Furthermore, users must be able to make the keyboard focus indicator visible, if desired.

In addition, when a user changes a focus or setting, the website’s context should not change. However, if designers need to include a context change, they must alert users that changing the setting will also change the context.

Compatibility

Finally, designers must ensure that websites will work well for users who operate them in different ways. For example, website functions must be compatible with assistive technologies people currently use, as well as future assistive technologies. The guidelines list some of the technical requirements that enhance this compatibility, including:

  • Content using markup languages
  • User interface components that designers develop

Advanced Requirements

The WCAG webpage provides the full list of requirements, as well as technical guidance on how to implement them. The AODA only requires websites to follow guidelines in version 2.0, level AA. However, the WCAG webpage provides guidelines at level AAA. In addition, the page also includes new guidelines added in Version 2.1. For example, some additional guidelines for making websites compatible with assistive technology are:

  • Hovering or focusing on content
  • No exceptions for keyboard commands
  • Criteria for keyboard shortcuts
  • Guidelines for using input methods other than keyboards and mice, including:
    • Pointer gestures
    • Multiple input methods
    • Motion
  • Status messages compatible with assistive technologies

While websites do not need to follow these guidelines, they can choose to follow them as a best practice. Websites that follow more guidelines have the chance to welcome more visitors and do more online business.




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