Is the Government Complying With Its New Standard on Web Accessibility?

HELP the Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians (AEBC) FIND OUT!
Posted January 25, 2012

On November 29, 2010 the Federal Court of Canada released a landmark decision concerning the rights of Canadians with disabilities to access government websites.

Justice Kelen declared that Donna Jodhan’s inability to access certain government websites is representative of a system wide failure by government departments and agencies to make their websites accessible, and that the
government’s failure to monitor and ensure compliance with its own accessibility standards violates the equality guarantee in the Charter.

He declared that the government has a constitutional obligation to bring itself into compliance with the Charter within a “reasonable time period, such as 15 months.” If the government is not complying, Justice Kelen indicated Ms. Jodhan can apply to him for further specific directions to the government.

Following the Court’s decision, the government released a new Standard on Web Accessibility which adopts WCAG 2.0 (http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/pol/doc-eng.aspx?id=23601&section=text). The Standard has a multi-phase implementation deadline. Phase I includes all web site home pages and pages referenced from web site home pages of all 107
federal government departments and agencies listed in Schedule I, I.1 and II of the Financial Administration Act.

We are asking for your help to determine whether the government is complying with its new Standard. If you want to help, here is what you can do:

By February 29, 2012, please visit the web site home page, or a page referenced from the web site home page of one or more of the 107 government departments and agencies listed below. Try as many as you can so we know if the government is complying.

Let us know if the web page is accessible or not by completing the Accessibility Report Form below and emailing it to Luz Sucilan at lsucilan@bakerlaw.ca. By filling in the form each time you hit a barrier or gain access, you will help us determine if the government is living up to
its Charter obligations to you. Give us the information we need to secure
court ordered website access if it is not, and to call for a national celebration if it is.

Accessibility Report Form

Your Name:
Name and version of your operating system (e.g. “Windows XP”):
Name and version of your browser (e.g. “Internet Explorer version 8″):
Name and version of your AT (e.g. “NVDA version 2011.2″; “JAWS version 11″):

Date of visit:
Web Address (URL) you visited (starting with http or https):
Was the web page accessible? (yes or no):
If the web page was not accessible, please provide a short description of
the incident (e.g. “Unable to use the job bank”):
Please provide a longer description of the incident (e.g. How did the page
prevent access? What strategies did you try?):

OPTIONAL:
Source code of the web page:
Attach a screenshot of the incident.

For a list of Government Departments visit http://www.canada.gc.ca/depts/major/depind-eng.html