New AODA Guidelines to Make Your Website Accessible in 2021

November 16th, 2020


Treefrog specializes in helping companies ensure their websites are AODA compliant.

Does your organization or business fall under any of the categories below?

  • Businesses and non-profits with 50 or more employees
  • Municipalities
  • Libraries (all public and those private libraries with 50 or more employees);
  • Public-sector organizations; and
  • Public and private-sector educational institutions (regardless of staffing)

If so, by June 30, 2021, the expectation, as outlined in AODA, is that all websites and web content must be accessible, as per WCAG 2.0 Level AA compliance metrics.

Computer drawn keyboard with large key depicting wheelchair and word "Accessibility"

Also, businesses and organizations with over 20 employees must file an accessibility compliance report with the Government of Ontario by June 30, 2021, which was recently extended from Dec 30, 2020.

Businesses and nonprofits must meet the standards of Accessibility rules in Ontario. The Province of Ontario’s website has a full list of accessibility rules and guidelines that should be followed and any critical updates.


What are the top 5 Accessibility Compliance Issues?

1. No alt-text on images

Simply stated, all images require an alt tag.

If an image discloses information that helps understand the message, you must provide alternative text that describes the information.

For more complex images, like a graphic, table, pie chart, etc, your alternative text must summarize the image’s content.

Logos are an exception, but they should have null alt text to allow adaptive technologies to skim over them.

For more information on alt text on images, you’ll find all the Accessibility rules on the Government of Ontario’s website.

2. Links without proper context

City skyline with arching lights depicting "links"

Including backlink on your website is a great way to strengthen your SEO, but with the new AODA rules, you have to be more careful. If you are using terms like “click here” or “learn more,” unfortunately, that is not enough. You now must explain where the link is going before it gets clicked. For example, an acceptable alteration would be “Learn more on how to be AODA compliant.”

You should also avoid opening links in a new window, and you should avoid having multiple links directing to different locations that share the same text.

More information regarding the proper use of links can be found on the Government of Ontario’s website.

3. Colour contrast issues

A red apple in the middle of a large number of green apples

In some cases, having a particular colour combination can be challenging for someone to see. In the case of a dark background, you need to make the fonts lighter and when you are using a light background, you need to make the fonts darker.

Your contrast ratio should be 4.5:1 for standard text and 3:1 for large text. According to WCAG 2.1, the large-scale text must have at least 18 point or 14 point bold font size.

4. Social media platforms

A woman looking at a cell phone, with icons representing social media floating past

In essence, social media platforms should be used to supplement your webpage. If you do link your social media content to your website, it must also be accessible to the best of your ability.

5. Audio and video

Close up of woman's hand using mobile phone, video controls superimposed over image

All prerecorded audio and video must have closed captions and a text transcript. The text transcript must be as descriptive as possible.

The user must have full control over the video, which means they should be able to pause, stop and rewind all audio and video files.

What’s the next step?

Do your research and make sure you are compliant. In case you aren’t taking this seriously, you could receive a fine of up to $100,000 a day if your website doesn’t align with AODA standards. This is a risk you do not want to take.

Visiting the Government of Ontario’s website can help with gathering information, but if you seem to be overwhelmed by the situation, don’t worry. Thankfully our team of web design experts can help you avoid any unforeseen charges.

Download our AODA Checklist