What is the ACA?
The Accessible Canada Act (ACA) is a code of regulations that was enacted in order to ensure a “barrier-free” Canada and applies in all territories under federal jurisdiction.
Also known as Bill C-81, it came into effect on June 21, 2019, after receiving the Royal Assent.
The ACA is all-inclusive legislation aiming to create equal access to every person in society. The bill defines all areas of life as applicable for accessibility, including “anything physical, architectural, technological or attitudinal, anything that is based on information or communications…” The definition of an individual with a disability is broad as well. A person with a “physical, mental, intellectual, cognitive, learning, communication or sensory impairment or a functional limitation,” is counted as disabled.
Who must comply with ACA?
The ACA articulates the goals for equal accessibility in society, stipulating January 1, 2040, as the final date to achieve the bill’s end goal.
While there’s still time before meeting the mission’s deadline, the ACA does apply in federal jurisdictions, as mentioned above. ACA compliance breaks down into three groups:
The maximum penalty for an ACA violation could amount to CA$250,000.
- Government entities such as the Government of Canada, the Canadian Forces, and Parliament;
- Crown corporations—companies that are owned by the state but operate administratively as private businesses;
- The federally regulated private sector, such as the banking, transportation and telecommunications sectors. This includes entities or individuals that work within the legislative authority of Parliament.
How to achieve ACA compliance?
Organizations under federal jurisdiction are required to develop and publish accessibility plans every 3 years that articulate how they will identify, remove, and prevent barriers to accessibility.
Organizations will further be compelled to establish a mechanism for receiving and addressing feedback on accessibility from anyone who interacts with their organization.
In addition, entities will have to formulate regular progress reports on the execution of their plans.
The ACA has yet to establish specific compliance standards, but conforming to WCAG 2.0 Level AA standards would cover most accessibility-related regulations.
Full ACA compliance
Equalweb’s accessibility consultants are ready to explain everything you need to know about regulatory accessibility compliance requirements, and how to remediate your website to an accessible and friendly user experience to people with impairments.
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Learn all you need to know about WCAG 2.1 conformance standards, here
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