In Canada, millions of people have a disability, and that disability can either be visual, cognitive, hearing or motor-related. Regardless, while these issues make their lives a lot more challenging, it also makes surfing websites tougher. This is why web accessibility laws exist. Not only does it make websites easier to use for the general population, but those with disabilities also have an easier time using websites that apply the law.
That being said, what are web accessibility laws? Who is required to apply Canadian website accessibility laws? These questions and more will be answered today:
What Are Canadian Web Accessibility Laws?
In Canada, web accessibility laws are rules that must be applied to your website if it will be used by the general population. It’s not just for those with disabilities. It’s for everyone. These rules ensure:
- All people in your audience have an equal chance to use your website
- All people with disabilities have an equal chance to use your website
- All people have an easy time using your website
Any incorporated businesses (profit or not-for-profit) in Canada must follow web accessibility laws. This is primarily to ensure that their websites are easy to use and so they don’t discriminate against people with disabilities.
Simply put, web accessibility laws are laws that require all web-related companies to ensure that their websites are accessible to the general public. The laws were not created to discriminate against those who are disabled. Rather, the laws were created to make sure that people who have a disability are not discriminated against when using websites.
How Do Canadian Web Accessibility Laws Apply?
Any incorporated business that runs a website in Canada is required to follow web accessibility laws. This also includes overseas businesses with websites that are hosted in Canada. In fact, even if a website is run from outside of Canada but used by Canadians, the company is still required to follow the law.
The main reason for the law is to ensure that Canadian businesses don’t discriminate against people with disabilities. Regardless of whether a website is for business or for fun, the website needs to be accessible to everyone.
Because the Internet is used by just about everyone, web accessibility laws can no longer be ignored by businesses. If your website is not accessible to everyone, you could face a lawsuit. That’s why the laws are so important.
Are There Other Laws That Revolve around Accessibility?
There are two types of Canadian laws that revolve around web accessibility:
- Technical Standards
These laws govern how websites must be designed, developed, and implemented. They were originally created to ensure that organizations across Canada are meeting the same standards and expectations. These laws govern how websites must be designed, developed, and implemented. They were originally created to ensure that organizations across Canada are meeting the same standards and expectations.
- The Human Rights Code
This law is a federal law that states that organizations cannot discriminate against people with disabilities. These organizations are legally required to provide their goods and services in a way that is accessible to those with disabilities.
Who Is Required To Apply Canadian Web Accessibility Laws?
As stated previously, all businesses selling goods or services in Canada are required to follow Canadian web accessibility laws. In addition, any company that has their website hosted in Canada is also required to follow Canadian web accessibility laws. You may have your business located overseas, but if you have your website hosted in Canada, you are required to follow Canadian web accessibility laws.
Failure to follow website accessibility laws as required can result in various consequences, such as fines.
What Are the Benefits of Having an Accessible Website?
If you plan on selling goods and services in Canada, having an accessible website is extremely advantageous. Not only does it help with your search engine rank, but it also helps with your sales conversions. According to studies, businesses that have an accessible website are 33% more likely to rank in the top three search results. As for sales conversions, it is estimated that businesses that follow web accessibility laws are able to increase their sales conversions by up to 24%.
In addition, having an accessible website helps with your search engine rank because Google ranks websites that follow web accessibility laws higher in their search results. They do this because they know that people with disabilities are more likely to visit those websites. This results in more traffic, which can help you get your product in front of more people.
Who Benefits from Canadian Website Accessibility Laws?
People with disabilities have the most benefit from these laws. These people can include but aren’t limited to individuals with ADHD, addictions, diabetes, depression, PTSD, arthritis, learning disabilities, and more. Generally, these websites that follow these laws are easier to navigate and less overwhelming for those with disabilities.
In addition, these laws help keep businesses honest. When businesses don’t follow these laws, they are often found out and are forced to face the consequences.
Do Canadian Web Accessibility Laws Apply To Mobile Websites?
If you are running a business in Canada and you have a mobile website, yes, Canadian web accessibility laws apply. It is no longer acceptable for businesses to create a mobile website that is not compatible with all mobile devices. Mobile websites must be developed in a way that is compatible with all mobile devices and is also accessible.
How Do I Ensure My Website Is Accessible?
The best way to ensure your website is accessible is by hiring a professional. While there are many DIY programs that allow you to make your website accessible, many other aspects need to be taken into consideration. For example, a DIY program may have a checklist for meeting Canadian web accessibility laws. However, there are so many other aspects that are important for your website that could go missing during a checklist.
Of course, you may also outsource web accessibility to a professional. A professional can handle all the aspects of web accessibility for you, and most professionals will even have access to software that will fix all the problems for you.
What Are the Consequences of Not Following Canadian Web Accessibility Laws?
If you are not following Canadian web accessibility laws, you could be fined. There are many different fines that you could face depending on what type of Canadian web accessibility laws you are ignoring. For example, if your website does not meet accessibility standards set forth by the technical standards, you could be fined upwards of $100,000.
Regardless of what consequences you may face, it is always a good idea to keep your website accessible. After all, ensuring it is accessible makes it easier for people to use, and not making it accessible results in a website people avoid at all costs. That in itself is a consequence.
Canadian web accessibility laws are changing the way we create websites. This is because it makes creating websites easier for people with disabilities. If you are creating a website in Canada and it is not accessible, you could be facing a large fine and even tarnish your reputation. With that in mind, if you are in the process of creating a website for your business, ensure your website is accessible. After all, that is the only way to ensure you are following the law, and it is also the only way to ensure that you are giving people with disabilities an equal opportunity to use your website.
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