Complete guide to AODA

Understanding the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) for digital products

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The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) is an Accessibility law that applies to organizations in Ontario, Canada. In this guide, we'll explore the fundamental aspects of AODA, including its purpose and compliance requirements.

What is AODA?

The AODA mandates organizations to follow standards to become more accessible to people with disabilities. The law was enacted in 2005. The goal for the province is to be fully accessible to everyone by January 1, 2025.

The law applies to:

  1. Public sector: Government institutions and organizations that serve the public fall under AODA's mandate.
  2. Private sector: AODA generally applies to the private sector, but there are some exceptions and varying requirements depending on the size and nature of the organization.
  3. Non-profit sector: Non-profit organizations are also subject to AODA's standards and guidelines.

AODA applies to organizations that do at least one of the following activities:

  1. provides goods, services or facilities
  2. employs people in Ontario
  3. offers accommodation
  4. owns or occupies a building, a structure or a premises
  5. plays a part in a business or other activity that the regulations may identify.

AODA Website Requirements

Under the Information and Communications standard, organizations must make their websites accessible.

AODA mandates that organizations must make their website compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, Level AA.

The WCAG is an international standard and has guidelines for making a website accessible. WCAG has three levels of compliance: Level A, Level AA and Level AAA.

AODA requires WCAG Level AA compliance, which ensures robust accessibility without excessive costs.

AODA has 2 exceptions to the WCAG 2.0 Level AA standard which are:

  1. SC 1.2.4: Live captions
  2. SC 1.2.5: Pre-recorded audio descriptions

Does AODA apply to me?

If your organization is registered in Ontario, AODA applies to your organization.

Websites must be made accessible if you are either:

  1. a public sector organization or
  2. a business or non-profit organization with 50 or more employees

Refer to the AODA website's guide for instructions on counting employees for your organization.

If your organization is registered in Ontario, AODA applies to your organization.

Intranet websites

Public-facing websites must be made accessible. AODA does not require intranet websites to be made accessible.

However, if an individual asks you to make the content available to them in alternative formats (such as large print or braille), you must provide the content in an accessible format.

How to Ensure AODA Compliance for Your Website?

To achieve AODA compliance, it's important to align your website with WCAG guidelines.

In general, we recommend the following approach toward website accessibility:

  1. Basic understanding of website accessibility:

    Those who contribute to the website of the organization should have a basic understanding of website accessibility. There are plenty of good resources on website accessibility. We recommend the free course from w3C.

  2. Use an Automated Accessibility Checker:

    An automated accessibility checker helps quickly gain insights into the most common accessibility barriers on a website.

    The AODA accessibility checker provides an excellent guide to fixing common accessibility issues. Some issues are easy to fix in a CMS and can be performed by people without technical expertise. Other issues are easy to fix by a web developer or web designer.

    You can save a lot of time and money by fixing the easy accessibility issues yourself.

  3. Manual Accessibility Audit:

    A lot of accessibility issues can be found automatically but not all of them. To make sure your website complies with AODA you have to test the accessibility of your website with a manual audit.

    You can consult an accessibility expert, or you can choose to educate yourself or your web developer to understand and implement accessibility best practices.

  4. Welcome feedback:

    Allow individuals to submit feedback on the accessibility of your website. A good practice is to include an Accessibility Statement on your website. You can use the W3C Accessibility Statement Generator to create an Accessibility Statement. Add different methods to submit feedback in your accessibility statement.

  5. Conduct a usability test with people with disabilities:

    To further improve the accessibility of your website it is important to test with people with disabilities.

  6. Monitor changes to your website:

    Accessibility compliance is an ongoing process. Websites change over time. To make sure your website remains accessible it is crucial to monitor the accessibility. An Accessibility Monitor can help identify issues early on.

We don't recommend an Accessibility Overlay product. Accessibility Overlays claim to make your website compliant, which is misleading. While they may address some issues, they do not ensure full compliance, nor do they provide meaningful assistance to people with disabilities.


AODA applies to organizations in Ontario, Canada. To make a website compliant with AODA, a website must meet the WCAG 2.0 guidelines except 2 Success Criteria.

AODA's website regulations maintain a balance between the required efforts to ensure website accessibility and their impact on the accessibility of people with disabilities.

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