Legislative Compliance

How to Test Your Company’s Compliance with AODA Guidelines and Regulations for Web Content 

April 16, 2024

How to Test Your Company’s Compliance with AODA Guidelines and Regulations 

Increasing accessibility in the workplace prepares your organization for the future. As the population ages, the number of people with disabilities will likely increase. Ensuring accessibility and inclusivity is not just a legal requirement; it’s a moral imperative for businesses today. It enables businesses to include new customer demographics and avoid costly financial penalties. To comply with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act‘s (AODA) and its guidelines, a good place to start is with a website audit to ensure you’re meeting accessibility guidelines. In this article, we’ll walk you through what the AODA is, why it matters, and the specific requirements. We’ll also explain some best practices for testing your company’s adherence to AODA guidelines.

What is the AODA and IASR? 

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) and the Integrated Accessibility Standards regulation (IASR) requires organizations to identify and remove barriers to individuals with disabilities. The IASR establishes five standards: customer service, design of public spaces, employment, information and communications, and transportation. Each standard corresponds to where barriers may exist and sets requirements to prevent and remove barriers. Despite any overlap in protections against discrimination of people with disabilities, the AODA and the IASR do not replace the Human Rights Code in Ontario. Each organization is responsible for ensuring compliance with WCAG 2.0 AA success criteria, required for content published after January 1, 2012, to adhere to AODA guidelines.

Under the IASR, public institutions and private organizations with over 50 employees must make their websites, including web-based apps, and web content accessible to people with disabilities. All content published after January 1, 2012, must follow the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 AA success criteria. It is the responsibility of each organization to follow WCAG to ensure they are compliant with the AODA. 

Why AODA compliance is important 

Prioritizing accessibility is essential for businesses. Accessibility creates a more welcoming and inclusive environment for customers with disabilities. This enhances customer satisfaction and fosters loyalty, tapping into the significant purchasing power of the estimated 24% of Ontario’s population living with a form of disability. Adhering to accessibility laws also reduces the risk of costly litigation and financial penalties, making it a priority for businesses to benefit their customers and protect themselves. 

Complying with the AODA guidelines also prevents significant penalties. Failure to comply with the AODA could result in fines of up to $100,000 per day for corporations and $50,000 for individuals or unincorporated organizations for each day the violation continues. 

What are the AODA website accessibility requirements and Who must comply with the AODA guidelines? 

The AODA’s guidelines and requirements apply to all organizations with at least one employee in Ontario. Some specific standards or requirements under the AODA and the IASR may not apply to all organizations. They may only apply if you meet a specific employee count threshold. For example, only designated public-sector organizations and large organizations with more than 50 employees must ensure websites, web-based apps, and web content are accessible for people with disabilities and conform to WCAG 2.0 Level AA. 

Similarly, an organization’s AODA reporting deadlines depend on its size and type. Further information on the types and sizes of organizations that must follow the AODA can be found here

How does HRdownloads support clients with meeting the AODA’s guidelines and requirements? 

We’ve created a checklist that covers the requirements of the customer service standards established by the IASR under the AODA. The checklist includes key requirements of the customer service standards that organizations should consider. It includes policies, assistive devices, notice of temporary disruptions, feedback process, format of documents, training, and recordkeeping. HRdownloads has a number of HR policy templates and HR training courses, that your organization can use to meet its AODA requirements. Our knowledgeable live HR advisors can help you navigate the AODA and answer questions about compliance. Our checklist aims to ensure that organizations in Ontario provide accessible customer service to individuals with disabilities in line with the principles of dignity, independence, integration, and equal opportunity. 

One area of AODA guidelines and compliance that HRdownloads doesn’t support clients with, but that is important for employers to be aware of, is the AODA website accessibility requirements. Below are some helpful starting points to ensure that your website meets the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. 

What are the AODA website accessibility requirements? 

The AODA sets guidelines to make electronic information and communications accessible to people with disabilities. AODA compliance requires that all public websites meeting the necessary criteria be accessible as of January 1, 2021. 

Public websites or web-based apps that offer goods, services, or information must comply with AODA guidelines in Ontario. These guidelines follow the WCAG 2.0 Level AA requirements. The aim for an accessible environment based on four core principles: perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust.

  • The content, information and any interface components are presented in a way that is easily perceivable to the user; 
  • Interface components and navigation must be operable
  • Information and the operation of the interface are understandable; and 
  • The content is robust, allowing for the content to be interpretated in a variety of ways, including by assistive technologies. 

It’s essential to ensure website accessibility to create an inclusive environment for everyone. Ensure that your website is accessible to everyone, regardless of ability. 

An overview of WCAG 2.0 guidelines 

You can view a full list of the WCAG 2.0 requirements here: www.accessi.org/wcag 


  • Text alternatives: Provide text alternatives for non-text content (e.g., images, videos) to allow users access to the information using a form needed, such as braille, large print, symbols, simple language, or through assistive technology like screen readers. 
  • Time-based media: Provide captions, alternatives, or audio descriptions for pre-recorded and live time-based media, such as audio or video. 
  • Adaptable: Create content that can adapt to various forms, such as a simpler layout, without losing the information or its structure. 
  • Distinguishable: Make content more visible and audible for the user by differentiating the foreground from the background. 


  • Keyboard accessible: Make all website functions accessible from a keyboard without requiring specific timings for individual keystrokes. 
  • Enough time: Give users enough time to read and act on the content, such as the use of a pause button or a no-timing feature. 
  • Seizures and physical reactions: Avoid designing content or including repetitive flashes to prevent causing seizures or physical reactions due to photosensitivity. 
  • Navigable: Help users navigate workflows and web pages, find content, and determine where they are on the website. 
  • Input modalities (WCAG 2.1 and WCAG 2.2): Make it easier for users to operate functions using different inputs apart from the keyboard. 


  • Readable: Create content that is easy to read and understand using clear and concise language. 
  • Predictable: Design content and pages simply, where users can easily predict how to operate the webpage. 
  • Input assistance: Help users avoid and correct mistakes through clear instructions and error prevention techniques. 


  • Compatible: Create a website compatible with current and future programs and tools like browsers, devices, platforms, and assistive technologies. 

How to perform AODA guideline testing to ensure compliance 

To effectively test your website for AODA compliance, it is recommended to use a combination of automated testing tools. They can quickly scan for common accessibility issues, and manual checks or audits for deeper insights. Automated testing tools can assist with AODA guidelines and compliance, but manual checks and audits are also helpful. To test your website for AODA compliance, use a combination of testing tools and manual checks and audits. Some of the key features you can manually check include: 

  1. Keyboard navigation: Ensure that all aspects of your website can be accessed and navigated using only a keyboard. 
  1. Zoom function: Test that your website can be easily zoomed in and out without loss of function. 
  1. Image alt text: Make sure that all images on your website have descriptive alternative text that can be read by screen readers. 
  1. Video and multimedia content: Check that all videos and other multimedia content on your website have captions or transcripts available. 
  1. Colour contrasts: Ensure that the colours used on your website have defined contrast to assist people with colour vision deficiencies. 
  1. Forms and other interactive elements: Test that all forms and interactive elements on your website are compatible with assistive devices. 

Best practices for AODA compliance 

Now that you’re familiar with AODA compliance requirements and have tested your website, here are some valuable tips to help you achieve full AODA compliance.

  • Understand your obligations: Know the reporting deadlines and what AODA requirements apply to the size and type of your organization. 
  • Maintain accessibility policies: Accessibility policies should address the IASR, which covers the expectations for customer service, employment, information and communications, transportation, and the design of public spaces. 
  • Maintain regular training: Organizations must provide comprehensive training that covers the standards under the IASR, including the Ontario Human Rights Code. Training may include both classroom and organization- and job-specific training. 
  • Accessibility planning: Designated public-sector organizations and organizations with 50 or more employees must develop a written multi-year accessibility plan that is reviewed and updated every five years. 
  • Consider accessibility: When making business decisions, such as purchasing new equipment or posting a job ad, consider accessibility and create accessible spaces and systems. 
  • Complete reporting: Organizations with 20 or more employees much file an accessibility compliance report every three years. 

Trusted guidance on accessibility, compliance, and more!

We offer a diverse range of online training courses available to suit any business objective with thousands of HR documents, templates, and compliance tools available at your fingertips! Book a free demo at a time that fits your schedule. We’ll show you around our platform, explore your HR needs, and provide you with a quote tailored to your organization in as little as one business day. You can also check out other services like HR Software, HR Compliance, Live HR Advice and HR Consulting to see how we can best supplement your HR duties. Start saving today!

Download our AODA compliance checklist! 

If you need help with any of the accessibility best practices found above, we’ve got you covered! Our experts have compiled a checklist to help you assess whether your organization meets the AODA customer service standards, download our AODA Compliance Checklist for free and get started today!