What is the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)
In 2005, the Ontario Government took a step toward building a more accessible province when it passed the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (“AODA”) calling for the development of standards for accessibility in five key areas of daily living: Customer Service, Information and Communications, Employment, Transportation, and Built Environment.
This law designates accessibility and compliance requirements for businesses providing goods, services and facilities in the Canadian province of Ontario. Additionally, the law requires that covered entities comply with the World Wide Consortium’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (“WCAG”).
Why is this a concern for iCIMS?
In August 2012, iCIMS entered in to a partnership with the Ontario-based job board, Workopolis. Accordingly, some questions have arisen regarding iCIMS’ potential impact by AODA. This document is intended to address those concerns.
Is iCIMS ‘covered’ by AODA?
As of January 1, 2012, the AODA required all organizations, both public and private, to provide accessible customer service to persons of all ability levels, if those organizations:
- provide goods, services, or facilities, either directly to the public or other third parties; and
- have one or more employees in Ontario.
The law indicates that AODA requirements only apply to organizations that fulfill both conditions. As iCIMS does not currently employ staff in the Canadian province of Ontario, the company is not considered a covered entity and thereby not required to be fully compliant with all aspects of the AODA.
Despite the fact that iCIMS is not considered a covered organization, there are parts of the law with which iCIMS must comply. For example, AODA requires that all covered organizations ensure that their intranet, websites, and web content comply with AODA standards for websites referenced in Part II, Section 14 of the Act; and as such, must also ensure that they do business with vendors who can comply with the AODA standards for websites.
While the requirements and timeframes for compliance vary based on the size and nature of the organization, Part II, Section 14 of AODA, states that designated public sector and large organizations are required to make their websites and web content conform with the WCAG 2.0 Level A by January 1, 2014 and Level AA by January 1, 2021.
What are Web Content Accessibility Guidelines?
In order for a Web page to conform to WCAG 2.0, it has to follow the WCAG 2.0 principles, guidelines and success criteria detailed in the WCAG 2.0 Guidelines. There are two levels of conformance:
Level A (Minimum level of conformance): The Web page satisfies all the Level A Success Criteria, or a conforming alternate version is provided.
Level AA: The Web page satisfies all the Level A and Level AA Success Criteria, or a Level AA conforming alternate version is provided.
iCIMS and WCAG 2.0 Compliance
According to AODA’s compliance timeline, iCIMS is required to be fully WCAG 2.0 Level A compliant by January 2014 unless the company should be contracted by the Government of Ontario sooner.
As part of a recent iCIMS’ audit, the company’s websites and web content were audited for WCAG 2.0 Level A compliance. It was found that iCIMS is nearly aligned to WCAG 2.0 Level A compliance. Additionally, the audit that determined that compliance is largely influenced by the branding and content supplied by iCIMS’ customers for the purpose of marketing employment opportunities via the employer’s career portals, which are hosted by iCIMS.
Based on the findings of the audit, the requirements under AODA, and the iCIMS employer-specific branding capabilities, iCIMS is confident that it can successfully assist in the compliance of organizations covered under the AODA.