Website Accessibility Services for British Columbia

Website Accessibility Services for British Columbia

What is the ABC Act in British Columbia?

The Accessible British Columbia Act (ABC Act), enacted in June 2021, is a law intended to make British Columbia more inclusive for persons with disabilities. It provides a framework for identifying, removing, and preventing barriers to accessibility.

Which organizations are covered by the Accessible British Columbia Act?

Currently, the ABC Act applies to certain public sector organizations such as school districts, municipalities, municipal police departments, post-secondary education institutions, regional districts, and health authorities. It is expected that other organizations, possibly including private sector entities, will be covered in the future.

What are the main requirements of the Accessible British Columbia Act for covered organizations?

Covered organizations must establish an accessibility committee, develop an accessibility plan, and establish a process for receiving public feedback.

What is the role of accessibility committees under the Act?

Accessibility committees are intended to help organizations identify and advise on removing and preventing barriers to accessibility. These committees should include members who are persons with disabilities or representatives of disability-serving organizations, reflect the diversity of persons with disabilities in British Columbia, and include at least one Indigenous person.

What should be included in an accessibility plan?

Accessibility plans must outline how organizations will identify, remove, and prevent barriers. These plans should be reviewed and updated at least every three years and consider principles like inclusion, adaptability, diversity, collaboration, self-determination, and universal design.

Are organizations required to receive public feedback on accessibility?

Yes, organizations must establish a process for receiving public comments on their accessibility plans and any barriers encountered. This feedback should be used to review and update accessibility plans.

What is the compliance timeline for the ABC Act?

Organizations listed in the Regulation have between September 1, 2023, and September 1, 2024, to comply with the Act. They are not expected to have completed their plans by this deadline but should be ready to implement them.

What are the consequences for non-compliance with the ABC Act – Accessible British Columbia Act?

ABC Act (Accessible British Columbia Act) compliance and enforcement mechanisms are not yet in force. However, once they are, inspectors will have the authority to investigate non-compliance and levy fines of up to $250,000 against non-compliant organizations.

Does the ABC Act apply to private-sector organizations?

As of now, the Accessible British Columbia Act applies to a range of public-sector organizations. While private-sector organizations are not currently covered, it is anticipated that similar requirements may be introduced for them in the future

What are the web accessibility standards for government content in British Columbia?

British Columbia’s Web Policy and Content Standards for provincial government web content require WCAG Level AA conformance, with an additional requirement that reading level must conform to Success Criterion 3.1.5: Reading Level, which is Level AAA.