Website Accessibility Services for Manitoba

Website Accessibility Services for Manitoba

What is the Accessibility for Manitobans Act (AMA)?

Enacted in December 2013, the AMA aims to identify, prevent, and remove barriers to participation, particularly for people with disabilities. It covers five key areas: customer service, employment, information and communications, transportation, and the design of public spaces.

Who must comply with the AMA?

Most public, private, and non-profit organizations operating in Manitoba are required to comply with the AMA, which includes maintaining accessible websites and other digital resources.

Does the AMA require WCAG compliance?

Yes, the AMA mandates conformance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). Specifically, web content published on or after April 22, 2022, or required to access an organization’s goods and services must meet or exceed WCAG 2.1 Level AA standards.

What are the exceptions to WCAG compliance under the AMA?

Exceptions include situations where the organization does not have direct control over its web content or where meeting WCAG 2.1 Level AA standards would result in undue hardship.

What accessibility issues could cause AMA compliance violations?

Common WCAG 2.1 Level AA conformance failures that could lead to AMA compliance violations include missing image alternative text, lack of captions on videos, keyboard accessibility issues, and low-contrast text.

Are there grants available to help with compliance?

The Manitoba Accessibility Fund offers grants up to $50,000 to help businesses with projects aimed at removing barriers.

What is the timeline for compliance with the AMA?

The compliance timeline varies depending on the specific standard. For example, the customer service standard required full compliance by 2018, and the employment standard expected compliance by 2022. The information and communication standard requires compliance by 2025.

What are the requirements for websites under the AMA?

New websites or significantly refreshed web applications must conform to WCAG 2.1 Level AA. Print and digital documents must be available in alternate or accessible formats, and relevant training must be provided to employees.

How does the AMA define ‘barriers’?

Barriers in the context of the AMA refer to obstacles that hinder the full and equal participation of people with disabilities in society. This includes barriers in customer service, employment, information and communication, transportation, and the design of public spaces.

What role does the Accessibility Advisory Council play in the AMA?

The Accessibility Advisory Council recommends accessibility standards to an appointed minister. After public review, the minister determines whether the standards should become law. The council has established committees focused on creating standards in the five key areas outlined in the AMA.