Canadian government to appeal accessible website ruling

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Thursday, 13 January 2011 17:21pm

The Canadian government is planning to appeal a court ruling that federal government websites are to be made accessible to sensory impaired users by 2012.

The court decision was won by a blind Toronto woman in November 2010 after she discovered she could not apply for a federal job online or complete the 2006 census. The court found that government websites were not compliant with accessibility standards and constituted a breach of equality rights. It gave the government 15 months to make its websites compliant with the Canadian Charter of Rights, under supervision by the court.

The Treasury Board Secretariat said on Tuesday that an appeal for the ruling would be filed, addressing “some fundamental issues raised by the decision”.

“These include factual findings made by the Court, numerous aspects of the legal reasoning applied to those facts, and the unusual supervisory order of the court to monitor implementation of its decision."

In the case, the federal government argued that its services are available by way of telephone, in person and by mail, and disputed the discrimination charges.

Although the Treasury conducted an audit of 47 of the 146 federal departments in 2007 and found non-compliance with accessibility standards, no follow-up information was presented in court. 

In February 2010, the Australian federal government announced that it will improve the accessibility of all government sites to level ‘AA’ of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 by 2015.

For more information, see Post Media News.

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