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Robert Pearson

Accessible Media

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Let’s Go Beyond Compliance

Adopting accessibility and working towards a state of universal inclusion is a continuous business process necessary for achieving little inclusive milestones, writes Robert Pearson.
Let's try aiming for compliance beyond what is stipulated by mandates and regulations
Image: The government enacted the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act in 2005. It set out a clear goal and timeframe to make Ontario accessible by 2025.

Accessible Media Inc. (AMI) recently participated and sponsored the 7th Annual Guelph Accessibility Conference in Guelph, Ontario, Canada. Robert Pearson gives us an overview. The keynote speaker at the event, representing a local University, spoke about a recent review of our Provincial legislation that she had conducted as an independent third party. This legislation, known as the Accessibility for Ontarian's with Disabilities Act (AODA), is widely known to be highly stringent in the requirements that it sets forth. However, after being enacted 10 years ago, it is languishing somewhat from a lack of enforcement and general recognition of its requirements. This recent independent review, a requirement of the legislation itself, was conducted to determine the forthcoming direction and proposed recommendations for how the legislation should continue to evolve over the coming 10 years. It was and still is planned to be fully enacted by 2025.

While the details of what requires further attention within the legislation are relevant for discussion, one important theme that arose amongst them during the keynote was the fact the we must celebrate the little things and recognize efforts that eventually lead us beyond compliance. We may set significant goals for ourselves as we work towards compliance, but the road is long and filled with obstacles to overcome. Knowing that, each step along the way that moves us closer to our ultimate goal of universal inclusion is a step in the right direction. Each of those steps should be celebrated.

It could be as everyday as:
Putting in a ramp to the door of your store front.
Working to make your website more accessible.
Captioning the videos on your YouTube channel.
Training for your staff as to how to meet the needs of persons with disabilities, but also recognizing how those persons themselves may be the most suitable candidates for enforcing rules within your organization.

While each of these may not achieve "full" compliance, everything counts.

In my role here at Accessible Media Inc., I have oversight into everything that we do from an accessibility perspective, both internally and externally. This includes significant tasks such as auditing the accessibility compliance of all the ICTs that we use throughout the organization (>75). If anything is found lacking, then additional protocols are required, including reaching out to the creators of the technology to discuss accessibility with them, and the need for it, in greater detail.

Through those discussions and also throughout the course of my work within the practice of accessibility, I focus on the fact that it's difficult to define "full" compliance and doing so is never a wise decision. The reason simply is that the work of adopting accessibility and of working towards a state of universal inclusion is always ongoing. It will never be a one-off project. It's an ongoing business process for achieving little inclusive milestones as the work continues. It's important to recognize these milestones and show why they are important. "Full" compliance will be achieved along the way and also something beyond it, and that in itself will be a cause for celebration.


Related Resources

Blog: Positioning Accessibility as a Precursor to Inclusion | Read Robert Pearson's Blog.

Publication: User Driven e-Accessibility | Download PDF.


Related Items:

• GameON


• Accessibility Online: A Neglected Frontier for People with Disabilities

• Nominations Open for U.S. FCC Chairman’s Award for Advancement in Accessibility (AAA)

• UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's Address

• Accessibility Summit 2014: Web and Mobile Accessibility, Online Event

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