The Accessible Canada Act became law last Friday after receiving royal assent, but one expert in the field of website accessibility said that Canada still has a long ways to go to catch up to the rest of the planet.
Mike Cart, the managing director of Denmark-headquartered Siteimprove, said the bill becoming a law is “big news” but there is certainly room for improvement. Siteimprove recently created a world map with rankings of countries based on website accessibility. As of now, they have ranked 28 countries with more to be added in the near future.
Canada ranked in the middle of the pack with a Digital Certainty Index (a metric that Siteimprove developed) accessibility score of 63 out of 100; while the US ranked at the top with a DCI accessibility score of 65.
Cart explained the rationale to create this map was to “give that broad perspective of where people stand and where countries stand and where different industries stand, and what they can do about it and then arm them with resources and information to be able to build a business case to potentially get the necessary funding.”
According to the federal government, one in five Canadians lives with a disability that limits their daily activity. And while this new law presents the opportunity for businesses to be able to that other 20 per cent of the population, Cart said it comes down to it “being the right thing to do”.
When it comes to approaching how to make your organization’s website accessible, Cart said it all comes down to making a plan and sticking to it, as accessibility is a moving target that must always be monitored.
“Just being able to have a plan and being able to put that in place. To have the buy-in from leadership and being able to have a team to be able to enforce it. It’s not just a one time fix, because it’s impossible to do that for accessibility.”
On top of ranking countries as a whole, Siteimprove’s map also breaks down countries accessibility by industry.
Ranking at the top for Canada was government and healthcare with financial services, manufacturing, and tourism and hospitality bringing up the rear.