By Nicholas Ruder, Research Advisor, AMO Enterprise Centre & LAS
Back in the spring of 2019, I had the pleasure of visiting all of Ontario’s 444 municipal government websites to get a sense of their layouts and whether they were designed for accessible use. There were some that exceeded my expectations but many that needed some help. With the then looming deadline of January 1, 2021 fast approaching for all public websites to meet WCAG 2.0 Level AA standards (other than 1.2.4 – live captions and 1.2.5 – pre-recorded audio descriptions), AMO and LAS pursued a partnership with a website builder that could provide members with ready-made, barrier-free and accessible websites that could be implemented quickly and at a cost that wouldn’t break the bank.
After surveying members in the summer of 2019, engaging with municipal IT and records management staff, and getting a better understanding of the market for accessible website builders, AMO announced a partnership with eSolutionsGroup. This partnership offers members website solutions that meet or exceed AODA and WCAG 2.0 requirements and ensure that all members of the community can access information and online municipal services that they need.
Members benefit from i:Create, a content management system that allows you to add and edit accessible content directly from your web browser. With this partnership, members can update or build barrier-free and engaging websites on a budget through preferred pricing secured by AMO – particularly helpful for smaller municipalities that may not have the in-house support to build and design their own accessible website. Further available services from eSolutionsGroup includes training and website audits as well as document remediation services to help your municipality be fully compliant with the January 1, 2021 AODA deadline.
With the arrival of 2021, it is vital to ensure you’re meeting all accessible website standards. You can learn more about the eSolutionsGroup supports for AMO members through our partner page or through the eSolutionsGroup website.
You can also watch previous webinars AMO has hosted with eSolutionsGroup including the introduction of the partnership in December 2019 as well as our November 2020 webinar gently reminding members about the January 1, 2021 deadline as well as the accessible website offering.
If you’d like further information about the offering and would like to set up a demo to understand how the eSolutionsGroup accessible website builder offering could work for your municipality, please reach out to Karen Mayfield, President of eSolutionsGroup at (519) 340-3732 or by email at email@example.com.
If you’re looking for more information on the AODA requirements for accessible websites as well as the contact information for the Ministry of Seniors and Accessibility, please see the Ontario website.