A blind accessibility consultant has won her case against the Canadian government for the lack of accessibility on its websites, the country’s Federal Court has announced.
As reported in last month’s E-Access Bulletin ( www.headstar.com/eablive/?p=508 ), Donna Jodhan sued the Canadian government after she was unable to apply for a government job online or complete an online census form without assistance from sighted government employees, arguing that this breached her rights.
Last week, Justice Michael Kelen returned a verdict in favour of Jodhan, ruling that the government had infringed the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms by failing to make its websites fully accessible, and was discriminating against disabled citizens. The government has now been given 15 months to make its websites accessible for blind and visually impaired citizens.
“I am humbled and elated that a decision has been made, and with great haste,” Jodhan told E-Access Bulletin. “The Canadian Government should not view this as a defeat but rather as one where we all get to ensure that the future of blind and sight-impaired kids will be a better one, where accessibility will be a reality. This case was never mine to win but that of our blind and sight-impaired community not to lose.”
The court’s ruling stated that Jodhan’s inability to access government information online “is representative of a system wide failure by many of the 146 government departments and agencies to make their websites accessible.”