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Government to appeal ruling over website accessibility for visually impaired

On January 11, 2011, the Treasury Board Secretariat announced that the federal government will file an appeal of a court decision that ordered Ottawa to make all government websites accessible to the blind within 15 months.

Although the government insists it is “committed to providing accessible online information and services to Canadians, and is continuing to look at ways to make information more accessible to all Canadians”, Treasury Board spokesman Pierre-Alain Bujold said:

The Government of Canada is filing an appeal with the Federal Court decision in the case between Donna Jodhan and the Attorney General of Canada in order to address 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.

Justice Michael Kelen in his ruling said he would oversee implementation of Ottawa’s online retrofit, and he warned that the Court will intervene if the government fails to act.

Justice Kelen’s hard line does not seem to suit the government at all!

Is this a step back on the road to accessible information, goods and services for all disabled persons?

Yosie Saint-Cyr
First Reference Human Resources and Compliance Managing Editor

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Yosie Saint-Cyr

Managing Editor at First Reference Inc.
Yosie Saint-Cyr, LL.B., is a trained lawyer called to the Quebec bar in 1988 and is still a member in good standing. She practiced business, employment and labour law until 1999. For over 15 years, Yosie has been the Managing Editor of the following publications, Human Resources Advisor, Human Resources PolicyPro, HRinfodesk and Accessibility Standards PolicyPro from First Reference. Yosie is one of Canada’s best known and most respected HR authors, with an extensive background in employment and labour across the country. Read more
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