The Many Laws of Accessibility, Part 2: Laws & Regulations

In this post, I’ll continue my learning about accessibility laws after covering conventions and treaties in Part 1: Conventions & Treaties. I’ll cover:

  • Civil rights laws,
  • Procurement laws, and
  • Technology laws (US & abroad).
2 people in wheelcharis & 2 standing people look on as a man signs a document.
President George Bush signing the Americans With Disabilities Act on July 26, 1990. Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

Civil Rights Laws

Civil rights laws exist to secure equal rights for people with disabilities by requiring most public and private institutions to reduce or eliminate the conditions that disable people from participating independently in the workforce, public services, and digital arenas. Some civil rights laws sprouted from efforts of rehabilitation for disabled veterans. Several countries have moved past defining the generalized rights of humans to target more specific areas, like information and communication technologies (ICT). Civil rights laws provide guidelines on how to meet accessibility, but often they are not actively enforced or monitored. It falls on citizens to file a complaint.

Examples of civil rights laws for people with disabilities, by country:

Procurement Laws

Procurement refers to the process of government entities purchasing goods and services from external sources. Regulations are set into place on procurement, in order to protect the rights of people with disabilities.

Examples of procurement laws (specifically directed at technology purchases) that protect the rights of people with disabilities, by country:

Technology Laws

United States:

States within the US may have their own web accessibility laws, usually applied heavily to government (state, local) and education (K-12, universities).

Around the world

I’m much more familiar with U.S. law (probably because I’m American), but I want to do better and get acquainted with laws in other countries. I broke down the information I learned from Deque by country.

Canada
Country or Region Law Requirements Who must comply
Canada Web Standards for the Government of Canada Includes accessibility, usability, interoperability, and mobile devices Government of Canada
Quebec Standards sur l’accessibilité du Web [Web Accessibility Standards] Modified WCAG Level AA Quebec government
Europe
Country Law Requirements Who must comply
France Référentiel Général d’Accessibilité pour les Administrations (RGAA) [General Accessibility Reference for Administrations] WCAG Level AA Central government & public services
Germany Barrierefreie-Informationstechnik-Verordnung (BITV 2) [Accessible Information Technology Ordinance] Modified WCAG Government
Ireland The Disability Act of 2005 & Code of Practice on Accessibility of Public Services and Information provided by Public Bodies WCAG 1.0 Government
Italy Law 4/2004 (“Stanca” Law)

[Accessibilità siti web]

WCAG Public Sector, Government
Netherlands Aanbestedingswet 2012 [Procurement Act] WCAG Level AA Government
Spain Law 34/2002 [Information Society & E-Commerce Services Act]

Law 51/2003 [Non Discrimination Act]

WCAG 1.0 Level AA Government
South Pacific
Country Law Requirements Who must comply
Australia Disability Discrimination Act WCAG Level AA Government & non-government
New Zealand Human Rights Amendment Act 2001

Web Accessibility Standard 1.1

Web Usability Standard 1.3

WCAG Level AA Private and public for Human Rights;

Government (for web accessibility & usability standards)

Asia
Country/Region Law Requirements Who must comply
Hong Kong Guidelines on Dissemination of Information through Government Websites WCAG Level AA Government
India Indian Web Accessibility Guidelines WCAG Level AA Government
Japan Japanese Industrial Standard (JIS) X 8341 Based on WCAG Central and local government

More lists of laws

Conclusion

There is a lot of material to digest here! As I mentioned, the US laws are familiar enough to me, thanks to the past trainings I’ve prepared for co-workers and others. The gist of several of these laws comes down to respecting human rights, and updating some language of these rights to include modern technologies, including the web. The web is for everyone, and we all should have the right to access services that are provided online.

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