Accessibility Resources for Marketers

Accessibility offers new market opportunities for businesses. For example, greater accessibility can bring up to $1.6 billion in new spending for our tourism sector and up to $9.6 billion for our retail sector.

The Government of Ontario enacted the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act in 2005. This act lays the framework for the development of province-wide mandatory standards on accessibility in five key areas of daily life:

Web Accessibility for Marketers: inclusive design matters

  • Customer Service
  • Employment
  • Information & Communication
  • Transportation
  • Design of Public Spaces

CMA Resources

In 2014, the Canadian Marketing Association (CMA) secured funding from the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario of the Ministry of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure via its EnAbling Change Program to help Ontario-based organizations comply with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) and the accessibility standards.

Throughout 2014/15, the CMA actively promoted the values of accessibility to its extensive membership and the marketing community at large. Through a variety of communications channels and events, the CMA engaged and educated members of the marketing community on the AODA regulations. The priority was to promote understanding and compliance with two particular requirements under the Information and Communication standard, mainly accessible websites and the filing of compliance reports.


Accessibility offers new market opportunities for businesses. Does your organization`s marketing plan include reaching out to consumers with disabilities? This CMA video addresses this question. (0:50)

Canada is among the top international leaders to provide accessible products and services to consumers. This CMA video highlights the importance that Canadian marketers are giving to their audiences with disabilities. (3:48)

The focus on designing accessible products, services and marketing tools (websites for example) has been picking up momentum over the last few years. Jurisdictions around the world, like Ontario, are legislating it. Accessibility experts share their insights on how businesses can design their marketing strategies with accessibility in mind.
  1. History of Accessibility w/ David Berman: In this clip from the CMA Accessibility Insights for Marketing Roundtable, accessibility consultant David Berman shares an overview of the history of accessibility and provides some examples of accessible initiatives. Introductions by accessibility expert Aidan Tierney.
  2. Legal Considerations of AODA w/Brittany Taylor: In this clip from the CMA Accessibility Insights for Marketing Roundtable, Brittany Taylor, an associate at Davis LLP in Toronto shares her insights on the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) and how it applies to businesses in Ontario. Introductions by accessibility expert Aidan Tierney. 
  3. Making Your Website Accessible w/ George Zamfir:  In this clip from the CMA Accessibility Insights for Marketing Roundtable, accessibility consultant George Zamfir shares examples of accessible web initiatives. Introductions by accessibility expert  Aidan Tierney.


Web Accessibility for Marketers: inclusive design matters

An overview of why marketers should care about accessibility, how to comply with Ontario's accessibility laws, how to make your website more accessible, and useful links.


Marketing with accessibility in mind: a guide to inclusive design

Digital accessibility is everyone’s responsibility. Even if it is not your immediate responsibility to ensure that your organization’s website and web content are in an accessible format, you should still have a general understanding of what digital accessibility means. For example, do you know how colour use of a website can affect the experience of someone with a disability?

You should also be aware of any accessibility regulations that apply to your organization. In Ontario, the Information and Communications Standard under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act was introduced to help Ontario businesses and organizations make their information accessible for people with disabilities. In terms of digital accessibility, Ontario requires organizations with 50 or more employees to make new websites and web content launched accessible according to the World Wide Web Consortium’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0. What's to be done beginning January 1, 2014 and January 1, 2021

What about social media? If you do any marketing on platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn, do you have to ensure that the content is in an accessible format? The short answer: no, you do not. The law only applies to content that you control.

Accessibility is not just about complying with the law. It’s also about giving consumers with disabilities the opportunity to use or buy your services. Did you know that people with disabilities in Canada have an estimated spending power of $25 billion per yea?

If you are not including consumers with disabilities as part of your target audience, you may be losing out on a lot of business.

Webinar Recordings

Towards an Accessible Ontario

This webinar addresses what aspects of the five accessibility standards impact the business practices of marketing professionals in Ontario, how to make information accessible to consumers and employees including an overview of accessible website and web content requirements, how to provide accessible service to your clients or customers, and links to free tools and helpful resources to fulfill AODA requirements. Presented by Bonnie Yu, Senior Program Advisor, Accessibility Directorate of Ontario.

Digital Accessibility for Your Marketing Campaign 

This webinar addresses what accessibility is and why it is important, and the benefits that digital accessibility can have for your  marketing campaign. Presented by accessibility expert David Berman.

New AODA Requirements for 2015 

This webinar addresses current and future legal obligations under the AODA, benefits of accessibility in reaching new markets and offers links to free tools and helpful resources to fulfill AODA requirements. Presented by Suzanne King, Senior Program Advisor, Accessibility Directorate of Ontario.

NOTE: Questions regarding CMA's accessibility projects should be directed to the Project Coordinator, Cristina Onosé at 416.644.3748 or email

Other Resources & Useful Links

Ontario has laws to improve accessibility for people with disabilities. Learn about the standards you need to follow and reporting deadlines for complying with accessibility requirements by checking out the Ontario Government’s website at Here are some other resources that you might find helpful:

    • AccessAbility: A Practical Handbook of Accessible Web Design is a free resource produced by RGD, in partnership with the Government of Ontario, aimed at educating graphic design and web design professionals so that they may assist their clients (communications managers in corporations, non-profits and government) to effectively deliver web design solutions that meet Ontario’s web accessibility requirements.

    • GAATES developed an introductory guide called “WCAG 2.0 – Web Content Accessibility Guidelines:  An Introductory Guide to Web Developers” to help web developers in the design of accessible websites.

  • GAATES developed this guide called “Outsourcing Web Development:  A Guide for Hiring Contractors to Develop Accessible Websites and Web Content” to help you through the process of hiring an outside contractor to develop an accessible website and accessible web content for your organization. The guide offers suggestions on how to identify website developers who have experience in designing accessible websites and to bring the project to a successful conclusion. It also provides a sample of a Request for Proposal (RFP) to help you assess and choose the right website developer. 
  • Wilfred Laurier, in partnership with the Government of Ontario, produced a handbook as a guide for large public-sector organizations (with 50 employees or more) to help them take the necessary steps to make websites accessible. Download the Enabling Access Through Web Renewal handbook or watch their videos online.

Tags: Advocacy, Digital, Government Relations, Regulatory Affairs, Technology, accessibility