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Re: Legal status of WCAG Re: Who needs what ...

From: zara <zara@arobas.net>
Date: Tue, 24 Aug 2004 19:59:29 -0400
Message-ID: <062801c48a36$65c1c000$e2d2fea9@godule>
To: "Charles McCathieNevile" <charles@sidar.org>, "Harry Loots" <harry@ikhaya.com>, "RUST Randal" <RRust@covansys.com>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

Charles McCathieNevile wrote:

> But if you go to court (actually you go through some stages, but I
> think  the phrase communicates the right idea) you will be tested
> against some  law that says "you must not discriminate". In the notes
> that explain the  law, one of the things they say is "the best guidance
> we have for how to  avoid discriminating is to follow WCAG". That is,
> they are not sure, in  advance, of how to decide whether you
> discriminated. That has to be tested  in each circumstance. They ssupect
> that if you haven't done what WCAG  asks, you probably are
> discriminating, and if you have done it, you are at  least doing what is
> recognised as the right thing to avoid it. If you meet  WCAG a complaint
> can still succeed on the basis that you need to do  something more, but
> you are unlikely to be faced with a damages claim. If  you don't meet
> WWCAG the court is mor likely to decide that you are  discriminating on
> purpose, by not meeting the common community standard of  reasonable
> behaviour, and you may face a damages claim.
> I am pretty sure that the situation is similar in the UK and I would be
> surprised (altugh I have enver read canadian law) if it is much
> different  in Canada.

In May 2000, Treasury Board of Canada ministers approved the Common Look and
Feel (CLF) for the Internet standards and guidelines and required all
institutions represented in Schedule 1, 1.1 and 2 of the Financial
Administration Act to comply with them by December 31, 2002.[1]

CLF standards and guidelines apply to federal governement Web sites.  There
are 4 standards and 2 guidelines for accessibility in CLF :

"Standard 1.1
All GoC Web sites must comply with W3C Priority 1 and Priority 2 checkpoints
to ensure sites can be easily accessed by the widest possible audience."

"Standard 1.2
HTML or other W3C recommended languages must be the primary format for all
documents on GoC Web sites. In cases where the document cannot be
represented in HTML, users should be given information on how to obtain
alternate versions, e.g., print, Braille, audio, etc. Portable Document
Format minimum version 2.1 should only be used as an alternate format."

"Standard 1.3
To ensure universal accessibility, GoC Web pages that offer information in
alternate formats must include a text indication of the file type that
provides a hyperlink to a site where the necessary software can be

"Standard 1.4
All GoC Web sites and their pages must incorporate text equivalents for
non-textual elements, such as graphics, images, navigational aids, sound
tracks, to ensure universal accessibility goals are achieved."

"Guideline 1.1
If HTML is used, HTML 4.0 Strict or newer W3C adopted languages should be
adopted as the standard for new and revised Web pages."

"Guideline 1.2
If a page/site is explicitly designed to provide information to alternate
technologies such as hand-held, print, Braille, and audio devices, such
delivery should be handled with the "media" element in Cascading Style

The implementation of the CLF standards by federal departments and agencies
is mandatory where as the guidelines can of course be implemented at the
discretion of the institution.  However, I am not familiar enough with the
federal legal system to inform on how one would go about ensuring that
delinquent sites are brought to compliance.  If I'm not mistaken,
discrimination issues are usually the domain of the Canadian charter of
rights and freedoms but I don't know how (or if) that would apply in this
area.  I imagine some members of this list (some of which have a lot of
experience with CLF) might know.

Best regards,


[1] More information about CLF can be found at :


Catherine Roy

Pour un accès universel aux technologies de l'information et de la
communication (TIC)
Received on Tuesday, 24 August 2004 23:59:41 UTC

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