Skip to Content

Judge orders federal government to make its websites accessible to the blind but Ottawa digs in

Jan 30, 2011

A judge has ruled that the federal government is breaching the equality rights of blind Canadians under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms by failing to comply with its own policies that require all its Internet websites to be fully accessible through audible "screen reader" devices. The judge ordered the government to remedy the breach within 15 months. However, the government announced on January 11, 2011 that it is appealing the decision to the Federal Court of Appeal.

In a 73-page ruling, delivered on November 29, 2010, Federal Court Judge Michael Kelen upheld the claim of Donna Jodhan, a Toronto-based legally blind owner of a consulting firm that advises businesses on serving special-needs clients, that she and some 600,000 other blind and visually-impaired Canadians were being denied their right under s.15 of the Charter to "the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without … discrimination based on … physical disability" when they found that they could not use federal government websites.

Return to News List