Canadian Accessibility Laws


Explore accessibility laws in Canada,
and learn how they apply to closed captioning and online video content.


The Accessible Canada Act Provincial Accessibility Laws CRTC Caption Laws Resources

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The Accessible Canada Act

The Accessible Canada Act (ACA)

In 2018, Canada introduced the Accessible Canada Act (ACA), an accessibility law that aims to make the country barrier-free by 2040. The ACA enforces accessibility standards starting in priority areas, including employment, built environment, information and communication technologies, procurement of goods and services, delivery of goods and services, and transportation. The ACA aims to prevent barriers to federal jurisdiction across Canada and establishes a framework for developing, implementing, and enforcing accessibility standards starting in seven priority areas. Those priority areas include:

  • Employment
  • The built environment
  • Information and communication technologies (ICT)
  • Communication other than ICT
  • The design and delivery of programs and services
  • The procurement of goods, services, and facilities
  • Transportation
Canadian maple leaf

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Provincial Accessibility Laws

Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)

The AODA is the most progressive accessibility law in the world and sets accessibility requirements for organizations in Ontario, Canada with the aim of creating a universally accessible province by 2025.

The AODA regulates accessibility standards across government, public, and private sectors, with requirements affecting five different areas of business: customer service, employment, information and communications, transportation, and design of public spaces. The AODA categorizes businesses by size and ownership (public or private), with slightly different rules for each.

Under the AODA, all large private and non-profit organizations with 50 or more employees and all public sector organizations are required to make their websites accessible. The AODA mandates that web content and online video must conform to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 AA success criteria with two exceptions: criteria 1.2.4 (live captions) and criteria 1.2.5 (audio descriptions).


The Accessible British Columbia Act

The Accessible British Columbia Act became law in June 2021. The Government of British Columbia (B.C.) passed this legislation to prove its commitment to creating an accessible province for people with disabilities. B.C. has declared its goal of becoming the most accessible province by 2024.

British Columbia

Accessibility for Manitobans Act

The Accessibility for Manitobans Act (AMA) is landmark legislation that provides a process for identifying, removing, and preventing barriers to accessibility across the province. Introduced in 2013, the AMA represents a commitment from the Manitoba government to achieve significant accessibility progress within a decade.

To do this, the AMA delineates accessibility standards that affect the daily lives of all Manitobans, not only those with disabilities. These standards are intended to serve as “building blocks for making real, measurable, and effective changes to accessibility.”


The Newfoundland and Labrador Accessibility Act

The Newfoundland and Labrador Accessibility Act was introduced in the House of Assembly in October 2021 and became law on December 3, 2021. The Accessibility Act aims to improve accessibility by identifying, preventing, and removing barriers that prevent persons with disabilities from full participation in society.

Under the Accessibility Act, public entities are required to develop an Accessibility Plan. The Act also outlines what the Accessibility Plan should include, the measures to take to remove barriers, and the procedures to assess whether the measures are working. The Accessibility Act emphasizes engagement with persons with disabilities and disability groups as an important part of the plan’s development.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Nova Scotia's Accessibility Act

Nova Scotia’s Accessibility Act, also known as Bill 59, was passed in April 2017 to aid Nova Scotia in achieving an accessible province by 2030. The Accessibility Act is an exciting and necessary step for the province, as 30.4% of Nova Scotians have a disability, the highest of any province in Canada.

Nova Scotia

The Accessible Saskatchewan Act

A bill for The Accessible Saskatchewan Act was introduced in the Legislature in the fall of 2022, received Royal Assent on May 17, 2023, and came into force on December 3, 2023. The Accessible Saskatchewan Act aims to improve accessibility by preventing and removing barriers in employment, the built environment, information and communications, transportation, service animals, procurement, service delivery, and any other prescribed activities or undertakings.

Additionally, the Act establishes the Saskatchewan Accessibility Office, a team responsible for supporting the administration of the Act and the regulations.


Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) Captioning Laws

CRTC Caption Laws

In 2007, Canada’s broadcast industry established two working groups under the direction of the CRTC. The goal of these working groups was to develop closed captioning standards that would ensure consistent and reliable quality throughout the Canadian broadcasting system. The CRTC formed several policies based on these groups that would address captioning quality and quantity, as well as a system to monitor captioning and a way for the public to file complaints.

The CRTC requires most broadcasters to caption 100% of their programs during a broadcast day, which is defined as the hours between 6 a.m. and midnight. They must additionally ensure that 100% of advertising, sponsorship messages, and promotional content is captioned. Finally, they must provide viewers with closed captioning—if captions are available—for all programming aired overnight (midnight to 6 a.m.). To establish quality standards and measure accuracy, the CRTC refers to the Canadian NER model.


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Key Resources for Navigating Canadian Accessibility Laws

Compliance with accessibility laws means staying up-to-date with the latest legal developments. 3Play Media Canada is committed to empowering you with free resources during your accessibility journey so that you can make informed decisions.



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Other Trusted Accessibility Resources

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