The results of the federal government’s ridiculous appeal of the lawsuit Donna Jodhan filed against it over the shameful state of accessibility on its websites have come in, and guess what? It’s Jodhan 2, Feds 0.
A Toronto woman’s 2010 legal victory ordering Ottawa to make government websites accessible to the blind within 15 months has been upheld by the Federal Court of Appeal.
In the decision released late Wednesday, a three-judge panel upheld the earlier Federal Court finding that Ottawa had discriminated against the woman and others with vision disabilities due to its lax and obsolete online accessibility standards.
This is fantastic news…aside from one thing.
Athough the appeal court upheld the ruling of discrimination, it struck down the lower court’s supervisory order that would have allowed Jodhan to return to the trial judge seeking evidence the government was complying with the decision.
“We know the government has introduced a revised standard of internet accessibility.” Gary said. “But we don’t know what steps the government has taken to implement the standard.”
With between 23 million and 45 million government web pages, it is very difficult to know if the government is complying, she added.
I don’t understand that part of the decision especially considering our current government’s terrible at best record in the accountability department, but at least the courts seem to be largely on the right side of this issue. Here’s hoping the government comes around, too.
For its part, the government does claim that they have people working to implement the original 2010 decision and that more than 100 departments are getting themselves all nice and guideline compliant. I hope that’s true.
But this, I must say, is a laugh and a half.
“We are committed to web accessibility,” government spokesperson Sean Osmar said in a statement.
Right, because those who are committed to something often spend entirely unreasonable amounts of time, energy, resources and money fighting that thing. Honestly not sure who they think they’re fooling or appeasing with that line of meadow muffins.
So that’s where we are. Things should get easier soon, but will they? And what happens if years go bye and all the government can give us is another “we’re workin’ on it”? I guess time will tell. Hopefully not too much though, I’d like to be able to fill things out for myself before my life is over.