Canada must make Web accessible to blind

Nov. 29, 2010 at 3:37 PM
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OTTAWA, Nov. 29 (UPI) -- A blind woman has won a battle with the Canadian government, which has been ordered to make its Web sites accessible to the visually impaired, officials said.

Donna Jodhan of Toronto took Ottawa to court because she had trouble applying for a government job online, Postmedia News reported.

Jodhan, an experienced computer user who has won accessibility design awards, sued the government when she couldn't get its online job applications to work.

A federal court ruled Monday the government had denied Jodhan's equality rights by not providing equal access to government programs online.

"She has been denied equal access to, and benefit from, government information and services provided online to the public on the Internet, and that this constitutes discrimination against her on the basis of her physical disability, namely that she is blind," Justice Michael Kelen wrote in his ruling.

The government was not living up to its own 2001 accessibility standards, Kelen ruled, and he gave Ottawa 15 months to make its Web sites more accessible.

In a rare move, Kelen said the court would monitor the government's implementation of online services for the visually impaired to ensure it complies by the deadline.

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