On September 14, 2020, the following members of Amherstburg town council voted in favour of the Resolution to request the province to extend the compliance deadline ‘to meet the compliance standards, by a minimum of one (1) year to at least January 1, 2022.’
- Deputy Mayor Leo Meloche and
- Michael Prue
- Peter Courtney
- Patricia Simone
- Marc Renaud
- Donald McArthur.
A discussion was held and is summarized below; disclaimer – this is not an official transcript.
Councillor Michael Prue spoke first and recalled his involvement with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) enacted in 2005. Prue wondered if they were doing the right thing to attempt to delay the website when the town has known since 2005 it had to be done and since the 2011 schedule saying it had to be done in 2020. He didn’t think they were doing a service to persons with disabilities or that it was in the municipality’s best interest.
Paula Parker, town clerk, agreed they were aware of the deadline for some time but COVID became a priority and they requested the extension to prevent the order or fines if they are non-compliant.
Councillor Michael Prue responded to Paula Parker: he didn’t understand why they would need a year extension when they only lost 5 months.
Councillor Donald McArthur disagreed and thought it was a bit of a cry for help from staff and that they should listen; that they’re not the only one of the 444 municipalities asking for this extension and he thought it was reasonable in light of COVID.
Councillor Patricia Simone asked about the possibility of a third party that deals specifically with websites and weigh that against staff time needed to be in compliance.
CAO MICELI mentioned Kevin Fox advised they can’t comply because of third party vendors and their information and those parties don’t follow the same rules.
Councillor Peter Courtney would support the extension on advice of administration and hope they have some compassion for them and hope the town doesn’t face any consequence.
Councillor Michael Prue asked if the matter went before the disability committee and wondered what people think of the town not meeting the deadline.
Councillor Marc Renaud, council’s representative on the Accessibility Advisory Committee, remained silent.
Paula Parker responded that it had been dealt with by the committee on a number of occasions and believed most recently at the end of last year. Parker responded to Courtney’s comments and pointed out the town’s website does meet the WCAG level 2.0 not only single A but double A. Parker mentioned the problem is with PDFs and some third party vendors who are responsible for such things as the tourism website and the fire website.
Councillor Michael Prue acknowledged the consensus but wasn’t sure if politically it was wise.
Deputy Mayor Leo Meloche agreed they need to get this done and mentioned part of the problem for years is administration puts in requests for help and council denies and they all just have two hands and can’t do the work of 4.
More to follow.