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New AODA Requirement for Producers of Educational Resources

A new AODA requirement for producers of educational resources came into force on January 1st, 2020. Under the Information and Communications Standards, Ontario producers of educational resources must make all print supplementary learning resources accessible. Moreover, they must do so by making these resources available either in accessible formats or in conversion-ready formats.

New AODA Requirement for Producers of Educational Resources

Producers of educational resources have been required to provide textbooks in accessible or conversion-ready formats since 2015. Now, the same rule applies to all other printed materials they produce for any educational institution, such as:

  • Public and private schools
  • School boards
  • Colleges
  • Universities
  • School libraries

When a school or school board requests an accessible version of a learning resource, producers must provide that resource in a format that is either accessible or conversion-ready. Furthermore, the producer must work with the school or school board to find out what formats their students can use.

What are accessible formats?

An accessible format is a format that the student can use right away, without any more conversion. For example, accessible formats include:

  • Braille
  • Large print
  • Online on accessible websites
  • Accessible file types, such as Word or HTML
  • Digital audio
  • Tactile maps, pictures, or diagrams

What are conversion-ready formats?

A conversion-ready format is an electronic file type that can quickly be converted into the format a student needs. For instance, a student may need a resource in Braille. However, the producer may not be able to offer this format. Nonetheless, the producer can create a Microsoft Word or HTML copy of the resource. The school can then easily convert the file into Braille. 

What if a producer cannot convert a resource?

If a producer cannot convert a resource even into a conversion-ready format, they must explain to the school or school board why they cannot do so. In addition, the producer must provide a summary of the resource they cannot convert. For example, a producer may not be able to provide tactile maps that a school board has requested. This producer must tell the school board that they cannot produce tactile maps because they lack the technology. Furthermore, they must provide a description of the maps in an accessible format.

All producers of learning materials must now follow these guidelines to obey the new AODA requirement for producers of educational resources.