Feds appeal ruling on making sites accessible to blind
The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, January 12, 2011 6:43AM EST
TORONTO - Ottawa is appealing a Federal Court ruling that ordered the government to make its websites accessible to visually impaired users.
Federal Court Justice Michael Kelen ruled in November that the government had 15 months to update its websites, and said the court would monitor its progress.
His ruling came on a constitutional challenge launched by a blind Toronto woman who said she was unable to apply for a public service job online.
Donna Jodhan said she and other visually impaired people should have equal access to services and information on federal government websites.
A spokesman for the Treasury Board -- which is responsible for enforcing accessibility standards -- says the government is filing the appeal "in order to address some fundamental issues raised by the decision."
Pierre-Alain Bujold said in an email Tuesday the issues include "factual findings made by the court, numerous aspects of the legal reasoning applied to those facts, and the unusual supervisory order of the court to monitor implementation of its decision."
Government lawyers had argued in court there was no discrimination because all the services were available in other formats, such as on the phone, in person or by mail.
"The government of Canada is committed to providing accessible online information and services to Canadians, and is continuing to look at ways to make information more accessible to all Canadians," Bujold said in his email.
No hearing date has been set for the appeal.