Legislation & regulations

Legislation and accessibility initiatives: accessibility of IT and information has become an area of increasing legislative importance. This section provides links to information on key legislation, regulations and standards.

United States

Section 508

Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act specifies that Agencies must identify which standards apply to the procurement of ICT, perform market research to determine the availability of accessible products and services, and document the results of their market research. The following resources provide assistance in meeting Section 508 requirements:

The U.S. Access Board is currently updating the Section 508 standards. This effort will address new technologies and other areas where the standards need to be modified.

Section 508 Refresh - External site

Section 255

Section 255 of the Telecommunications Act requires telecommunications products and services to be accessible to people with disabilities. FCC rules cover all hardware and software telephone network equipment and telecommunications equipment used in the home or office. Such equipment includes telephones, wireless handsets, fax machines, answering machines and pagers. FCC rules also cover basic and special telecommunications services, including regular telephone calls, call waiting, speed dialing, call forwarding, computer-provided directory assistance, call monitoring, caller identification, call tracing and repeat dialing, as well as voice mail and interactive voice response systems that provide callers with menus of choices.

Federal Communication Commission Section 255 information - External site

21st Century Communications & Video Accessibility Act (CVAA)

The CVAA updates federal communications law to increase the access of persons with disabilities to modern communications, updating accessibility laws enacted in the 1980s and 1990s to include new digital, broadband, and mobile innovations. Regulations are enforced by the FCC and documented as 47 CFR Part 14 and Part 79.

FCC Guide on the CVAA


The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act was established to develop and implement accessibility standards to make goods, services, and facilities accessible to Ontarians with disabilities and to provide for the involvement of persons with disabilities in the development of the accessibility standards. The first standard of the AODA is the customer service standard; however, standards for transportation, employment, and information and communication are also being developed. The AODA applies to the Government of Ontario, the Legislative Assembly, every designated public sector organization, and to every other person or organization that provides goods, services or facilities to the public or other third parties and that has at least one employee in Ontario; and accessibility measures must be implemented on or before January 1, 2025.


EU Mandate 376

EU Mandate 376 ETSI Technical Report ETSI DTR 102 612: "Human Factors (HF); European accessibility requirements for public procurement of products and services in the ICT domain (European Commission Mandate M 376, Phase 1)" has been released.

Background: The three European Standardization Organizations have set up two parallel project teams to carry out the work specified in the European Commission "Mandate 376 to CEN, CENELEC and ETSI, in Support of Accessibility Requirements for Public Procurement of Products and Services in the ICT Domain."

ETSI TC Human Factors Specialist Task Force 333 has developed ETSI DTR 102 612. Further details about the work performed by STF333 (e.g., Terms of Reference, specification of the detailed work tasks, time plan for the work, previous drafts, listing of comments received and means to contact the task force) can be found at the Special Task Force 333 website.

Special Task Force 333 - External site

The parts relating to the assessment of suitable testing and conformity schemes were carried out by the parallel project, in CEN BT/WG185/PT. For further information, see the CEN project team website . The two projects are closely coordinated.

United Kingdom

The Disability Discrimination Act of 1995 (DDA) was enacted to ensure that websites are accessible to blind and disabled users in the United Kingdom.


Australian Government Endorses WCAG 2.0 Web Accessibility Guidelines. The Australian Government has announced their plan to implement

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 - External site

All Australian government websites will require Level A compliance by 2012, and Double A by 2015. The new standard replaces WCAG 1.0, which was introduced as a mandated requirement for agencies in 2000.

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