Digital Accessibility Laws Around the Globe

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[Last update [to Japan section] on November 3, 2019 –Originally posted on May 9, 2013 (Global Accessibility Awareness Day). The list of digital accessibility laws and policies around the globe in this post is intended to serve as a resource only. It is not legal advice and it is not exhaustive. While frequently updated, it may not be current as of the date you are visiting this page. Please use the Contact Page on this website to let us know what is missing, what should be changed or included. This list is updated as new information becomes available.

The Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) also maintains a Web Accessibility Laws and Policies page.

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Global Accessibility Awareness Day (the 3rd Thursday of May) is a good day to become aware of laws around the globe that impact digital accessibility. Laws related to digital accessibility support and protect the civil rights of people with disabilities. Core components of life in the 21st century exist in the digital space, and without accessibility, basic human rights are diminished or completely denied.

These include the right to education, employment, public services, health care, financial privacy, community, travel and more. Laws protecting the rights of people with disabilities to access digital services and content — whether those services and content is found on the web, in a mobile application, through electronic kiosks or elsewhere — are an important piece of the puzzle that makes digital accessibility a reality.

Follow LFLegal on Twitter for updates about digital accessibility legal developments. (The Law Office of Lainey Feingold is counting on its international colleagues and Twitter followers for help in updating this list and keeping it current!)

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International Laws, Regulations and Treaties Impacting Digital Accessibility (Partial Listing)

United Nations Treaties

  • CRPD: The United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD) is a comprehensive document ratified by over 140 countries, though not the United States. Article 9 of the CRPD, titled “Accessibility” recognizes the right of people with disabilities to full participation, including access to information and communications, including information and communications technologies and systems. Read the full CRPD. Read the post on this website about how the United States senate failed to ratify the CRPD in 2012. Shamefully, as of July 1, 2018, the CRPD is still not ratified by the U.S.
  • WIPO: In June, 2013, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a United Nations agency, adopted a landmark treaty to advance the right to read for people who are blind or otherwise print-disabled. Read the WIPO press release about adoption of the Treaty. The treaty, officially known as the “Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons who are Blind, Visually Impaired, or otherwise Print Disabled” eliminates copyright roadblocks that have created an international “book famine” for those who need alternative formats to standard print information. Read the post on this website about the WIPO Treaty.


In November 2010 the Argentine National Congress approved Law No. 26,653 requiring accessibility of information on web pages. Read the Argentinian web accessibility law (Spanish).

Australia and New Zealand

Thank you to Jesse Sookne for 2019 updates about New Zealand web standards. Thanks to Andrew Arch for July 2017 and August 2019 information about Australian standards.

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Provincial Laws and Policies
  • In the Canadian province of Ontario, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) covers provincially-regulated public and private activities and standards have been enacted for the provision of accessible Information and Communications. Read the April 2014 A Guide to the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation. The law is notable as it carries a $100,000.00 fine for corporations that fail to comply, although there has been recent criticism that the law is not being effectively enforced. There were five original standards: Customer Service, Information and Communication, Employment, Transportation and Design of Public Spaces. A Health Care standard was added in 2016/17, and an Education standard was proposed in mid 2017.
  • Also in Ontario, Ontario Human Rights Code covers provincially-regulated activities.
  • In the Canadian province of Manitoba, the Accessibility for Manitobans Act (AMA) became law in 2013. It focuses on barriers for people with disabilities, not general human rights. The legislation applies to both the public and private sectors, and there are rolling timelines for different sectors.It is made up of five standards, covering the areas of customer service, employment, information and communication, transportation and the built environment. The customer service standard was enacted in 2016, the employment standard is expected to be enacted in 2017 and the information and communications standard is being worked on as of mid 2017. The Province of Manitoba Disabilities Issues Office (DIO) supports the legislation
  • In the Canadian province of Nova Scotia, the Accessibility Act (Bill 59) became law in 2017. It focuses on barriers for people with disabilities, not general human rights. The legislation will apply to both the public and private sectors, and there will be rolling timelines for different sectors. It is made up of six standards, covering the areas of the delivery and receipt of goods and services, employment, information and communication, public transportation and transportation infrastructure, education and the built environment. The Province of Nova Scotia has launched the Nova Scotia Accessibility Directorate with resources and information about the Act.Thank you to Jesse Sookne for updates about the 2019 Canada Accessibility Act. Thank you to Lisa Snider from Access Changes Everything for the July 2017 update to this Canadian information. Thanks to Jan Richards for providing the original information.  Thank you to Carolyn MacLeod for 2018 updates. Another great resource for Canadian accessibility information, particularly about AODA and national developments is David Lepofsky.
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  • In Denmark, the Agency for Digitisation (the “Digitatliseringsstyrelsen” in Danish) under the Danish Ministry of Finance handles certain tasks relating to IT accessibility in the public sector. This is done in “KIA”, their “IT For All Competency Center”. They provide information and counsel to government agencies and suppliers concerning the compliance and implementation of the international guidelines for accessibility on the Web – WCAG – which, in Denmark, acts as a compulsory open standard for public authorities. Other tasks include analysis and focus on IT accessibility in projects under the common eGovernment Strategy 2011-2015. There are three theme areas on the site: Toolbox [templates, guides, tutorials, etc. about web accessibility]; Analyses, studies, and surveys; Standards, requirements and recommendations. More information in Danish on the Agency for Digitisation website. Thank you Karen Mardahl for the English synopsis above, based on this site.

European Union

[Note: this category is for the European Union itself. Countries within the European Union listed in their appropriate place in alphabetic order elsewhere on this list]


Information about Holland listed under The Netherlands, below.


On October 5th, 2012, the Icelandic government officially declared that it intends to enact legislation requiring public sector websites to be WCAG 2.0 AA compliant by January 1, 2015. The details of the legislation are being worked on, and the over-all state of accessibility in Iceland will be assessed in the Fall of 2013 as part of the government plans for the Icelandic Information Society 2013 – 2016. Read the English translation of the Icelandic announcement regarding the policy and legislation. You can also read the announcement in Icelandic.

Thank you Birkir Gunnarsson for providing the information posted here and for agreeing to serve as a contact person for those interested in learning more about digital accessibility in Iceland.



For information on the laws supporting web and kiosk accessibility in Norway see this helpful article written by Ida Aalen: It’s illegal to have an inaccessible website in Norway — and that’s good news for all of us. The article includes useful links to further information (in English) about the country’s laws and regulations for accessible information technology. Those laws address both public and private websites as well as self-service machines.

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  • Japanese Industrial Standards (JIS) 8341-3 became identical to ISO/IEC 40500:2012(Web Content Accessibilty Guidelines 2.0). The current version is JIS X 8341-3:2016 (Japanese). JIS X 8341-3:2016 has exactly the same success criteria as WCAG 2.0. WAIC (Web Accessibility Infrastructure Committee in Japan) was in charge of the update of JIS X 8341-3. Makoto Ueki was chairman of WAIC and of the JIS update working group. JIS standards can be updated every five years and JIS X 8341-3 is scheduled for update in 2021.
  • The Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications has encouraged public sectors websites to conform to Level AA of JIS X 8341-3:2016, which is equal to Level AA of WCAG 2.0, by the end of March 2018. Public sectors include ministries, local governments and independent administrative agencies.
  • Japan has the “Act for Eliminating Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities” which came into force in April 1, 2016. The basic policy of the law was endorsed by the Japanese Cabinet in February, 2015. The policy refers to “information accessibility” and the term includes web content. The basic policy of the law strongly encourages organizations to make their information (including web content) accessible. Read a news article in English about Japan’s 2016 Disability Discrimination Act.

Thank you Makoto Ueki for providing November 2019 updated information about accessibility policy in Japan.

The Netherlands (Holland)

These sites, maintained by the Dutch government, have guidelines on designing, building, and maintaining websites. The initiative was originally aimed at all federal websites and uses open standards. Note that the English version is not updated as often as the Dutch site.



In May, 2017 self-identified “digital generalist” Mischa Andrews wrote a very helpful post about accessibility laws in Sweden. As Mischa writes, “Ultimately, this is about human rights – it’s about access. Even if it weren’t the law, it’s work that’s well worth doing.”


  • Switzerland Government Standard on Digital Accessibility (June 2020)
  • United Kingdom

    United States

    The digital accessibility legal landscape is flourishing in the United States. Significant strides towards full inclusion of people with disabilities in the digital world have been made as a result of grassroots advocacy, litigation by both private parties and the federal government, Structured Negotiation, and successful administrative complaints involving the United States Department of Justice, United States Department of Education. You can keep up with these developments in the Legal Update articles on this website.

    All of these legal advocacy efforts are grounded in a robust and diverse amalgam of state and federal laws and regulations recognizing the civil rights of people with disabilities to participate in the digital world. Here is a sampling of those laws:

    Other Resources About United States Legal Advocacy

    • An overview of the recent U.S. digital accessibility legal landscape can be found in the legal update topic on this website.
    • Using the collaborative process of Structured Negotiations, many of the largest entities in the United States have committed to various aspects of digital accessibility. Visit the Web and Mobile Accessibility Press Release Category on this website for a summary of all press releases announcing web accessibility settlements, with links to the full releases and settlements.
    • The most recent significant court ruling in the United States about web accessibility came in June, 2012 when a federal court in Massachusetts ruled that the ADA covered Netflix’ streaming video service. Read the post about the Netflix decision.
    • Pending litigation on the accessibility of digital books involving copyright issues could change the landscape for readers with print disabilities around the world. Read about the Google Book litigation, currently on appeal in the federal court system.
    • The Talking ATM Category on this website has extensive information about the accessibility of ATMs, including press releases, settlement agreements, history and international installations of this type of accessible digital technology.