Press Releases

Press Release
City of Chilliwack Upgrades Website Accessibility April 13, 2021

Chilliwack, BC: Thanks to community feedback during the development of the Mayor’s Task Force on Inclusiveness, Diversity and Accessibility (MTFIDA), the City learned of the need to make chilliwack.com more available and accessible to people with disabilities. The MTFIDA Action Plan prioritized online accessibility and the City has taken steps to make those improvements.

After a review of the City’s website, which included feedback from the Accessibility Advisory Panel, a new interface has been added to chilliwack.com that can make accessibility modifications based on a person’s individual needs. These adjustments are compliant with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which are considered the standard for website accessibility.

The accessibility interface from accessiBe makes design related adjustments as needed along with using an AI-powered background process to handle more complex requirements, such as optimization for screen-readers, for keyboard navigation, and other assistive technology and devices. With the implementation of accessiBe’s interface, every visitor can make adjustments as needed for their individual needs or disability. The accessibility interface also offers a variety of profiles to choose from, such as the vision impaired profile, a keyboard navigation profile, cognitive disability profile, and more. Website visitors can select a profile to automatically activate relevant adjustments, or they can choose to enable singular adjustments, like increasing font sizes or changing colour contrasts.

To use the accessibility interface on chilliwack.com, website visitors can click the blue and white icon of a person in the bottom right corner of the webpage, or click ‘Accessibility’ above the search bar. This will bring up a panel of accessibility adjustments for each user to customize. Once a website visitor adjusts the website to their preferred settings, these will be saved across the website.

“On behalf of my co-chairs on the Mayor’s Task Force for Inclusiveness, Diversity and Accessibility, Councillors Jason Lum and Bud Mercer and all of Council, I would like to thank the members of our Accessibility Advisory Panel for bringing the need for greater website accessibility to our attention,” said Mayor Popove. “This is only a first step towards providing a better online experience to community members that live with a disability and we acknowledge that we have much more work to do, but we are committed to continuing our learning journey and making improvements as we learn.”

Residents that would like to discuss needs and opportunities around inclusion, diversity and accessibility directly with the Mayor can schedule a Zoom meeting through the Open Door Fridays program until September. These are private, one-on-one meetings with the Mayor with one staff member in attendance for note taking purposes.

For more information about the MTFIDA Action Plan, please visit chilliwack.com/inclusion.

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