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Accessibility checklist: What you need to know for May 1

Mandatory training for all employees, prioritization for updating documents, info on PDFs, and more

April 16, 2024 — 

We are working together to ensure that all UM information and communication is accessible by May 1, 2024, to meet provincial legislation for the Accessibility for Manitobans Act (AMA) Accessible Information and Communication Standard.

How are things going with updating documents, course materials and websites? Have you completed your mandatory accessibility training yet? These should be top of mind as the deadline approaches. Thank you to those who have already taken the training course — over 5,000 so far — and to everyone working diligently to make websites, print and digital materials compliant.

Read on for an overview of how to focus your time over the next few weeks.


Top three things

Here are the top three things you need to know for the May 1 deadline:

  1. All employees: Complete the mandatory UM Learn training course, Accessibility Training (Information and Communication Standard), by May 1. It takes about 20 to 30 minutes and does not include any tests. According to the legislation, all employees — faculty and staff including instructors and TAs, part-time, temporary, contract, geographic full-time medical faculty (GFTs), Nil appointments — must complete this training. See details, including how to access the course.
  2. All employees/units: Update your print and digital materials to make them accessible, prioritizing the most-used materials and documents. This includes course materials, and documents and materials on UM Intranet, SharePoint and Teams sites. See more below, including tools and training for making accessible materials.
  3. Site owners and web content authors: Remediate the website for accessibility using the Siteimprove tool. Recorded Siteimprove training sessions and links to support documentation are available on the Accessibility hub on UM Intranet.


If you have questions, please reach out to the AMAIC team using this AMAIC question form.   


Updating materials for accessibility: Prioritizing for the May 1 deadline 

As we work to make websites and print and digital materials compliant by the May 1 deadline, use the following strategy to complete the compliance requirement: 

  1. Prioritize your most used documents: Think about the documents you use most and create a plan to remediate (fix) those documents first.
  2. Prioritize people-focused material: The documents you point people to often (everyone including students, prospective students, fellow employees, prospective employees, retirees, clients, customers, volunteers, visitors, parents, the public) should be accessible. At very least, provide an active offer for documents that can’t be fixed before May 1.
  3. Unsure how? Take advantage of our tools and training. If you or your team need training to create accessible documents, plan to attend an LOD training session offered by our IT Learning Coordinator, Rob Wiebe. Available before and after May 1. See more below.


About PDFs

The project team has had a lot of questions about PDFs and whether (and how) they can be used.

PDFs can be used — for text-heavy, dense documents in particular — but should be accessible. Ensure that your PDFs have been properly formatted so that they can be read by a screen reader and check your PDFs using the tools/training provided, as outlined in the section below.

On websites, HTML pages are preferred but sometimes PDFs cannot be avoided. Ideally PDFs on websites should be accessible — you will need a plan to remediate inaccessible PDFs on the website. As a temporary measure if you’re not able to remediate by May 1, include an active offer clearly on the webpage.

See also: ‘Using PDFs’ in Drupal support on UM Intranet.


Tools and training for creating accessible documents

UM has invested in resources to help faculty and staff make print and digital material accessible.

Training for creating accessible documents in Microsoft and Adobe (including PDFs) is available weekly through April. All faculty and staff who create PDF documents should take at least one of these training sessions. Register through the LOD registration system; the courses are listed as:  

  • M365: Microsoft Accessibility Checker  
  • Adobe Checking for Accessibility

Additional supports are available here: Microsoft accessibility resources (Microsoft support) and on the Accessibility hub.

A course content accessibility checker called Panorama is available in UM Learn for all UM employees including faculty, instructors and staff. Visit The Centre’s Panorama information page for more information.


Accessibility hub on UM Intranet

The Accessibility hub on UM Intranet is a self-serve site resource with definitions and documentation, links to the Act, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1, instructions and techniques for creating accessible content, Siteimprove training and information, and much more.  

Visit the Accessibility hub for more information about the Information and Communication Standard (AMAIC) and links to documentation and tools to support this effort.   


Previous UM Today articles

Apr. 9: What is ‘Duty to notify’ or an active offer? Breaking down accessibility requirements, including alternate or accessible formats

Mar. 18: Mandatory training for employees will make UM more accessible for all (UM Learn course)

Mar. 12: Accessibility in UM’s digital spaces: Why designing for digital accessibility matters to us all 

Mar. 5: A shared responsibility: Employees to help ensure accessibility of UM information (web remediation, Siteimprove training) 

Nov. 27: Project launched to meet Manitoba’s Accessible Information and Communication Standard


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