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What is Web accessibility?

The definition adopted by the World Wide Web Consortium   (W3C) is as follows: “Making the Web and its services available to all individuals, regardless of hardware, software, network infrastructure, native language, culture, geographical location, or physical or mental disabilities”.

Accessibility makes it possible to provide universal or inclusive access, i.e. without any discrimination among users (including disabled persons), regardless of the technologies used to access information (personal computers, interactive terminals, mobile phones and other). Web accessibility therefore meets the needs of many more typical profiles of users than people officially recognized as disabled (Office des personnes handicapées du Québec  , 2007 provincial statistics). All Quebecers have an accessible website that they can find quickly in search engines and that is easy to use for the elderly (age-related disabilities), people requiring glasses or contact lenses (that, for various reasons, are not always adjusted to a person’s sight), people with visual disabilities in distinguishing colours (for example, the colour-blind, that is, 8% of men), the illiterate (about 468 000 people in Québec 15 to 64 years of age with fewer than nine years of schooling), new immigrants who know little French, people who have been injured or who are temporarily unable to use a keyboard or a mouse, and so on. It is essential that the blind be able to browse an accessible website so that the technical aid hardware (Braille display) and software (voice synthesis software that makes it possible to interpret the informational content of web pages) can give them an optimal user experience. People with reduced mobility can also browse more easily on the Internet if they have access to a website with keyboard shortcuts enabling them to quickly access certain important content on the pages.

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Compliance with the gouvernement du Québec accessibility standard

The Secrétariat du Conseil du trésor (SCT) of the gouvernement du Québec undertook to ensure that its website is accessible to people with disabilities or major technical restrictions. Bell Canada was mandated as an external supplier not subject to the standard for the development of a website consistent with the gouvernement du Québec standard governing website accessibility (SGQRI 008-01), using preliminary version 0.8 dated August 26, 2009. The enterprise has also conducted user tests with a number of participants, some of whom are blind and use a Braille reader and screen reader software.

The SCT website aims to comply from all standpoints with the requirements of the three future standards for Web accessibility. Since the project is not over, some points are still being developed. The final version of the website will ensure the necessary corrections. In the meantime, an “Accessibility” page will inform users of all the SCT’s practices and techniques to make its website accessible.

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How has Bell Canada, as an external supplier, ensured that the site is in compliance?

Since the external supplier developed the website, Bell Canada complied with all the requirements in Section II: Spécifications du Standard sur l'accessibilité d'un site Web (specifications of the standard for website accessibility) (SGQRI 008-01), using preliminary version 0.8, dated August 26, 2009. That was possible in particular by complying with the W3C (XHTML 1.1, CSS) standards as regards the format of the document and the presentation of the content for various browsers and operating systems.

HTML pages are structured so that a screen reader follows the same logic as a sighted user. The menus are read first, followed by the block of principal content. The header of each HTML file contains tags that make it possible to quickly find the title and summary of the content of each page.

Here are a few concrete examples of the ways in which the standard is complied with:


  • XHTML 1.1 standards of the W3C are complied with for the structure of the document and the content.
  • Each HTML tag is used according to its basic meaning.
  • The CSS standards of the W3C are complied with for the presentation of the content.
  • The structure and the content are detached from the presentation (use of CSS style sheets).
  • A table is used only to present data in tabular format.
  • Lists are included in list fields.
  • Title tags are used only to structure the content hierarchically.
  • Non-decorative images all contain an ALT attribute describing their content.
  • Texts in the form of images are repeated in their ALT attribute.
  • The language of the text on the page is programmed for screen readers.
  • Browsing mechanisms are consistent throughout the website.
  • Wording is related to the form fields with a unique identifier.
  • Links are all contextualized in order to make it easier to understand them.
  • External links are identified with the TITLE attribute.
  • The list of links is accessible when the JavaScript function is deactivated.
  • Keyboard shortcuts were configured (see list below).


  • Browsing mechanisms are consistent throughout the website.
  • Presentation of content and functionalities is consistent throughout the website.
  • All text-type elements on the website comply with the required level of contrast.
  • All links are visually identified.
  • External links are identified by a different colour.
  • Links to downloadable documents are identified by an icon.
  • The weight and type of downloadable documents are given in each link.
  • The font size can be changed using the tool on the website or in the browser option.

* These accessibility rules abide by good practices in improving the user experience.

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Accessibility parameters included in several Microsoft products

The Microsoft website can help you parameterize some of the tools provided with your operating system, Internet Explorer or Office Suite, in order to facilitate document reading, listening and use. For example, Windows has a virtual keyboard and a magnifier for the content on the screen, among its accessibility accessories. To discover these Microsoft products and obtain advice on how to use them, visit the following website: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/help/accessibility  .

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If you need assistance when you browse the website or if you cannot access some content using assistive technologies, please call us at the following number (toll free): 1 866 552-5158.

Latest revision: January 18, 2010

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