CAN/ASC - EN 301 549:2024 Accessibility requirements for ICT products and services (EN 301 549:2021, IDT)

This standard is a National Standard of Canada.

All content below is part of the official standard.

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Table of contents

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1.  Scope
2.  References
3.  Definition of terms, symbols and abbreviations
4.  Functional performance
5.  Generic requirements
6.  ICT with two-way voice communication
7.  ICT with video capabilities
8.  Hardware
9.  Web
10.  Non-web documents
11.  Software
12. Documentation and support services
13.  ICT providing relay or emergency service access 
14.  Conformance
Annex A (informative): Relationship between the present document and the essential
Annex B (informative): Relationship between requirements and functional
Annex C (normative): Determination of conformance
Annex D (informative): Further resources for cognitive accessibility 
Annex E (informative): Guidance for users of the present document 
Annex F (informative): Change history

About Accessibility Standards Canada

Accessibility Standards Canada, under whose auspices this standard has been produced, is a Government of Canada departmental corporation mandated through the Accessible Canada Act. Accessibility Standards Canada’s Standards contribute to the purpose of the Accessible Canada Act, which is to benefit all persons, especially persons with disabilities, through the realization of a Canada without barriers through the identification, removal, and prevention of accessibility barriers.

Disability, as defined by the Accessible Canada Act, means any impairment, including a physical, mental, intellectual, cognitive, learning, communication or sensory impairment — or a functional limitation — whether permanent, temporary, or episodic in nature, or evident or not, that, in interaction with a barrier, hinders a person’s full and equal participation in society. 
All of Accessibility Standards Canada’s standards development work, including the work of our technical committees, is carried out in recognition of, and in accordance with, the following principles in the Accessible Canada Act

  • all persons must be treated with dignity regardless of their disabilities;
  • all persons must have the same opportunity to make for themselves the lives that they are able and wish to have regardless of their disabilities;
  • all persons must have barrier-free access to full and equal participation in society, regardless of their disabilities;
  • all persons must have meaningful options and be free to make their own choices, with support if they desire, regardless of their disabilities;
  • laws, policies, programs, services, and structures must take into account the disabilities of persons, the different ways that persons interact with their environments and the multiple and intersecting forms of marginalization and discrimination faced by persons;
  • persons with disabilities must be involved in the development and design of laws, policies, programs, services, and structures; and
  • the development and revision of accessibility standards and the making of regulations must be done with the objective of achieving the highest level of accessibility for persons with disabilities.

These principles align with the principles of the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, ratified by the Government of Canada in 2010 to recognize the importance of promoting, protecting, and upholding the human rights of persons with disabilities to participate fully in their communities.

Accessibility Standards Canada seeks to create standards that are aligned with its vision. This includes commitments to break down barriers to accessibility and abide by the principle of “nothing without us” in our standards development process, where everyone, including persons with disabilities, can expect a Canada without barriers.

The standards development process used by Accessibility Standards Canada is the most accessible in Canada, if not the world. Accessibility Standards Canada provides accommodations to meet the needs of Technical Committee members with disabilities. Accessibility Standards Canada provides compensation for people with disabilities to encourage their active participation. Accessibility Standards Canada ensures an accessible public review process, including accessible permission forms and multiple formats of the standard, to encourage Canadians with disabilities to comment.

Standards developed by Accessibility Standards Canada are designed to achieve the highest levels of accessibility. This means that Accessibility Standards Canada standards create equity-based technical requirements while taking into consideration national and international best practices, as opposed to focusing on minimum technical requirements. 

Accessibility Standards Canada applies an intersectional framework to capture the experiences of people with disabilities who also identify as LGBTQ2+, Indigenous Peoples, women, and visible minorities. Its standards development process requires that technical committees apply a cross-disability perspective to ensure that no new barriers to accessibility are unintentionally created. In addition, standards developed by Accessibility Standards Canada align with 14 of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which were adopted by Canada in 2015 to promote partnership, peace and prosperity for all people and the planet by 2030.

Accessibility Standards Canada is engaged in the production of voluntary accessibility standards, which are developed by technical committees using a consensus-based approach. Each technical committee is composed of a balanced group of experts who develop the technical content of a standard. At least 30 % of these technical experts are people with disabilities and lived experience and 30% are from equity seeking groups including LGBTQ2+, indigenous peoples, women and visible minorities. These technical experts also include consumers and other users, government and authorities, labour and unions, other standards development organizations, businesses and industry, academic and research bodies, and non-governmental organizations. 

All Accessibility Standards Canada standards also incorporate related findings from research reports conducted through Accessibility Standards Canada’s Advancing Accessibility Grants and Contributions program. This program involves persons with disabilities, experts, and organizations to advance accessibility standards research and supports research projects that help with the identification, removal, and prevention of new barriers to accessibility.

Accessibility Standards Canada standards are subject to review and revision to ensure that they reflect current trends and best practices. Accessibility Standards Canada will follow the international maintenance review cycle for this standard. Suggestions for improvement, which are always welcome, should be brought to the notice of the respective technical committee. Changes to standards are issued either as separate amendments or in new editions of standards. 

As a Standards Council of Canada Accredited Standards Development Organization, all Accessibility Standards Canada standards are developed through an accredited standards development process and follow Standard Council of Canda’s Requirements and Guidance for Standards Development Organizations. These voluntary standards apply to federally regulated entities and can be recommended to the Minister responsible for the Accessible Canada Act (i.e., the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion). 

In addition to its focus on developing accessibility standards, Accessibility Standards Canada has been a leader amongst Canadian federal organizations for promoting and adopting accessibility internal to government. Accessibility Standards Canada is the first organization in the federal government to have a Board of Directors majority-led by persons with disabilities. Accessibility Standards Canada has a state-of-the-art accessible office space for its employees, Board of Directors, and Technical Committee Members. The carefully designed accessible workspace aligns with the organization’s belief in the importance of universal accessibility.

To obtain additional information on Accessibility Standards Canada, its standards or publications, please contact: 
Web site:

Accessibility Standards Canada
320, St-Joseph Boulevard
Suite 246
Gatineau, QC K1A 0H3

Standards Council of Canada statement

A National Standard of Canada is a standard developed by a Standards Council of Canada (SCC) accredited Standards Development Organization, in compliance with requirements and guidance set out by SCC. More information on National Standards of Canada can be found at

SCC is a Crown corporation within the portfolio of Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) Canada. With the goal of enhancing Canada's economic competitiveness and social well-being, SCC leads and facilitates the development and use of national and international standards. SCC also coordinates Canadian participation in standards development, and identifies strategies to advance Canadian standardization efforts.

Accreditation services are provided by SCC to various customers, including product certifiers, testing laboratories, and standards development organizations. A list of SCC programs and accredited bodies is publicly available at

ASC Legal Notice – Final Publication

ASC Legal Notice – Final Publication

Please read this Legal Notice before using the standard document.

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The Canadian Accessibility Standards Development Organization (operating as “Accessibility Standards Canada”) standards are developed through a consensus-based standards development process approved by the Standards Council of Canada. This process brings together volunteers representing varied viewpoints and interests to achieve consensus and develop standards. 

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Amendments and errata may have been or may eventually be developed in relation to this edition of the standard, and published separately. It is the responsibility of the users of this document to verify if any amendments or errata exist.  

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This document was developed as a reference document for voluntary use. It is the responsibility of the users to verify if laws or regulations make the application of this standard mandatory or if trade regulations or market conditions stipulate its use, for example, in technical regulations, inspection plans originating from regulatory authorities, and certification programs. 

Although the primary application of this standard is stated in its scope, it remains the responsibility of the users of this standard to judge its suitability for their particular purpose. It is also the responsibility of the users to consider limitations and restrictions specified in the purpose and/or scope of this standard. 

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In publishing and making this document available, Accessibility Standards Canada is not undertaking to render professional or other services for or on behalf of any person or entity or to perform any duty owed by any person or entity to another person or entity. The information in this document is directed to those who have the appropriate degree of knowledge and experience to use and apply its contents, and Accessibility Standards Canada accepts no responsibility whatsoever arising in any way from any and all use of or reliance on the information contained in this document. 

Accessibility Standards Canada publishes voluntary standards and related documents. Accessibility Standards Canada has no power, nor does it undertake, to enforce conformance with the contents of the standards or other documents published by Accessibility Standards Canada. 

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As between Accessibility Standards Canada and users of this document (whether it be printed, electronic or alternate form), Accessibility Standards Canada is the owner, or the authorized licensee, of all copyright and moral rights contained herein. Additionally, Accessibility Standards Canada is the owner of its official mark. Without limitation, the unauthorized use, modification, copying, or disclosure of this document may violate laws that protect Accessibility Standards Canada and / or others’ intellectual property and may give rise to a right in Accessibility Standards Canada and / or others to seek legal redress for such use, modification, copying, or disclosure. To the extent permitted by licence or by law, Accessibility Standards Canada reserves all intellectual property and other rights in this document. 

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Some elements of this standard may be the subject of patent rights or pending patent applications. Accessibility Standards Canada shall not be held responsible for identifying any or all such patent rights. Users of this standard are expressly informed that determination of the existence and / or validity of any such patent rights is entirely their own responsibility. 

Assignment of copyright

In this legal notice, a “comment” refers to all written or orally provided information, including all suggestions, that a user provides to Accessibility Standards Canada in relation to a standard and / or a draft standard. By providing a comment to Accessibility Standards Canada in relation to a standard and / or draft standard, the commenter grants to Accessibility Standards Canada and the Government of Canada a non-exclusive, royalty-free, perpetual, worldwide, and irrevocable licence to use, translate, reproduce, disclose, distribute, publish, modify, authorize to reproduce, communicate to the public by telecommunication, record, perform, or sublicense the comment, in whole or in part and in any form or medium, for revising the standard and/or draft standard, and/or for non-commercial purposes. By providing the comment, the commenter being the sole owner of the copyright or having the authority to license the copyright on behalf of their employer, confirms their ability to confer the licence and the commenter waives all associated moral rights, including, without limitation, all rights of attribution in respect of the comment. Where the provider of the comment is not the comment’s author, the provider confirms that a waiver of moral rights by the author has been made in favour of the provider or the comment’s copyright owner. At the time of providing a comment, the commenter must declare and provide a citation for any and all intellectual property within the comment that is owned by a third party.

Authorized Uses of this document

This document, in all formats including alternate formats, is being provided by Accessibility Standards Canada for informational, educational, and non-commercial use only. The users of this document are authorized to do only the following: 

  • Load this document onto a computer for the sole purpose of reviewing it;
  • Search and browse this document; 
  • Print this document if it is in electronic format; and
  • Disseminate this document for informational, educational, and non-commercial purposes.

Users shall not and shall not permit others to:

  • Alter this document in any way or remove this Legal Notice from the attached standard;
  • Sell this document without authorization from Accessibility Standards Canada; 
  • Use this document to mislead any users of a product, process or service addressed by this standard; or
  • Reproduce all of, or specific portions of the standard within other publicly available standards documents or works, unless Accessibility Standards Canada grants, in writing, permission to do so and the following attribution is included by the user: “This material comes from [insert title of standards] and cannot be further reproduced without Accessibility Standards Canada’s authorization”.

If you do not agree with any of the terms and conditions contained in this Legal Notice, you must not load or use this document or make any copies of the contents hereof. Use of this document constitutes your acceptance of the terms and conditions of this Legal Notice.

Technical committee members

Consumer and public interest

Abishek Gupta, ML Engineer, RAI Researcher, Founder, Principal Researcher, Montreal AI Ethics Institute, Boston Consulting Group (BCG), BCG Henderson Institute

John Wills, Senior Program Advisor, OPS Accessibility Office, Centre of Excellence for Human Rights.

Lisa Snider, Access Changes Everything

Luna Bengio, Accessibility Consultant and Strategic Advisor

Gary Birch, Executive Director, Neil Squire Society

Nancy McLaughlin, Senior Policy Advisor on Accessibility, Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission

Academic and research bodies

Alison Paprica, Professor (adjunct) and Senior Fellow, Institute for Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto

Clayton Lewis, Professor, University of Colorado

Lisa Liskovoi, Senior Inclusive Designer and Digital Accessibility Specialist, Inclusive Design Research Center, OCAD University

Julia Stoyanovich, Associate Professor, Director, Tandon School of Engineering NYU

Jutta Treviranus (Chairperson), Director, Professor, Inclusive Design Research Center, OCAD University

Labour and Unions

Anne Jackson, Professor, Seneca College

Federally regulated Industries and Workplaces

Saeid Molladavoudi, Senior Data Science Advisor, Statistics Canada

Government Bodies and Authorities with Jurisdiction

Kave Noori, Artificial Intelligence Policy Officer, European Disability Forum

Mia Ahlgren, Human Rights and Disability Officer, Swedish Disability Rights Federation

Business and Industry

John Weigelt, CTO Microsoft Canada, Microsoft Canada

Julianna Rowsell, Senior Product Manager, Product Equity, Adobe

Kate Kalcevich, Head of Accessibility Innovation, Fable

Merve Hickok, Founder, President and Research Director, Center for AI and Digital Policy, University of Michigan

Sambhavi Chandrashekar, Global Accessibility Lead, D2L Corporation


This European Standard was approved by CEN on 23 April 2021. 

CEN and CENELEC members are bound to comply with the CEN/CENELEC Internal Regulations which stipulate the conditions for giving this European Standard the status of a national standard without any alteration. Up-to-date lists and bibliographical references concerning such national standards may be obtained on application to the CEN-CENELEC Management Centre or to any CEN and CENELEC member.

This European Standard exists in three official versions (English, French, German). A version in any other language made by translation under the responsibility of a CEN and CENELEC member into its own language and notified to the CEN-CENELEC Management Centre has the same status as the official versions.

CEN and CENELEC members are the national standards bodies and national electrotechnical committees of Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of North Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and United Kingdom.

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© European Telecommunications Standards Institute 2021.
© Comité Européen de Normalisation 2021.
© Comité Européen de Normalisation Electrotechnique 2021.
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Pursuant to the ETSI IPR Policy, no investigation, including IPR searches, has been carried out by ETSI. No guarantee can be given as to the existence of other IPRs not referenced in ETSI SR 000 314 (or the updates on the ETSI Web server) which are, or may be, or may become, essential to the present document.


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Modal verbs terminology

In the present document "shall", "shall not", "should", "should not", "may", "may not", "need", "need not", "will", "will not", "can" and "cannot" are to be interpreted as described in clause 3.2 of the ETSI Drafting Rules (Verbal forms for the expression of provisions).
"must" and "must not" are NOT allowed in ETSI deliverables except when used in direct citation.


This Harmonised European Standard (EN) has been produced by ETSI Technical Committee Human Factors (HF), and the eAccessibility Joint Working Group (JWG) of CEN/CENELEC/ETSI and is now submitted for the combined Public Enquiry and Vote phase of the standards EN Approval Procedure.

EN 301 549 was originally produced under Mandate M 376 [i.3] and specified functional accessibility requirements applicable to ICT products and services, together with a description of the test procedures and evaluation methodology for each accessibility requirement in a form that is suitable for use in procurement. The other deliverables prepared in response to the original Mandate M 376 were: ETSI TR 102 612 [i.9] "Human Factors (HF); European accessibility requirements for public procurement of products and services in the ICT domain (European Commission Mandate M 376, Phase 1)", TR 101 550 [i.7] "Documents relevant to EN 301 549 "Accessibility requirements suitable for public procurement of ICT products and services in Europe"", TR 101 551 [i.8] "Guidelines on the use of accessibility award criteria suitable for public procurement of ICT products and services in Europe", and TR 101 552 [i.30] "Guidance for the application of conformity assessment to accessibility requirements for public procurement of ICT products and services in Europe". These have not been updated to reflect any changes to the content or scope of the present document, made as a part of the M 554 revision effort.

This revision to EN 301 549 has been prepared under the Commission's standardisation request C(2017)2585 final [i.27] to provide, in additions to its other uses, one voluntary means of conforming to the essential requirements of Directive 2016/2102 on the accessibility of the websites and mobile applications of public sector bodies [i.28]. The minimum requirements of the European Web Accessibility Directive (Directive 2016/2102) are explicitly detailed in Annex A.

Once the present document is cited in the Official Journal of the European Union under Directive 2016/2102 [i.28], conformance with the normative clauses of the present document given in Tables A.1 and A.2 confers, within the limits of the scope of the present document, a presumption of conformity with the corresponding essential requirements of that Directive and associated EFTA regulations. 

The present document has been developed from EN 301 549 [i.29] (V2.1.2) (08-2018).
The significant changes since EN 301 549 [i.29] (V2.1.2) are:

  • the requirements related to Real-Time Text (RTT) in clause 6.2 have been revised and extended;
  • the WCAG 2.1 AAA Success Criteria that were previously in an Annex D are now included in clause 9.5;
  • a new Annex D, "Further resources for cognitive accessibility", has been added;
  • a new Annex E "Guidance for users of the present document" has been added.
  • a new Annex F "change history" has been added.

National transposition dates

Date of adoption of this EN:
10 March 2021
Date of latest announcement of this EN (doa):
30 June 2021
Date of latest publication of new National Standard or endorsement of this EN (dop/e):
31 December 2021
Date of withdrawal of any conflicting National Standard (dow):
31 December 2022


The present document is developed in response to standardisation request M 554 [i.27] from the European Commission to CEN, CENELEC and ETSI. It is a revision of the European Standard (EN) that was initially prepared in response to Phase 2 of Mandate M 376 [i.3].
The present document covers a wide range of requirements for a variety of ICT solutions. It is relevant for all organizations who buy, develop or manufacture ICT products or services. It consists of fourteen clauses and six annexes:

  • Clauses 0 to 3 include background information, the scope of the standard, and links to other standards, definitions and explanations of abbreviations.
  • Clause 4 contains functional performance statements that explain the functionality that is needed to enable users with different abilities to locate, identify and operate functions in technology. The user needs underlying the functional performance statements are the basis for the requirements in subsequent clauses.
  • Clauses 5 to 13 provide specific testable criteria for accessible ICT, related to technical requirements for different kinds of ICT, starting with generic requirements in clause 5.
  • Clause 14 is about conformance. All clauses except those in clause 12, related to documentation and support services, are self-scoping. This means they are introduced with the phrase 'Where ICT <pre-condition>'. Conformance is achieved when the pre-condition is true and the corresponding test (in Annex C) is passed. When the pre-condition is false the requirement is not applicable.
  • Annex A has two tables with requirements related to Directive 2016/2102 on the accessibility of the websites and mobile applications of public sector bodies [i.28]. The first table applies to web pages and documents and the second applies to mobile applications. The minimum requirements are collected from clauses 9, 10 and 11 and some requirements from clauses 5, 6, 7 and 12 that are relevant to fulfill the Directive.
  • Annex B contains a table showing which of the requirements set out in clauses 5 to 13 related to different types of ICT support the user needs as expressed in the functional performance statements of clause 4.
  • Annex C is a normative annex that sets out the means necessary to determine conformance with the individual requirements. It does not provide a testing methodology.
  • Annex D points to additional resources related to improving accessibility for users with limited cognitive, language and learning abilities.
  • Annex E provides an overview and simple explanation of the structure of the present document, including an explanation of how it can be used.
  • Annex F provides a change history table.

When the present document is used for most purposes, including when used in ICT procurement, all of the requirements in clauses 5 to 13, as well as the functional performance statements in clause 4 should be considered. The potential applicability of any requirement can be determined from the self-scoping phrase at the beginning of each requirement.

When the present document is used as the basis to determine conformity with the essential requirements of Directive 2016/2102 on the accessibility of the websites and mobile applications of public sector bodies [i.28], Tables A.1 and A.2 in Annex A identify all the applicable requirements.

NOTE 1: The present document reflects the content of the W3C WCAG 2.1 Recommendation [5].
NOTE 2: Annex E provides an overview and simple explanation of the structure of the present document, including an explanation of how it can be used. Readers who are unfamiliar with the present document are recommended to read Annex E first to give them a better understanding of the present document and how to use it.

The WCAG 2.1 [5] content referenced in clauses 9, 10 and 11 is subject to the following specific copyright provisions: Copyright © 2017-2018 W3C® (MIT, ERCIM, Keio, Beihang). The W3C document license applies.

See the document use license and copyright FAQ for more information: