Canada’s banks are leaders in providing accessible environments for their customers and employees and are committed to preventing and removing barriers to accessing banking services.
Most banks have dedicated accessibility groups within their human resource and information technology functions. These groups have a mandate to offer barrier-free facilities and services in their branches, offices, and bank machines; and through their websites, phone banking and mobile applications. Examples include:
- enhancements at branches such as door operators, ramps and washroom upgrades,
- sign language interpreters upon request,
- braille, large print and audio for various customer materials,
- accessibility features on websites, such as colour contrast and the ability to increase text size,
- teletype technology for telephone banking,
- video relay services that allow customers who are deaf and use sign language to conduct their banking remotely, and
- features on mobile apps including sounds and vibrations that let customers know when transactions are complete and large buttons to assist customers who only have the use of one hand or who have a tremor.
Support for the Accessible Canada Act
Canada’s banking sector supported Bill C-81 - An Act to ensure a barrier-free Canada (the Accessible Canada Act) which came into force in 2019. The Canadian Bankers Association (CBA) was actively involved in the consultation process that led to the Act, and supported regulations that set the standards for accessibility in Canada.
Support for employees
Banks are leaders in the support and development of inclusive workplaces. Banks offer individual solutions to employees with accommodation needs and have dedicated departments to ensure they continue to foster an accessible work environment.
Banks have moved accessibility mandates forward in their institutions through various approaches including accessibility committees, policies and strategies, all with the goal to continuously work towards amplifying the voices of employees with disabilities.
How the CBA is helping
The CBA is also committed to supporting accessibility through its partnership with eSSENTIAL Accessibility™. Many individuals have trouble typing, moving a mouse or reading a web page and would have trouble accessing a website without assistive technology. eSSENTIAL Accessibility™ provides free software that can be easily downloaded to a computer to assist individuals in accessing information on the Internet.
Through its support of eSSENTIAL Accessibility™ and its adherence to standards under the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG) and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, the Association maintains an ongoing commitment to ensuring the CBA website is accessible to everyone.
More work to be done
Banks recognize that although significant progress has been made in making Canada more inclusive, people with disabilities still encounter barriers. Banks are committed to continually working to improve the inclusive design of their branches, products and services.
You can find out more about banks’ accessibility commitments on their websites:
Canadian Western Bank: https://www.cwbank.com/en/about-us/accessibility
EQ Bank: https://www.equitablebank.ca/accessibility
HSBC Bank Canada: https://www.hsbc.ca/accessibility/
Laurentian Bank: https://www.laurentianbank.ca/en/accessibility.html
National Bank: https://www.nbc.ca/natbank/accessibility.html
TD Bank Group: https://www.td.com/ca/en/about-td/accessibility