Friday, June 21, 2024
HomeMASSACHUSETTSBostonGovernor Healey Signs Executive Order Establishing Digital Accessibility and Equity Governance Board (VIDEO)

Governor Healey Signs Executive Order Establishing Digital Accessibility and Equity Governance Board (VIDEO)

Order highlights Healey-Driscoll Administration’s dedication to provide a more equitable, inclusive, and accessible digital experience for everyone 

BOSTON – In the spirit of Disability Pride Month and on the 33rd anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Governor Maura Healey, joined by Secretary Jason Snyder and representatives of the disability community, signed Executive Order #613, creating the Digital Accessibility and Equity Governance Board to strengthen and advance digital accessibility and equity within the Commonwealth.

The Board will be chaired by the newly-established position of Chief Information Technology Accessibility Officer (CIAO) within the Executive Office of Technology Services and Security (EOTSS) and will work with Secretary Snyder to lead the active engagement in driving all digital applications to be fully functional and accessible for everyone.  Through ongoing monitoring, support for testing, and internal reporting, the Digital Accessibility and Equity Program will ensure that digital accessibility and equity standards are aligned across the executive department. 

“In Massachusetts, we strive to be a model for equity, inclusion, and accessibility. Through the leadership of Secretary Snyder and the Executive Office of Technology Services and Security, we’ve made significant progress on people-centric improvements to government digital services,” said Governor Healey. “The establishment of the Digital Accessibility and Equity Governance Board represents our commitment to supporting individuals with disabilities and making government more accessible and equitable for all.” 


“Our Administration remains committed to making government more inclusive and accessible, including for those who have disabilities and those who may have difficulty reading or speaking English,” said Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll. “This Executive Order is a major step toward achieving meaningful improvements to accessibility of government services and I look forward to supporting the Board in its important work.” 


“Today, a majority of people interact with state government online and everyone has unique challenges, perspectives, and life experiences that affect how they interact with state services online,” said Technology Services and Security Secretary Jason Snyder. “When we build digital services for people with different needs, we build better for everyone.” 


The issue of IT Accessibility has been critically important and vital to many people within state government for over 30 years and as I always say, ‘you cannot go backwards in life,’ but I am ecstatic that we are taking this important issue forward,” said Massachusetts Office on Disability Executive Director Mary Mahon McCauley. 


Members of the Digital Accessibility and Equity Governance Board will include: 

  • The CIAO
  • Secretaries of executive offices
  • The Governor’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Access and Opportunity
  • The Executive Director of the Massachusetts Office on Disability
  • The Commissioner of the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
  • The Commissioner of the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind
  • Members of the public with expertise or lived experience with digital accessibility issues


The CIAO and the Board will be supported in its mission to develop and implement strategies and platforms to promote best practices for digital accessibility and equity by the appointment of Secretariat IT Accessibility Officers (SIAOs) in each of the executive department’s secretariats. To ensure accountability and transparency with the public, metrics to track the progress of the Board will be displayed on a public-facing dashboard. 


While this Executive Order only pertains to the executive department, independent agencies, public institutions of higher education, other constitutional offices, the judiciaries, and municipalities are highly encouraged to participate with the Board and to adopt policies consistent with those advanced by the Board to maximize its impact. 


As the Commonwealth’s lead technology and cybersecurity secretariat, EOTSS is charged with the responsibility of coordinating the Administration’s information technology activities and ensuring that all executive department agencies adhere to its published standards, policies, and procedures. This enterprise approach provides a single, comprehensive framework and ensures that the Commonwealth is in alignment on all technology needs, including data privacy, cybersecurity risk management, and now digital accessibility and equity through the creation of the Digital Accessibility and Equity Program. 


Statements of Support: 


Kim Charlson, Executive Director of the Perkins Library 

“As more and more of our daily lives are conducted online, equitable, inclusive and accessible digital experiences must be provided for everyone, including people who are blind, have low vision, or other disabilities.” 


Dr. Opeoluwa Sotonwa, Commissioner of the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing 

We commend Governor Healey for her bold vision to instill inclusive and accessible digital communication across all channels for all constituents of the Commonwealth. We are at an inflection point — The pandemic has unleashed unprecedented innovation. This Executive Order will ensure that Massachusetts continues to set the pace by harnessing the full spectrum of untapped technologies to promote operational efficiency and accessibility, which is at the heart of all we do at MCDHH. 


John Oliveira, Acting Commissioner of the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind 

“It is critical that people with disabilities have access to the information and resources they need. Governor Healey’s executive order takes much-needed action to increase the accessibility of websites across the Commonwealth, reducing digital barriers and enhancing usability for all.”

Charles Carr, Legislative Liaison, Disability Policy Consortium 

“Inclusion of marginalized people has become the cornerstone of the Healey-Driscoll Administration. Requiring universal access and inclusion in the Commonwealth’s IT systems for people with disabilities promotes equality, inclusion and ultimately innovation in the workplace. It’s fitting that this announcement is being made as we celebrate the 33rd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.”



- Advertisment -