The Web Accessibility Directive will be introduced outside of the EU
Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein are connected to the European Union through the European Economic Area act, EAA, which covers how EU regulations are applied in the three countries. When it comes to the Web Accessibility Directive, WAD, Norway has decided to implement the law 9 months after the introduction in the EU countries.
The Norwegian Equality and Anti-Discrimination Act will be updated so that it aligns with WAD and enters into force on the 1st July 2019. Just like within EU, website owners will have time to comply with the regulations.
The existing Norwegian law has some exceptions when it comes to technical requirements, which will now be harmonised with the European norm (H)EN301549, making it easier to buy and sell accessibility services across borders.
Same rules for all or increased requirements for the private sector
It is still unclear whether the Directive will apply only to the public sector - as is the case in the European Member States - or whether the commercial sector is to be covered as well. Today's Norwegian law also applies to private actors, so this is a delicate question. There is currently a proposal that the requirements should only apply to companies with more than 50 employees.
According to the Norwegian monitoring agency Difi,, there were no commercial actors who responded during the previous public consultation period, so yet another public hearing will be held this autumn. It is puzzling that no one reacted to significant increased regulations, but could possibly be a sign of how little coverage disability issues get in Norwegian media.
Before Norway decides on how to incorporate the commercial sector, the European Accessibility Act may already have entered into force. This new and highly debated legislation is meant to include private sector and may be published at the European Day of Persons with Disabilities in December. But it may also take longer. When it comes to the EU, it is usually safest not to hold your breath.