The Riigikogu today passed the Products and Services Accessibility Act that aims to simplify the lives of more than 150 000 people. The new law increases accessibility for all people to certain products and services, as well as information about them.
"The Products and Services Accessibility Act is a major step forward for our society so that we can be more considerate to people with visual or hearing disabilities, are in wheelchairs, have motor impairments or suffer from other limited functional capacities", said Signe Riisalo, Minister of Social Protection. "Accessibility means that the entire population is included in the living and information environment and that equal opportunities are afforded to everyone to participate in society. When creating a public space, building, website, service or anything other, it is worthwhile considering how it can be used by all people.”
The Products and Services Accessibility Act regulates the accessibility of computer hardware and operating systems, payment terminals, self-service terminals, terminal equipment with interactive data processing capacity and e-readers. The legislation also regulates the accessibility of electronic communications services (incl. emergency services), services enabling access to audio-visual media services, transport services, consumer banking and financial services, and e-books and e-commerce services.
The requirements enter into force on 28 June 2025, which provides three years to find the best technical solutions.
There are over 150 000 people in Estonia with differing levels of severity and types of disabilities. The percentage of people aged over 65 in the population of Estonia was 20% in 2021 and is expected to increase to one third by 2050.
Five ministries have worked together to transpose the accessibility Directive: the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Social Affairs. The draft law transposes the EU accessibility Directive.
The requirements of the Directive harmonise accessibility Regulations in the internal EU market. This will benefit consumers and also businesses, as they will be able to offer products and services across borders within the EU more easily, avoiding the need to adapt them to the rules of different Member States.