Revised timetable on disability discrimination legislation

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A revised timetable has been announced for the implementation of disability discrimination in the island.

Social Care Minister Chris Robertshaw MHK said the Disability Discrimination Act, which received Royal assent in 2006, will not be implemented in its current form.

That’s because equality legislation is being drawn up that would repeal the Act in its entirety.

He said the equality legislation would go further on disability discrimination than the current Act in a range of circumstances, covering the provision of goods, facilities and services, the exercise of public functions, premises, work, education and associations.

He insisted the move ‘should not be interpreted as a delay in implementation but simply practical management of the integration of the two pieces of legislation.

Now, consultation on equality legislation is anticipated to take place in May 2014. Subject to public consultation response and Tynwald approval, Royal assent is expected in the second quarter of 2016. And the implementation of the disability parts of the legislation is planned for July 2016.

Mr Robertshaw said: ‘The department considers the approach taken will avoid any confusion amongst the public and businesses about consultation on regulations under an Act that will be subsequently repealed.’

Part of the work to be carried out by the DSC and a multi-agency forum, which includes the Manx Deaf Society and the Manx Blind Welfare Society, involves determining the definition of ‘reasonable’ in the context of the legislation.

The Disability Discrimination Act aims to demand minimum levels of disabled access to buildings and prevent discrimination against disabled people in the supply of goods and services.

Similar legislation was introduced in the UK in 1995, to be superseded by the Equality Act in 2010.

The UK Equality Act covers discrimination on factors including sexual orientation, age, religion, disability, race and sex. It covers areas such as work, education and as a consumer.

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