The Disabilities Act came into effect on February 14, 2022. This followed the act’s approval in 2014 and the affirmation of the Disabilities Regulations in 2021. The act makes provisions to safeguard and enhance the welfare of persons with disabilities across Jamaica. It also aims to protect and promote equal rights for the disabled and prohibits discrimination against them, in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), of which Jamaica is a signatory.
The main objectives of the act are:
- To encourage all Jamaicans to recognise and accept the principle that PWDs have the same fundamental rights as any other person.
- To promote individual dignity, freedom of choice and independence of PWDs.
- To ensure that PWDs can take part effectively and are included on an equal basis with others in all aspects of national life.
- To prevent or prohibit discrimination against PWDs.
- To promote acceptance of PWDs and respect for their differences as human beings.
Key rights addressed in the act include:
- The Right to Education and Training. The act prohibits any educational or training institution from preventing a person from enrolling at or attending an institution because of his or her disability. Additionally, such institutions are required to provide the support necessary to ensure that PWDs who attend the institution have unrestricted access to its facilities according to their individual needs.
- The Right to Employment. Under the act, no employer should deny an otherwise qualified PWD employment because of his or her disability. Employers should also ensure that PWDs under their employ are afforded opportunities for training, transfer or any other benefits extended to other employees.
- The Right to Adequate Healthcare. Healthcare providers are required by law to provide services without discrimination on the basis of a disability. Providers should ensure that PWDs have access to the same range and standard of affordable health services offered to other persons. Providers are also required to provide PWDs with the health services required because of their disability, including screening, treatment and rehabilitation.
- The Right to Access Public Passenger Vehicles. In keeping with the act, the Government of Jamaica (GOJ) will ensure the provision of public passenger vehicles that are accessible to and usable by PWDs.
For additional information, contact:
Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities
18 Ripon Road
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