JIS News

The Ministry of Labour and Social Security will be hosting its Access to Information ‘Open Day’ this Friday, December 10, and the public is invited to view or request documents that fall within the parameters of the Access to Information Act.
Scheduled to begin at 9:00 a.m. at the Ministry’s North Street Office in Kingston, the ‘Open Day’ will involve exhibitions, which will showcase the various services of the Ministry, as well as presentations on topical issues, such as the Access to Information Act, National Insurance, and Electronic Labour Exchange.
A panel discussion on HIV/AIDS will begin at 2:00 p.m., with a focus on the disease within the context of the work environment. The topic of debate will be, ‘HIV/AIDS: To test or not to test, what are the virtues’.
Panelists for the discussion will comprise representatives from Jamaica AIDS Support, the Jamaica Employers’ Federation, the Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions, the Ministry of Health, the International Labour Organization and the Ministry of Labour and Social Security.
Director of Documentation, Information and Access Services in the Ministry, Portia Magnus told JIS News that the Open Day would be very informative and interesting, and implored members of the public to participate in the day’s proceedings and use the opportunity to access information on various issues that fall within the ambit of the Ministry.
The Access to Information Act, implemented in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security on August 31 this year, gives members of the public the right to access information from the Ministry, as well other Ministries and agencies that fall under the scope of the Act.
“Prior to the Act, persons could not come and ask for a document [as if they had] a right to get it, but with this new piece of legislation, it is a right that persons have.even though there are a few categories that are exempt.but people have the right to go into government offices and request information,” Miss Magnus said.
Under the Act, persons may request documents by using e-mails, facsimiles, letters, telephone calls, make face-to-face requests, or use the Access to Information application forms available at the various ministries.
With respect to the length of time it takes to access documents, under the Act, Ministries have a 30-day period within which to provide documents to persons making requests or provide information as to where applicants may access such documents, if they are not held by the Ministry to which the request is made.

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