Deadline for buildings to be compliant with disabilities act one month away

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The deadline to have all buildings that the public has access to accessible to people with disabilities is one month away. Those buildings and businesses that are not compliant by the deadline could face fines for being in contravention of the Persons with Disabilities Act.

Lester Ferguson, executive secretary of the secretariat for the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities, told Guardian Business that some government buildings have yet to be brought up to code. The act, which passed three years ago, gave the owners of buildings that many years to make their properties accessible to people with disabilities.

While Ferguson explained that he has no statistics on how many buildings many not currently be compliant, he said many owners have called the commission to confirm that their buildings have yet to be retrofitted with handicap accessibility features.

“We’ve been getting a steady stream of calls from people who may not be able to meet the deadline,” he said.

“Many buildings may be difficult to retrofit. Those owners who really have been making an effort to ensure that their buildings are compliant… where there are genuine and legitimate concerns that may involve costs or significant modifications, the commission is prepared to provide an extension.”

He said in terms of government buildings, the commission has been addressing the matter with the relevant ministries.

“There are ministries taking the steps to become compliant, they are aware of the deadline,” Ferguson said.

Owners that are not compliant could face intervention by the commission if a complaint is lodged. Ferguson said in some cases the matter could be taken to the attorney general’s office and the building owner or company could be fined or imprisoned.

Ferguson said it is likely that many buildings are not accessible to persons with disabilities because individuals seek to cut costs or circumvent the rules.

He said the Persons with Disabilities Act was not intended to cause undue burden to building owners or businesses, but to ensure that people with disabilities have equal access to features and spaces within any building.

The post Deadline for buildings to be compliant with disabilities act one month away appeared first on The Nassau Guardian.

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