There is no protection against age discrimination in the provision of goods, facilities and services for anyone in Northern Ireland according to the Equality Commission.
A consultation is now under way to consider proposals made by Office of First and deputy First Minister (OFMDFM) to address the gap.
The Equality Commission is bringing together a wide range of employers, lawyers, government bodies and community and welfare groups in the Titanic Building on today, 27 August, to discuss the OFMDFM proposals.
The event, chaired by Dr. Michael Wardlow, Chief Commissioner of the Equality Commission, will hear from Mike Nesbitt MLA, Chair of the OFMDFM Committee, from OFMDFM officials, from Claire Keatinge, the Commissioner for Older People and from Koulla Yiasouma, the Children’s Commissioner.
Dr Wardlow said: “We see this consultation as a key and immediate opportunity to influence the delivery of new laws on age discrimination.
“It gives us a welcome chance to examine and comment on OFMDFM proposals alongside some of the groups that would be affected by the new equality law. Can we in Northern Ireland learn from experiences elsewhere of an age discrimination law that applies to the provision of goods, facilities and services?
“While people here are legally protected against age discrimination at work, we have a gap in protection in Northern Ireland that can affect people when they use services such as health and social care, finance and insurance, education and private clubs. We have been arguing for many years that the law should be extended and the consultation now under way is an important step towards achieving that.
“We are however disappointed that all age groups are not included in the proposals and continue to be of the view that the law should encompass children and young people alongside those over sixteen.”