In 2014 the Equal Opportunities Commission (the “Commission”) launched the Discrimination Law Review (the “Review”). The Review is the first comprehensive assessment of Hong Kong’s anti-discrimination legislation since the passing of the Sex Discrimination Ordinance, the Family Status Discrimination Ordinance, the Disability Discrimination Ordinance and the Race Discrimination Ordinance. The public consultation process of the Review was completed on 31 October 2014. The Commission received approximately 122,000 submissions from individuals and organisations. It aims to report to the Government with its findings and recommendations in the second half of 2015.
Among other things, the Commission is considering recommending a merger of all four anti-discrimination ordinances for consistency and ease of understanding and application. Other proposals being considered are: legislating against prejudice based on nationality, citizenship and residency (prompted by the anti-mainlander protests); widening the definition of marital status to include de-facto relationships (including heterosexual and homosexual relationships); and including a requirement to provide reasonable accommodation for the disabled.
Assuming the Commission produces its report this year, we can expect substantive proposals for change in the existing anti-discrimination legislation in 2015.