Adapted physical activity has a strong position in regulation of public sports activities in Finland. According to the Constitution of Finland, physical exercise is a fundamental right to everyone. The objective of Sport Act is to promote the opportunities of various demographic groups to engage in physical activity and their well-being and health. Municipalities shall organize physical activities to promote health and well-being of their residents. This includes also people with special resulting from disability or illness. The law of land use and building states about accessibility. This site has been compiled with the key legislation of adapted physical activity.
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)
Finland ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on June 2016. The guiding principle of the Convention is to eliminate the discrimination. Finland shall promote, protect, and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities. The ratification of the Convention strengthened the status of the rights of persons with disabilities as legally binding human rights and reinforced the duty of the state to promote these rights.1
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities translated in several languages.
The Constitution of Finland (731/1999)
The Constitution of Finland decrees that everyone is equal before the law. No one shall, without an acceptable reason, be treated differently from other persons on the ground of sex, age, origin, language, religion, conviction, opinion, health, disability or other reason that concerns his or her person. Authorities', such as government and municipalities, duty is to promote equality in their activities.
Constitutional Law’s sixteenth section adjusts education rights. By the law the public authorities shall, as provided in more detail by an Act, guarantee for everyone in accordance with their ability and special needs equal opportunity to develop themselves without being prevented by economic hardship. Developing themselves includes everyone’s equal opportunity to have physical exercise. This duty concerns both the government and the municipalities.
Non-Discrimination Act (1325/2014)
The purpose of Non-Discrimination Act is to promote equality and prevent discrimination as well as to enhance the protection provided by law to those who have been discriminated against. The Act applies to both public and private activities.
Authorities have a duty to promote equality. The authorities shall evaluate the realisation of equality in their activities and take necessary measures to promote the realisation of equality. These measures shall be effective, expedient and proportionate, taking into account the authorities' operating environment, resources and other circumstances. The authorities must have a plan of the necessary measures for the promotion of equality.
As a result of the updated Finnish Non-Discrimination Act (2014/2015) many sports organisations started to work on discrimination in sports.
Local Government Act (410/2015)
Local Government Act decrees that municipalities shall advance the well-being of their residents. Municipalities shall perform functions that they choose for themselves by virtue of their self-governing status and shall arrange the functions provided for them separately by law. By the Act on the promotion of sports and physical activity (390/2015) physical exercise services are part of municipalities statutory tasks and a way to advance the well-being of their residents.
Act on the promotion of sports and physical activity (390/2015)
Act on the promotion of sports and physical activity (390/2015, later Sport Act) sets out provisions on the promotion of physical activity and top-level sports, the responsibilities of and cooperation between central and local government, the government administrative bodies and the funding to be provided by the state in the field of sports and physical activity.
The objective of Sport Act is to promote:
- the opportunities of various demographic groups to engage in physical activity;
- the well-being and health of the population;
- the maintenance and improvement of the capacity for physical activity;
- the growth and development of children and young people;
- civic action in the field of physical activity including club activities;
- top-level sports;
- integrity and ethical principles in the context of physical activity and top-level sports; and
- greater equality in sports and physical activity.
The efforts to achieve these objectives are based on the principles of equality, non- discrimination, social inclusion, multiculturalism, healthy lifestyles, respect for the environment and sustainable development
Physical activity promoting health and well-being means all types of physical activity in the course of human life designed to maintain and improve the state of health and functional ability of the population. This includes also activities that improve the ability of people with special needs for the sake of disability or illness.
The Ministry of Education and Culture is responsible for the overall management, coordination and development of the national sports policy, and for the creation of favourable conditions for engaging in physical activity Responsibility for creating opportunities and facilities for engagement in physical activities at the local level rests with the local authorities (municipalities).
Law of disability attendance (134/2010)
Law of disability attendance (L134/2010) promotes the equal participation of the people with disabilities in the society. It strives to reduce barriers of participation in the society and supports people with disabilities to participate in society and to recreational activities. For example people with severe disabilities have a right to have a personal assistant in recreational activity for 30 hours per month.2
The law of land use and building (132/1999)
The law of land use and building (L132/1999) states about accessibility. The objective in land use planning is to promote a safe, healthy, pleasant, socially functional living and working environment which provides for the needs of various population groups, such as children, the elderly and the handicapped. Finnish government financially favours the sports facilities which are open for large number of people (Finlex 2015-b).
1 Finland ratifies the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol-Press release 90/2016, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland
2 Insight into the current situation Finland. The SEDY-project (Sport Empowers Disabled Youth), Finnish Sports Association of Persons with Disabilities VAU