December 6, 2013
In my role as Chair of the Canadian Coalition for Genetic Fairness, I was invited to be the Key Note speaker at the annual planning retreat of the Ontario Genetic Secretariat, addressing the subject of genetic discrimination in Canada.
The Ontario Genetics Secretariat was created to strategically plan an integrated approach to genetic services for Ontario.
Below are a few of the reasons that genetic discrimination concerns groups like the Secretariat:
- Canada is the only G8 Country that does not protect genetic information.
- If all Canadians fear being mistreated by employers and insurance companies, based on their genetic information, they will not step forward to participate in genetic testing. Genetic testing could help prevent, and treat, diseases we are at risk for.
- Science has outperformed legislation. Genetic research and understanding of genetic information has grown significantly in the last 25 years. Legislation is not protecting that information.
- It is time that Canadians had the freedom to make informed decisions on their own health by engaging in what should be private genetic testing leading to personal information.
- Genetic discrimination is a barrier to clinical research that we want to make happen in Canada.
- Our Human Rights Acts in Canada, at both the Federal and Provincial levels, do not allow discrimination against gender, disability, race, religion, etc. However, insurance companies and employers can discriminate based on a Canadian’s DNA.
Genetic discrimination impacts every Canadian. Please contact your MP, Senator and MPP to let them know that it also concerns you!