An excerpt from the Fall 2014 Donor Report
We are thrilled to announce that, during the summer (July 10, 2014), the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) released a statement denouncing the use of genetic test results by life and health insurance companies. At this point in time they do not feel the use of genetic test results is demonstrably necessary for the insurance industry to achieve their objectives.
The hope is to have protection in place by this fall. The statement from the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada will help inform the direction that the federal government may want to take.
As the leader of the Canadian Coalition for Genetic Fairness, the Society has been involved in every aspect of ensuring there is protection for all Canadians. We have been the experts at the table, educating government officials on why genetic fairness is critical and why it is so important to the Huntington community and all Canadians.
Summary of government action to date
A private member’s bill (Bill C-445) was tabled in the House of Commons by Libby Davies, to add genetic characteristics to the Human Rights Act and protect individuals against genetic discrimination.
April 17, 2013
The Honourable James S. Cowan introduced Bill S-218, created to bring the necessary level of protection to Canadians. This bill aims to ensure that genetic information is used properly without fear of repercussions. This would ensure that genetic information is used for health and research purposes only.
October 16, 2013
The Speech from the Throne 2013, delivered by the Governor General, mentions the federal government’s commitment to preventing employers and insurance companies from discriminating against Canadians on the basis of genetic testing.
October 18, 2013
The Honourable James S Cowan QC, Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, re-tabled the Genetic Non-Discrimination Bill as Bill S201; a comprehensive bill to end genetic discrimination in Canada. This proposed legislation will facilitate this very important work. Bill S201 made it through second reading to debate; earlier this year, it was moved to the Standing Committee on Human Rights and hearings are scheduled when the Senate sits in fall 2014.
November 4, 2013
Mike Colle, MPP for the riding of Eglinton-Lawrence, reintroduced a private member’s bill, the Human Rights Code Amendment Act (Genetic Characteristics), 2013, that if passed would amend Ontario’s Human Rights Code to include “genetic characteristics” as a prohibited grounds of discrimination.
July 10, 2014
The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) released their statement on the use of genetic test results by life and health insurance companies. They do not support the use of genetic information by life and health insurance companies at this point in time.
The Senate Committee hearings are scheduled to begin.