A Word from Our CEO
By: Bev Heim-Myers
February 10, 2014
As southern Ontario was digging out of a massive snow storm on Wednesday, some exciting business was taking place in Ottawa.
On Wednesday afternoon, Senator James Cowan moved second reading of Bill S-201. This is an Act to prohibit and prevent genetic discrimination, referred to as the Genetic Non-Discrimination Act.
This bill was tabled before in April of 2013 as Bill S-218, re-tabled as Bill S-201 this past October and taken to second reading on Wednesday.
Senator Cowan truly understands that it is time to end genetic discrimination in Canada. Our HD community knows all too well the fear of insurance companies and employers using genetic information to the detriment of individuals and families. We understand that deciding to participate in genetic testing or genome sequencing, can be terrifying. Our genetic information is complicated and very personal. It should be handled with the highest degree of privacy and only used as the owner of that information, the individual, chooses it to be used.
The media has not been kind to the Senate of late. There are a few Senators that have managed to diminish the trust of Canadians and take the focus off of the dedicated, progressive work that the Senate has done and continues to do. Speak up and let Senator Cowan and your Senator, MP and MPP know that you support this important work that will make a difference in the lives of all Canadians. (To find your Senator, MP or MPP click here)
Creating a genetic fair Canada is critical to ensure that the exploding and exciting area of genome research continues to lead to answers for early detection, treatment and prevention of many genetic diseases. We have a critical mass of brilliant researchers in Canada whose work will help us lead longer and healthier lives. The barrier of genetic discrimination is blocking the way to minimizing the risk and maximizing the treatment, of disease.
I know that the HD community and the member organizations of the Canadian Coalition for Genetic Fairness join together to thank Senator James Cowan for his commitment to keep this conversation alive and moving forward. We also thank all of the dedicated researchers and clinicians that are working hard to find answers for all Canadians.