Genetic testing shouldn’t be a calculated risk
Parliament also added “genetic characteristics” as a new ground of discrimination to the Canadian Human Rights Act. This change prohibits discrimination against a person based on their genetic makeup or their predisposition to a genetic disease. Other legal changes put in place criminal sanctions and penalties for the inappropriate use of genetic information.
In spring 2017, the Quebec government challenged the constitutionality of Bill S-201, the Genetic Non-Discrimination Act. The federal government and the government of British Columbia intervened in support of Quebec’s challenge.
While issues such as health insurance fall outside of federal jurisdiction, there remain several untested human rights implications associated with genetic testing. The Commission is intervening in the case and will oppose the constitutional challenge, arguing that adding “genetic characteristics” as a ground of discrimination in the Canadian Human Rights Act broadens human rights protection in Canada in an uncertain and evolving area of science and discovery.