Group pushes for law against genetic discrimination

by Paul Lucas28 Mar 2016
The ongoing debate about genetic discrimination in Canada shows no signs of abating after another group made a public push for a law to be introduced.

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) in Canada has put its weight behind calls for a law to be introduced especially as a host of illnesses and genetic mutations have been found first among the Jewish population.

Currently, Canada is the only nation in the G7 that does not have legislation in place to protect individuals from having genetic information used against them by the insurance industry or by employers. All three political parties had backed the introduction of a law but getting legislation passed appears to be a slow process. A bill from Liberal Senator Jim Cowan is now in committee for a second time.

According to a report at The Canadian Jewish News, Richard Marceau, general counsel and senior government adviser for the CIJA, stated that the problem has become increasingly urgent highlighting that 13 years ago there were genetic tests for 100 diseases – but now the total stands at more than 32,000.

Speaking to the publication he stated: “As we move toward personalized medicine and more widespread genetic testing, we would not want that advance in medicine to have the flipside of causing people to have trouble with insurance or with employment,” he said.

According to Marceau, the G7 nations which have implemented a non-discrimination law have not seen rises in insurance costs due to this issue.

Where do you stand on the issue of genetic discrimination? Leave a comment below with your thoughts.


  • by Ami Maishlish 2016-03-28 11:20:59 AM

    While there may be genetic or other issues or challenges that may be more apparent or more pronounced among members of one race or another, these should not be permitted to be or to become - whether directly or indirectly - a conduit, basis or reason for discrimination in employment, insurance or otherwise. Information relating to race, religion or ethnic affiliation should not be requested collected or kept on file for employees, insureds or applicants for employment or insurance.