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Genetic Testing

  • Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing and Privacy

    Note: On December 21, 2018, the Quebec Court of Appeal found sections 1 to 7 of the federal Genetic Non-Discrimination Act to be unconstitutional on the basis that they are outside of the Parliament of Canada’s jurisdiction over criminal law. This document will be updated in due course. In the meantime, please note that the content is not currently up-to-date. Summary: As direct-to-consumer genetic tests become increasingly available, particularly over the Internet, it is important to understand their privacy risks. This document explains some of the key privacy risks associated with these tests, informs individuals of their rights and encourages them to ask themselves a series of questions before buying one online. (This document opens as an external link.) Updated in December 2017.

  • Policy Statement on the Collection, Use and Disclosure of Genetic Test Results

    Note: On December 21, 2018, the Quebec Court of Appeal found sections 1 to 7 of the federal Genetic Non-Discrimination Act to be unconstitutional on the basis that they are outside of the Parliament of Canada’s jurisdiction over criminal law. This document will be updated in due course. In the meantime, please note that the content is not currently up-to-date. Summary: On May 4, 2017 Bill S-201, the federal Genetic Non-Discrimination Act, received Royal Assent. This is an important piece of legislation that both Houses of Parliament have agreed is necessary to protect Canadians from the adverse impacts of genetic discrimination. With the passage of the Genetic Non-Discrimination Act, Canadian law now prohibits any person from requiring an individual to undergo a genetic test as a condition of providing goods or services or entering into a contract. At the time of writing, the Federal Minister of Justice has announced her intention to refer the constitutionality of certain aspects of the Genetic Non-Discrimination Act to the Supreme Court of Canada. Until the Courts rule on this issue, the Genetic Non-Discrimination Act remains in effect. The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioners for British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec will continue to ensure compliance with applicable privacy legislation and protect Canadians’ privacy rights in a manner consistent with the laws in effect. Issued in December 2017.