February 17th, 2017

Liberals gut genetic discrimination protection

OTTAWA – New Democrats are blasting the Liberal government’s move this week to essentially neutralize legislation intended to protect Canadians from being denied benefits by insurance companies or job protection because of genetic conditions discovered through testing.

"Canadians should never be forced to skip critical genetic testing out of fear their insurance company will cut their benefits or coverage when they need it most,” said NDP Health Critic Don Davies. “By deleting the majority of this legislation, the Liberals have caved in to pressure from the insurance industry and big corporations who care more about their profits than human rights."

Bill S-201 was intended to address the gaps in human rights legislation to protect Canadians’ genetic privacy and bring Canada in line with our G7 partners.

"By gutting Bill S-201, the Liberal government is giving the green light to companies that would discriminate against you if you learned you had a genetic disorder,” said NDP Justice Critic Alistair MacGregor. “Protection from this kind of discrimination, like all others, should be enshrined in Canadian law."

The NDP pointed out that the vast majority of expert testimony received at Committee, as well as widely held legal opinion, supported the original legislation. The government’s move was also roundly criticized by Liberal members of the Justice Committee.