Huntington Society of Canada Fall 2018 Horizon Article

Genetic Fairness Update

By Bev Heim-Myers, Chair of CCGF, as written in the Fall 2018 issue of Horizon

Things are slowly heating up with the Genetic Non-Discrimination Act (GNA) and the Quebec referral to the Quebec Court of Appeals.

Over the last few months I have been working closely with lawyers Bruce Ryder in Toronto and now William Colish in Quebec, to move our legal documents forward. Senator Cowan and Barbara Kagedan, even though retired, continue to support and educate regarding the GNA.

Recent Activity:

  • August 2017 – CCGF granted intervenor status in the matter of the Reference of the Government of Quebec concerning the constitutionality of the GNA. CCGF will support the GNA along with the Canadian Human Rights Commission. The Attorney General (AG) of Canada, AG of British Columbia and the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CLHIA) have all also been granted intervenor status, but will challenge the GNA.
  • April 2018 – Doug Mitchell appointed Amicus for GNA – he will support the legislation
  • April 2018 – Affidavits submitted to Quebec Court of Appeals
  • May 2018 – Paper published in Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) – Authors: Dr. Yvonne Bombard and Bev Heim-Myers
  • June 2018 – CCGF Factum submitted to Quebec Court of Appeals

Next Steps:

  • Verbal arguments will be scheduled during the week of December 10, 2018 at the Quebec Court of Appeals in Montreal.
  • Until further notice, the GNA is law in Canada and the genetic test information of all Canadians is protected. We are working with the provinces to influence the strengthening of provincial Human Rights Acts and Provincial Labour laws, to include the protection of genetic test information provincially. This is not mandatory given the robust GNA, however, it will offer options in the future for individuals who have been discriminated against.

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