Press Release: CIJA Applauds Ontario Bill Banning Genetic Discrimination

Oct 27, 2016 | CIJA Publications, Media, Toronto

For Immediate Release

October 27, 2016

TORONTO, ON – Today at Queen’s Park, MPPs Mike Colle and Sylvia Jones, joined by representatives from the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) and the Canadian Coalition for Genetic Fairness, hosted a joint press conference to discuss Bill:30, the Human Rights Code Amendment Act (Genetic Characteristics).

Introduced in the Ontario legislature in September, this private member’s bill aims to combat genetic discrimination in the province by amending the Ontario Human Rights Code to include “genetic characteristics” as prohibited grounds for discrimination.

Canada remains the only G7 country without specific provisions in place to protect against genetic discrimination. Canadians who undergo genetic testing can be compelled to disclose their personal genetic information to an employer or insurance company. This information can legally be used to deny Canadians employment or insurance.

“Jewish Canadians are particularly vulnerable to genetic discrimination. Jews of European origin, for example, suffer from higher rates of genetic markers associated with certain types of cancer,” said Karen Goldenberg, Chair of CIJA’s Genetic Discrimination Task Force. “Canadians should not have to think twice before getting potentially life-saving tests for fear of losing their jobs or insurance coverage.”

“We encourage all Members of Provincial Parliament to support this important, non-partisan bill,” said Sara Lefton, Vice President (GTA) at CIJA. “We sincerely hope that the passing of Bill 30 will push the conversation forward at the federal level. It is time for Canadian law to catch up with science and bring an end to genetic discrimination.”

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