Genome British Columbia - Genome Genomics

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Supporting the Canadian Genetic Non-Discrimination Act


The American Society for Human Genetics has recently announced its support for Bill S-201, An Act to Prohibit and Prevent Genetic Discrimination. Canada is currently the only G7 country without any laws to protect its citizens from genetic discrimination. Bill S-201, which was passed by the Senate in April and is now before the House of Commons, would provide legal protection from genetic discrimination.

Genome BC is committed to supporting genomics innovation and the integration of genomics into society. Genome BC endorses legislation that supports genomics innovation and societal integration, that enables the work of genomics researchers, and that protects the individuals who ultimately benefit from genomics research.

To support individuals in making informed decisions about Bill S-201, Genome BC has compiled the following information:

•    Anti-Discrimination Information Note #5
•    Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights – Evidence regarding Bill S-201

Below is the statement from the American Society for Human Genetics in support of the Canadian Genetic Non-Discrimination Act:

We are writing to bring your attention to Bill S-201, the Genetic Non-Discrimination Act, currently under consideration by the Parliament of Canada. The bill was passed unanimously by the Senate earlier this year, and is now with the House of Commons.

ASHG recently issued a statement of support for S-201, which protects people from being required to undergo a genetic test, or disclose the results of a test, as a condition to acquiring a good or service, or entering into a contractual agreement. It also prohibits genetic discrimination in the workplace and as a human right. Its passage will reassure Canadians that they can participate in genetics research and make use of medical advances that stem from such research without fear of discrimination.

We hope you will join us in supporting this important legislation. Please take a moment to write to or email your Member of Parliament (M.P.) to let him or her know you support Bill S-201. We have provided a customizable sample letter and some background information, but encourage you to explain the bill’s importance using your personal voice and experiences.


If you have other ideas or would like to get involved, please email us at

Thank you for your attention,

Derek T. Scholes, PhD
Director of Science Policy

Stephen W. Scherer, PhD
ASHG Board of Directors
The Hospital for Sick Children and University of Toronto

Yvonne Bombard, PhD
ASHG Social Issues Committee
St. Michael’s Hospital and University of Toronto