Canada: Supreme court upholds genetic nondiscrimination law

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Employers and insurers may not require individuals to provide their genetic information, according to a split decision by the Supreme Court of Canada. The ruling upheld the provisions of the 2017 federal Genetic Non-Discrimination Act that criminalized compulsory genetic testing and non-voluntary use or disclosure of genetic test results. Individuals seeking to obtain access to good, services and contracts cannot be asked to provide genetic information, and they cannot be refused that access because genetic information has not been shared.

The court held the sections treating genetic health-related requirements as a criminal offense to be constitutional — finding that genetic privacy is part of core biographical information and, as such, is a valid criminal objective.

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Kristin Smith
by Kristin Smith

Senior Legal Consultant/Solicitor, Mercer

Stephanie Rosseau
by Stephanie Rosseau

Principal, Mercer’s Law & Policy Group

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