Genetic Discrimination: Information Privacy in Public and Private Sectors
Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), is the information of life. The scientific understanding of genetics and biotechnology has resulted in the increased availability and affordability of genetic testing. Such testing can provide valuable information to help individuals make informed decisions regarding their lifestyle and health care. In today’s era of big data and the internet, if such information finds itself in the wrong hands there can be consequences. Genetic discrimination, the unfair treatment of people due to their genetic makeup, often takes place in the insurance industry and by employers. While there are acts and bills to protect Canadian’s personal information in both the public and private sector, Canada remains the only G-7 country without specific protections against genetic discrimination. With the recent passing of Bill S-201: An Act to Prohibit and Prevent Genetic Discrimination in the Senate, Canada is on the cusp of passing legislation to prohibit the requirement for genetic testing, and/or disclosure of test results, in areas such as the provision of insurance and employment.
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