On March 8, 2017 Canada took a big step towards ensuring Canadians can make informed decisions about their health – without fear.
Bill S 201, an act to prohibit and prevent genetic discrimination, was in the House as it was presented by the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.
This enactment prohibits any person from requiring an individual to undergo a genetic test or disclose the results of a genetic test as a condition of providing goods or services to, entering into or continuing a contract or agreement with, or offering specific conditions in a contract or agreement with, the individual. Exceptions are provided for health care practitioners and researchers. The enactment provides individuals with other protections related to genetic testing and test results.
The enactment amends the Canada Labour Code to protect employees from being required to undergo or to disclose the results of a genetic test, and provides employees with other protections related to genetic testing and test results. It also amends the Canadian Human Rights Act to prohibit discrimination on the ground of genetic characteristics.
How does this impact the Parkinson’s Community?
Approximately 10-15% of Parkinson’s cases are thought to be genetic forms of the disease. We anticipate that we will be learning much more about the genetic links in Parkinson’s disease as science becomes more sophisticated. Canada has finally taken a big leap in the right direction to catch up to other jurisdictions and to science.
Parkinson Canada is identified by the Canadian Coalition for Genetic Fairness (http://ccgf-cceg.ca/en/about-ccgf/) as a leading member of the genetic fairness movement. Since 2008 (and 3 bills ago) Parkinson Canada has been advocating for this legislative change. In fact, genetic fairness was named as a pillar in Neurological Health Charities Canada’s (http://mybrainmatters.ca/) original brain strategy document developed in 2010.
Parkinson Canada’s Ambassador Network have been incredible champions on the ground. Over the years, Parkinson Canada has logged hundreds of engagement points between Ambassadors and MPs about genetic fairness. In the days leading up to the vote Parkinson Canada Ambassadors contacted MPs over 200 times requesting them to vote in favour of Bill S201.
Join our Team of Parkinson Ambassadors
Parkinson Canada is looking for one person from each federal riding across Canada who will volunteer to serve as an Ambassador by committing to get in touch with their Member of Parliament (MP) to deliver our important messages. The Ambassador Network is a powerful and effective way to communicate quickly with all MPs.