Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights

Report of the committee

Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights has the honour to present its

SECOND REPORT

Your committee, to which was referred Bill S-201, An Act to prohibit and prevent genetic discrimination, has, in obedience to the order of reference of January 27, 2016, examined the said bill and now reports the same with the following amendments:

1.  Clause 5, page 2: Replace line 25 with the following:

“individual to collect, use or disclose the results of a”.

2.  Clause 10, page 6: Replace lines 35 to 40 with the following:

“(3) Where the ground of discrimination is refusal of a request to undergo a genetic test or to disclose, or authorize the disclosure of, the results of a genetic test, the discrimination shall be deemed to be on the ground of genetic characteristics.”.

3.  Delete clause 11, page 7.

4.  Delete clause 12, page 7.

5.  Delete clause 13, page 7.

6. Make any necessary consequential changes to the numbering of provisions and cross-references resulting from the amendments to the bill.

Your committee has also made certain observations, which are appended to this report.

Respectfully submitted,

JIM MUNSON

Chair

Observations to the Second Report of the Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights (Bill S-201)

We would like to reiterate our full support for the principle behind this bill.

Taking into account the complexity of the issues raised by the witnesses, their various but legitimate interests, as well as the medical, technological, social, legal and constitutional aspects of this bill, members of the committee urge the Government of Canada to engage the various national stakeholders in this important issue.

Concerns related to the constitutional aspects of some measures were expressed by certain members of the committee and some witnesses. Other members and witnesses were satisfied that the bill is a valid exercise of the Federal power. The issue of genetic discrimination is multi-jurisdictional and the Committee urges that representatives of the Government of Canada meet with their provincial and territorial counterparts to address genetic discrimination in their respective jurisdictions.

The Committee sent letters to the governments of the ten provinces and three territories, seeking their views concerning Bill S-201. As of March 9, 2016, five responses had been received and none offered comments at this time.

The committee invites the Government of Canada to state its position clearly at the earliest opportunity.