Canada’s New Genetic Discrimination Law Will Prevent a ‘Gattaca’ Future


Image: MOTHERBOARD
On Wednesday night, Canadian parliament bucked the Prime Minister to pass a law that makes it illegal for employers or insurance companies to discriminate against people based on their DNA.

By Jordan Pearson | MOTHERBOARD

A growing number of people are having their genomes sequenced so doctors can assess their risk for various diseases, such as breast or ovarian cancer. But insurance companies also want to get their hands on that information in order to determine who’s most at risk of falling ill, and charge them accordingly. One could also imagine an employer wanting to know if an air traffic controller, for example, will risk a sudden heart attack.

However, being at higher risk of developing a certain disease is not a guarantee that’ll actually happen. In the US, it’s illegal to discriminate someone based on their genes, and now Canada’s Genetic Non-Discrimination Act would offer similar protections, making it illegal for anyone to require genetic testing as a precondition for entering into a contract or providing goods and services.

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