Genetic Non-Discrimination Act: Quebec questions law’s constitutionality

By Hubert Roy | June 23 2017 01:30PM

Photo: Freepik

The Quebec government will seek the Quebec Court of Appeal's opinion as to whether the new federal Genetic Non-Discrimination Act contravenes the Canadian constitution. Quebec wants to know if the federal government is infringing on provincial jurisdiction.

The new law prohibits anyone from requiring an individual to undergo a genetic test or disclose genetic test results as a condition of providing goods or services, or entering into a contract. This has raised concerns in the insurance industry.

A notice was published June 21 in the Gazette officielle du Québec (Official Gazette). The Government stated that "a reference to the Court of Appeal would provide the Court with an opinion on the constitutionality of the law on non-discrimination in genetics".

Several Quebec Ministries are interested in the Court’s opinion. The Attorney General of Quebec will therefore have the mandate to validate whether sections 1 to 7 of the Act are ultra vires (beyond the powers) of the Parliament of Canada.

Insurance industry association, CLHIA-Quebec, says it is pleased to be part of the interdepartmental working group set up by the Quebec government. "We have always maintained that the use of genetic testing in insurance is a provincial responsibility. Regarding the decree published in the Official Gazette last Wednesday, we will follow with interest the development of this case," said the association’s president Lyne Duhaime.

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