Bill S-201, an Act to prohibit and prevent genetic discrimination, became law on May 4th, 2017. Sequence Bio CEO & President, Chris Gardner, offered his thanks and congratulations to MP Rob Oliphant and retired Senator and bill author, Jim Cowan, for their leadership in the bill’s passage.
“Simply put, this is an incredible day for Canada. By prohibiting and preventing genetic discrimination, Bill S-201 is ensuring Canada is built on fairness and equality, while promoting important advancements in healthcare and innovation,” says Gardner. “On behalf of Sequence Bio, I want to congratulate the Honourable Jim Cowan for the incredible legacy and gift he’s given to Canadians for generations to come.”
Bill S-201 creates a new law, the Genetic Non-Discrimination Act, which prohibits anyone requiring a person to undergo a genetic test, or disclose the results of a genetic test, as a condition of a contract or providing a good or service. The enactment will also amend the Canadian Human Rights Act to prohibit discrimination based on genetic characteristics, and the Canada Labour Code to provide employees with protections related to genetic testing and test results.
“Canadians have been declining genetic tests that could have improved their health, fearing discrimination and the implications for themselves and loved ones. We also know of cases where someone was denied a job or insurance on the basis of their genetic makeup,” says retired Senator Jim Cowan. “Genetic testing is changing the way we understand and treat diseases. Sequence Bio’s support of Bill S-201 helped ensure all Canadians can use their genetic information for more personalized health care without fear of discrimination.”
Jim Cowan is a lawyer and former senator from Nova Scotia, appointed to the Senate by Prime Minister Paul Martin in 2005. Cowan served as Leader of the Opposition in the Senate from 2008 to 2015, and Leader of the Independent Senate Liberal Caucus from 2014 to June 2016. He retired from the Senate in January 2017.
Sequence Bio is a biotechnology company striving to transform drug discovery in Newfoundland and Labrador. The company is passionate about advancing healthcare and is committed to taking a participant-centric approach with a world-class privacy and ethics framework that will enhance the lives of individuals, families, and communities in Newfoundland and Labrador.
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Preface/disclaimer - Sequence Bio is planning to conduct research in Newfoundland and Labrador, and doing so in an ethical and transparent way is our first priority. Our efforts require approval by the Health Research Ethics Board (HREB). The words “believe,” “expect,” “anticipate,” and similar expressions, among others, generally identify our intent and/or objective to undertake research in this province and may be subject to change after HREB Review.