NDP Introduce Bill to Protect Manitobans From Discrimination

May 29, 2018

Today NDP MLA Andrew Swan introduced Bill 225, The Human Rights Code Amendment Act (Genetic Characteristics) which would ban employment and insurance discrimination on the basis of genetic identity.

Swan noted that this bill is important for many individuals and groups who are worried about their ability to live free of discrimination.

“Whether your family has a history of breast cancer, heart disease, Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease, no one deserves have their privacy misused and opportunities denied because of a genetic test,” said Swan. “Manitobans need to be free to use genetic tests to take proactive measures to protect their health, but they shouldn’t be forced to disclose that information.”

Bill 225 would make amendments to the Manitoba Human Rights Code to add genetic information to the list of characteristics for which differential treatment is prohibited, and prevent employers, insurance companies, or any other entities from discriminating based on a refusal to undergo genetic tests or reveal the results of a genetic test.

These protections are essential to ensuring no Manitoban is ever denied opportunities solely because of their genetic characteristics, and that they are free to take advantage of genetic testing to determine their risk of developing medical conditions while retaining their rights to privacy and not being forced to disclose those results.

The recent passage of Bill S-201, The Genetic Non-Discrimination Act, in Parliament makes Canada the last country in the G7 to guarantee protections against genetic discrimination. The adoption of similar measures at the provincial level is essential to guarantee that areas of provincial jurisdiction, such as insurance and employment, are covered.