Canadian life insurers' new genetic test policy criticized

By: Sam Garnett

January 12, 2017

The Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association has made a decision to stop requiring genetic testing for life insurance policies valued up to $250 000, a move now being criticized as an attempt to block legislation against genetic testing requirements tabled by the Liberals in 2016.

Bill S-201 was introduced in May 2016 and includes provisions that would make it illegal to request and use genetic information against somebody’s will, as well as prohibiting discrimination on the basis of genetic characteristics. The bill was opposed by the Insurance Association, who argue it would drive up insurance premiums. For this reason the new requirements the Insurance Association has now put forth have been criticized as an attempt to discourage Bill S-201. The president of the Canadian Coalition for Genetic Fairness stated:

“For years and years, the insurance industry has had an opportunity to embargo the use of genetic test information, and they have chosen not to," she said. "So now, in the 11th hour, when we have legislation on the table, ...they have come forward with this? It seems that the timing is to discourage the legislation from going through."

Click here to read the original article on CTV News.

Stay tuned for a genomics forum to be held by Science & Policy Exchange early this year, which will cover the topic of Genetic Testing.