MPP Introduces Bill to Amend the Human Rights Code

Today, Wednesday, May 18th, 2011, Mike Colle, MPP for the riding of Eglinton-Lawrence, introduced a Private Member's Bill, Bill 199, the Human Rights Code Amendment Act (Genetic Characteristics), 2011, where it passed first reading. If passed into law, this Bill would amend Ontario's Human Rights Code to include "genetic characteristics" as a prohibited grounds of discrimination.

"Everyone deserves to be treated fairly and to live their best life. Ontario requires a genetic non-discrimination strategy to ensure that genetic information is used properly without fear of exclusion from being eligible for insurance and or employment. This is part of a bigger brain strategy for Ontarians, and we are very supportive of the Private Members Bill to amend the Human Rights Code and end genetic discrimination."

~ Bev Heim-Myers, on Behalf of the Canadian Coalition for Genetic Fairness.

Over the past decade, genetic testing for many disorders and diseases has been on the rise. Genetic information is sometimes used to determine eligibility for insurance and employment. In 2009, a University of British Columbia study showed that insurance companies are discriminating against individuals with a family history of Huntington's disease. This included the denial of insurance and very high premiums.

Testing can reveal genetic traits that indicate potential future health risks of an individual, opening the door for potential differential treatment.

"With the explosion in number of genetic tests becoming available across the globe, it is imperative that we enact legislation that will protect Ontarians from being discriminated against on something they have no control over, their DNA", said MPP Mike Colle.

Thank you to:

· Bev Heim-Myers, CEO and Executive Director, Huntington Society of Canada

· Jo Anne Watton, MSW, RSW, Huntington Society of Canada

· Dr. Yvonne Bombard, Department of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto

· Katie Lingard, whose family has been impacted by Huntington's Disease.

Thank you for speaking at our press conference today, and for your hard work and support.

For a copy of the Bill, please follow this link:

For a copy of the Bill 199 Petition please see below.

For more information, contact:

Office of MPP Mike Colle

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