Genetic Information and the Law:
Issues in the Insurance and Employment Settings

Health Law Day
Friday, May 20, 2005
Faculty of Law, University of Toronto

Genetics helps us to understand the link between genetic make-up and future health. Pharmacogenomics may help us to predict more precisely the efficacy and side-effects of drug treatments in individuals.

New DNA chip technology facilitates genetic testing in the medical setting and may increase its potential use in insurance and employment. This raises important human rights and privacy concerns.

Is genetic testing currently undertaken outside the health care context in Canada? Is genetic information gathered in the clinic used for other purposes? What level of protection is offered under Canadian human rights and privacy law?

Our program advances this debate with information and commentary. It features presentations on:

  • The basics of DNA, genetic testing and genetic information
  • Genetics in Insurance: Risk Rating or Discrimination?
  • Genetics in Employment: Used for Safety or Exclusion? 
  • Human Rights Law and Genetic Discrimination
  • Privacy Legislation and Genetic Information


Speakers at the conference included:

Dr. Paul A. Schulte, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (U.S.);
Dr. Sherryl Taylor, Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine, Queen's University;
Frank Zinatelli, General Counsel, Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association;
Craig Flood, Partner, Koskie Minsky LLP, Toronto
Yann Joly, Research Associate, Centre de Recherche en Droit Public, Université de Montréal
Teren Clarke, Executive Director, Canadian Paraplegic Association
Hart Schwartz, Ontario Human Rights Commission
Professor Trudo Lemmens, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto.


The following presentations (all in Powerpoint format) can be viewed online:

Generously Funded by Genome Canada (through the Ontario Genomics Institute) as part of a research project on the Impact of Genetics on Health Systems and Insurance. The insurance part of the meeting is also co-funded by Genome Quebec and InHerit BRCAs.


Genome Canada

Ontario Genomics Institute