Liberal MPP Mike Colle (Eglinton-Lawrence) is introducing the private member’s bill, which would amend the Human Rights Code to include “genetic characteristics” as a prohibited ground of discrimination, along with race, marital status and disability.
“There have been wonderful research advancements in finding these genes. But we have to make sure, like with all scientific advancements, they don’t harm people,” Colle says.
The bill, if passed, would prohibit insurance providers from denying coverage or charging higher premiums based solely on a genetic predisposition to disease. It would also prohibit employers from taking into account employees’ genetic background in hiring, firing or promoting.
“I am sure if they did genetic analyses on all of us, they would find certain genes that could rule us out as predictor of good health. I’m just saying there has to be a limit to this. Let’s be careful with where we are going with this and don’t use it to deny people their rights,” Colle says.Is it "fair" for an insurance company to consider a person's genetic risk of getting, say, Huntington's Disease? I'd say the real "unfairness" is having the genetic predisposition in the first place. From a business standpoint (and an insurance company is, after all, a business and not a charity) factoring that "unfairness" into your insurance premium isn't "discriminatory," but eminently sensible, no? What isn't sensible (but which shows how, left unchecked, the "human rights" Audrey II just grows and grows) is finding ever new categories of discrimination, the better to hassle capitalists and keep the "human rights" industry in business.