Title

The Potential for Misusing “Genetic Predisposition” in Canadian Courts and Tribunals

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2011

Source Publication

Canadian Medical Association Journal

Abstract

The fulfilment of promises made 25 years ago to link clinical conditions with gene sequences has allowed patients and families to better understand hereditary conditions and make choices regarding prevention, early detection and treatment. There have also been warnings issued over this period regarding other purposes for which genetic information may be used, such as discrimination against people with a genetic predisposition for the purposes of employment or insurance. There has also been concern that the “geneticization” of health might divert focus to individual, rather than social, determinants of health and away from the communal responsibility for health. These factors have not been comprehensively surveyed, particularly in law, in any jurisdiction. We analyzed the way in which genetic predisposition was used in Canadian courts and tribunals, including the clinical conditions for which genetic predisposition was cited, the area of law in which the case occurred, the legal issues that were raised, the results of the proceedings and the purposes for which genetic predisposition was introduced.