moved for leave to introduce Bill C-445, An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act (genetic characteristics).
Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca for seconding this bill today. I also thank the former member for Burnaby—Douglas, Bill Siksay, who first brought this very important issue before Parliament when he was a member of Parliament. I also thank the Coalition for Genetic Fairness which has done a tremendous amount of work to bring forward this very important issue about Canadians who have genetic diseases and who often face discrimination.
The bill has a simple purpose. It would enact an amendment to the Canadian Human Rights Act to add genetic characteristics as a prohibited grounds of discrimination.
Many people may think that this is not something that affects a lot of people but it does. There are very real cases of people who have experienced discrimination from insurance policies or different kinds of disability policies based on their genetic history.
Now that we live in a day and age where we can have genetic testing, this becomes an even more important issue. It is very important and timely that we have a debate in Parliament about the issue of genetic discrimination and we look to this particular amendment to the Canadian Human Rights Act as a way of giving people the valuable protection they need as we do for all Canadians.
I hope when this bill comes forward for debate that members will engage in that debate and understand the seriousness of this issue.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)