Mr. Fraser: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Two years ago the Senate of Canada and the House of Commons passed Bill S-201, the Genetic Non-Discrimination Act, which protects folks who want to get genetic testing done in order to be aware of their health risks and prepare accordingly. Individuals who have genetic markers for specific diseases can be charged higher premiums for insurance or denied insurance coverage altogether. To the Minister of Health: is your government aware that some Albertans are being discriminated against simply based on genetic characteristics?

Ms Hoffman: I want to thank CIJA and all members of the Israeli and Jewish community for their work right across this country, Mr. Speaker. I had the honour of meeting with representatives from CIJA this morning, and we reaffirmed our government’s commitment to continue to support the federal legislation as it continues to move forward. It’s important that no form of discrimination is tolerated.

Mr. Speaker, when members of Alberta who are involved in a number of organizations are behaving in a way that’s promoting hateful views, that leadership is to call that out and make sure it has no place in politics or in public service.

The Speaker: First supplemental.

Mr. Fraser: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Given that stakeholders like the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs and the Jewish Federation of Edmonton and the Talmud Torah Society have told us how this can impact their communities and given that people will avoid getting tested for genetic markers if it means insurance will be more expensive or unavailable, to the same minister: will you ensure Albertans are protected from genetic discrimination by insurance companies?

The Speaker: The hon. minister.

Ms Hoffman: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker and again to the members of CIJA, who are doing this work on behalf of all Canadians. There is federal legislation working its way through. We certainly respect that legislation. We want everyone to know that in Alberta we do not tolerate hate, antisemitism, or discrimination in any form. To the members of CIJA: thank you for your tireless advocacy on this matter. Our government has your back.

Mr. Fraser: Given that Jewish-Canadians are not the only group that is especially affected by genetic diseases and therefore genetic discrimination and given that it would be a help to many communities affected by genetic diseases if they were protected from discrimination and given that genetic testing gives people time to focus on their health, if needed, to the same minister: will you commit to bringing forward legislation similar to the federal legislation to protect Albertans from this kind of genetic discrimination?

The Speaker: The hon. minister.

Ms Hoffman: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Again, in the meeting that I had this morning with folks from CIJA, I made it very clear that our government fully supports the federal legislation. It applies to all jurisdictions across our country. We believe that it’s important that it be enforced from coast to coast to coast. Everyone deserves an opportunity to have proper health information and make good, informed decisions for themselves without risk that it could result in discrimination that could hurt them in the future. So we continue to stand with CIJA and members of the Jewish community.

 


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