The Canadian government wants to bolster citizens' genetic privacy by getting insurers to stop asking consumers about their genetic test results, Bloomberg reports.
The Office of Privacy Commissioner has requested that life and health insurance companies expand upon a current voluntary moratorium on asking applicants to undergo genetic tests and to not inquire about their results at all. If people cannot be guaranteed privacy, they may shy away from taking tests that might be beneficial out of fear that the results could someday be used against them, the office says.
"It is not clear that the collection and use of genetic test results by insurance companies is demonstrably necessary, effective, proportionate, or the least intrusive means of achieving the industry’s objectives," the privacy office says.
The Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association disagrees.
"They say these tests aren’t necessary, we think they are,” the association's VP and general counsel Frank Zinatelli says. "This would be significant if we were not permitted to collect information that’s relevant to assess risk properly."