Law Times

November 14, 2016

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Genetic discrimination bill faces tough test BY DALE SMITH For Law Times W hile a bill to ensure genetic privacy rights may have passed the House of Commons on a unanimous vote at second reading, opposition members of Parliament are concerned that the government plans to gut the bill at committee after the government raised concerns over its constitu- tionality during debate. As the committee prepares to study the technical language of the bill, lawyers expressed concerns about the practicalities of how the law will work, and whether it will actually stop the abuse that it's meant to protect the insured from. "In my practice, what an insur- ance company normally does is send consent for the individual to sign to obtain information," says Elizabeth Quigley, litigation coun- sel with Connolly Obagi LLP and an insurance law professor at the University of Ottawa. "Would this [new legislation] prohibit an insurance company from sending that blanket consent to get somebody's family doctor's records, because you know those genetic results would be in those records?" Bill S-201, short-titled the ge- netic non-discrimination act, cre- ates criminal offences with regard to genetic testing and protects the ability to refuse to undergo a test or to disclose the results under penalty of a fine not exceeding $1 million, imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years or both. The bill also adds genetic char- acteristics to the Canada Labour Code and the Canadian Human Rights Act. Quigley wonders how the law would be interpreted, whether the consents would have to expressly exclude the genetic information or if it will be up to doctors to ensure that they redact that information because the consent hasn't been specifically given for that genetic information. "Should doctors be told how to REFUGEE HELP Lawyers assist Syrian families P6 FOCUS ON Labour & Employment P9 See Concerns, page 4 PM #40762529 $5.00 • Vol. 27, No.36 November 14, 2016 L AW TIMES C O V E R I N G O N T A R I O ' S L E G A L S C E N E • W W W . L A W T I M E S N E W S . C O M Follow Elizabeth Quigley says legislation by the fed- eral government to combat potential genetic discrimination could mean the onus will be on doctors to redact genetic information when dealing with insurance companies. DEFENCE PTSD Lawyers say funded counselling needed P5 BY ALEX ROBINSON Law Times L awyers say proposed amendments to the Con- struction Lien Act to use adjudication in construc- tion disputes could create more work for lawyers. The provincial government is looking to reform the act for the first time in 33 years in a modern- ization effort. Among the proposals of a re- port commissioned by the provin- cial government — called "Strik- ing the Balance: Expert Review of Ontario's Construction Lien Act" — is a requirement that interim adjudication be used to speed up dispute resolution in mid-project squabbles. If adopted, lawyers say this could lead to more work for lawyers earlier in the process. "This is effectively short turn- around-time mediation with high- er stakes because a decision is going to be made and it's going to be bind- ing," says Todd Robinson, a con- struction lawyer with Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP, who has been in- volved with the consultations in- volving the proposed changes. "So I think this is going to re- sult in a lot of clients, who want to trigger adjudication, retaining liti- gation lawyers that they may not have retained until a later stage in the project." Currently, disputes are often litigated at the end of a project, when evidence is often no longer fresh. The new proposed adjudica- tion process is based on a model that has been used in the United Kingdom over the last 20 years. In that model, any party to a contract has the right to refer a dispute to adjudication. "Adjudication worked, and quickly took root," the report said of the process used in the U.K. "It is now used internationally in a wide range of contexts, sometimes to resolve interim payment disputes, and sometimes to resolve disputes of much broader scope." Under the proposals, any par- ties to a construction contract, whether they are owners, con- tractors or subcontractors, will be able to file for adjudication. Adjudicators would be engineers, architects, accountants, lawyers See Dispute, page 4 Todd Robinson says proposed changes to the Construction Lien Act could 'break the logjam' when project disputes occur. Photo: Robin Kuniski Amendments could speed up the way construction disputes are settled Will changes mean more work for lawyers? & $#&!&jmmm$cYa[bbWh$Yec ntitled-4 1 12-03-20 10:44 AM A DAILY BLOG OF CANADIAN LEGAL NEWS LEGALFEEDS.CA FEEDS LEGAL POWERED BY LegalFeeds_LT_Nov14_16.indd 1 2016-11-11 10:22 AM

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