As with other areas of clinical medicine or science, confidentiality is important in genetic testing. If anything, the confidentiality of genetic information may need to be guarded even more stringently than in the ordinary case.
On January 1, 2004, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) came fully into effect. PIPEDA sets policy on how private Canadian businesses (with the exception of Provinces that have their own similar Privacy Law, i.e. Alberta, British Columbia and Quebec as it pertains to the collection, use and/or disclosure of personal information in the course of commercial activities.
In response to PIPEDA, Canadian Forensic Laboratories such as the RCMP and Centre of Forensic Sciences (CFS) adopted policies whereby DNA profiles were no longer included with forensic reports. This is because they felt that inclusion contravened a persons right to protect their “genetic information”. Maxxam also followed suit, and removed profiles from both forensic and paternity reports so that we maintained one, consistent policy on the issue.
It is important to note that if one is performing DNA paternity testing with a DNA laboratory located outside of Canada, Provincial (AB, BC, QC) and Federal (PIPEDA) legislation will not protect a clients personal information and this information could be subject to release to foreign governments without the client’s consent or knowledge.