Family law: Genetic testing on immigrants

Genetic testing is used in many immigration cases, and experts are saying this practice could be dangerous. These kinds of issues in British Columbia and in all of Canada come under the family law umbrella and are, for the most part, controversial. Biological relationships have been confirmed or denied by DNA tests by immigration authorities since the 1990s, and in some cases, private ancestry companies have been used to conduct those tests.

Opponents to the tests believe they may be going too far and can even be used to ascertain whether a possible immigrant is likely to develop a disease that could possibly be taxing on the health care system. As it stands, the legalities are few when it comes to conducting these kinds of tests on possible immigrants. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) doesn't specifically make mention of genetic testing, so that omission leaves the door wide open for interpretation.

Progress in the area is slow, but there are lobbyists working to clarify laws. They also say these tests should only be used after their scientific limitations have been investigated as well as the ethics involved in their use. These tests, adversaries say, should be backed by ethical laws that protect the rights of immigrants who are already in a vulnerable place when they land on Canadian soil.

British Columbia residents who are looking for clarification when it comes to genetic testing may want to enlist the advice of a family law lawyer. Genetic discrimination is an issue, and those who believe they have been affected in some way may wish to obtain legal guidance. It is important to note that ethnic origin doesn't necessarily reveal nationality. In a 2011 National Household Survey in Canada, more than 200 ethnic origins were reported, yet most were Canadian nationals.

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