Brief to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights – Bill C-217 (“Blood Samples Act”)

The Legal Network supports measures to prevent the spread of HIV, including for workers such as police officers, firefighters, and health care workers and good Samaritans. The Legal Network also supports access to quality HIV testing and counselling, and access to care, treatment and support, for those who may be exposed to the risk of HIV infection, whether occupationally or otherwise. Finally, we support measures that respect and protect the rights of people living with HIV/AIDS and those vulnerable to infection.

However, in our view, Bill C-217 does not represent an appropriately balanced policy response to the issue of occupational and non-occupational exposures to HIV. Sometimes a legal “quick fix” is not the solution to a difficult problem, and in any event, workers who have been exposed to the risk of blood-borne infection deserve a better response from legislators, a response that would do more to protect them. This brief explains why Bill C-217 is of concern and represents an inappropriate response.