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J Obstet Gynaecol Can. 2013 Jul;35(7):654-6.

The devil we know: the implications of bill C-38 for assisted human reproduction in Canada.

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Department of Political Science, York University, Toronto, ON, Canada.


in English, French

In June 2012, the Canadian House of Commons passed the so-called omnibus budget bill, making several important changes to the governance of assisted reproduction in Canada. The bill (Bill C-38) was widely criticized for its unwieldy size and rapid passage through Parliament, preventing adequate parliamentary debate and public scrutiny. Given the substantive nature of the amendments to the Assisted Human Reproduction Act made by Bill C-38, and the lack of relevant discussion about these changes both before and following its passage, this commentary is intended to identify how Bill C-38 may alter the governance of reproductive technologies in Canada. In this commentary, we address some of the more significant changes made by Bill C-38 to the regulation of reproductive medicine in Canada. We identify the benefits and challenges of closing Assisted Human Reproduction Canada, noting that doing so eliminates a much-needed forum for stakeholder consultation in this field. Further, we explore the implications of moving the regulation of donor semen from the Food and Drugs Act to the Assisted Human Reproduction Act; these include increased liability for physicians, and opportunities to expand the existing regulations to account for the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer Canadians using donor gametes and recent advances in reproductive technologies. Overall, we argue that although the implementation of a policy framework in this field remains highly dependent on yet-to-be written regulations, the changes to the Assisted Human Reproduction Act enabled by Bill C-38 may significantly alter how Canadians interact with reproductive technologies.


Canada; assisted reproductive technology; public policy; regulation

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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