Toward a Strengthened Assisted Human Reproduction Act

Toward a Strengthened Assisted Human Reproduction Act

Posted: Monday November 27th, 2017

Author: Pinky Mazumder 

The increase in infertility in Canada has seen many Canadians turn to assisted human reproductive technologies to assist with family planning. With the increase of such technologies, the Assisted Human Reproduction Act (the “Act”) was enacted to protect the safety of Canadians making use of such technologies. The Act set out a licencing scheme, prohibited activities, inspection and enforcement to protect the health and rights of Canadians using assisted human reproduction. As well, the Act created the Assisted Human Reproduction Agency. Unfortunately, the implementation of the Act has been tumultuous, including a review by the Supreme Court of Canada which held several provisions unconstitutional. In addition, many provisions have not been enforced and the regulatory framework contemplated by the Act has been largely ignored. 

On October 1st 2016, the Minister of Health announced Health Canada’s intention to strengthen the regulatory framework governing assisted human reproduction and to bring into force dormant sections of the Act. On July 11, 2017, Health Canada published a consultation document entitled “Toward a Strengthen Assisted Human Reproduction Act” which announced the start of a public consultation towards regulatory inform, the highlights include:



The 60 day consultation period, which has since closed, sought feedback from various stakeholders such as fertility clinics, researchers, as well as individualswho use assisted human reproduction procedures. Health Canada received solicited feedback in response to the consultation but also received feedback that went outside the public consultation, including  the need to reconsider the penalties for medical and scientific activities associated with assisted human reproduction, and to review some of the prohibitions in Section 5 of the Act due to the evolution of scientific technologies. Although not the concern of the present consultation, these comments will be considered in the future.

The will be another opportunity for stakeholder feedback once the proposed regulations are published in the Canada Gazette Part I. 

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