Laboratories offering specialized genetic testing are accredited provincially. Each province has its own system. There are 35 laboratories that reportedly conduct genetic testing in Canada. Of these, 12 have certification from the Canadian College of Medical Geneticists as genetics service centres and are located in seven provinces. Since laboratory reporting is based on voluntary registration, these figures are likely to underestimate the number of certified laboratories.1
For a list of the laboratories offering genetic services in Canada, view the Gene Tests website.
The administration of healthcare in Canada, which is provincially/territorially based, can create barriers to provinces/territories working cooperatively in the delivery of genetic testing.1 Many centres do not have the funding to adopt the latest technologies to conduct tests as quickly as patients and their families might want. Further, the range of laboratory services available is not uniform across Canada.
Many factors influence decisions about whether or not genetic investigations are offered. These include the prevalence of the condition in the population and the validity of the test. They also need to include ethical, legal, social, and cost factors. It is often not easy to have rare diseases investigated.
1 Somerville MJ, Allingham-Hawkins DJ. Regulation of Genetic Testing/Service in Canada. In: Kristoffersson U, Schmidtke J, Cassiman J, editors. Quality issues in clinical genetic services. Dordrecht, Heidelberg, London, New York: Springer; 2012. p.83–90.