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Canadian College of Medical Geneticists (CCMG) points to consider: resuming genetic services in a pandemic—a summary
  1. Lauren Chad1,2,3,
  2. Angelika J Dawson1,4,
  3. Elaine Suk-Ying Goh1,5
  1. 1 Education, Ethics and Public Policy Committee, Canadian College of Medical Geneticists, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
  2. 2 Division of Clinical and Metabolic Genetics, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  3. 3 Department of Bioethics, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  4. 4 Genomics (Cytogenetics), Diagnostic Services, Shared Health Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
  5. 5 Laboratory Medicine and Genetics, Trillium Health Partners, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Elaine Suk-Ying Goh, Laboratory Medicine and Genetics, Trillium Health Partners, Mississauga, ON L5M 2N1, Canada; elaine.goh{at}


The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the provision of genetic care in Canada. With the public health effort to flatten the curve, many clinics have moved to virtual care for select populations of patients while triaging and postponing others. As genetic services are asked to gradually resume, a roadmap is needed to ensure clinical care decisions for at-risk patients are transparent and equitable, that postponed care is resumed and that patients with or waiting for a genetic diagnosis are not disproportionately affected or abandoned.

The purpose of this document is to highlight the guiding ethical principles and stakeholder considerations in resuming genetic services to help guide the competing needs going forward of both limiting exposures while maintaining high-quality care. Considerations highlighted are (1) environment of practice, (2) nature of consult, (3) patient factors, (4) provider factors, and (5) laboratory factors. The intended users are those providing genetic care in a Canadian context with the recognition that there are clinic-specific and regional variations that will influence decision-making. While specific to the Canadian context, the ethical principles used to guide these decisions would be relevant for consideration in other jurisdictions.

  • genetics
  • medical
  • health care facilities
  • manpower
  • services

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  • Contributors The conception of the document was by LC and ESYG with additional contribution to the design by AJD. Drafting, revising and final approval of the work were done by all authors. All authors agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.