Canadian Journal of Law and Technology


Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada, DNA testing, reunification, ethics


Since the early 1990s, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (formerly Citizenship and Immigration Canada) began using DNA testing technology in the processing of family reunification applications. Over the years, Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and family members living abroad have been increasingly suggested, or required to undergo DNA testing to either facilitate or enable them to reunite in Canada, under the family reunification procedure. This practice, although said to be rare, has since grown in popularity, and is used more extensively for applications coming from certain regions, including Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean. Through analysis of recent case law, this paper explores the ethical, legal, and social issues raised by the use of DNA testing technology and genetic information to confirm familial relationships in the context of family reunification, and provides potential avenues to address these challenges.