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1st Session, 40th Legislature

This version is based on the printed bill that was distributed in the Legislature after First Reading.   It is not the official version.   If accuracy is critical, you can obtain a copy of the printed bill from Statutory Publications or view the online bilingual version (PDF).

Bill 202

THE UNIVERSAL NEWBORN HEARING SCREENING ACT

Explanatory Note Bilingual Version (PDF)

(Assented to                                         )

WHEREAS the World Health Organization has recently recognized that deafness is one of the most neglected disabilities;

AND WHEREAS the World Health Organization has declared that health is not simply the absence of disease or infirmity, but is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being;

AND WHEREAS the World Health Organization classifies intervention for a person with hearing loss as an important health concern since hearing loss impacts severely on a person's quality of life;

AND WHEREAS good hearing is a fundamental human right;

AND WHEREAS hearing loss is the most common congenital sensory disorder and occurs in newborns more frequently than any other health condition for which newborn screening is currently required;

AND WHEREAS communication disorders, if they continue to be left untreated, will be a major public health issue given our communications-based society;

THEREFORE HER MAJESTY, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, enacts as follows:

Definitions

1(1)        The following definitions apply in this Act.

"health professional" means a person who is licensed or registered to provide health care under an Act of the Legislature or who is a member of a class of persons designated as health professionals in the regulations. (« professionnel de la santé »)

"hospital" means a hospital as defined in The Health Services Insurance Act. (« hôpital »)

Standard for newborn hearing screening

1(2)        For the purpose of this Act, a screening for hearing loss must be conducted in accordance with the most recent recommendations of the Canadian Working Group on Childhood Hearing with respect to infants.

Newborn hearing screening to be offered

2(1)        A health professional who attends the birth of an infant must ensure that the parent or legal guardian of the infant is offered the opportunity to have the infant screened for hearing loss.

Screening before discharge or by referral

2(2)        If a parent or guardian wishes to have the infant screened, the attending health professional must ensure that

(a) the infant is screened for hearing loss before being discharged, if the child is born at a hospital that provides infant hearing screening; or

(b) the child is referred to a hospital, other health care facility or health professional equipped for and capable of screening the child for hearing loss, if the child is born in any other location.

Minister responsible

3(1)        The minister responsible for the administration of The Public Health Act is responsible for the administration of this Act.

Review of this Act

3(2)        Within five years after this Act comes into force, and within each subsequent five-year period, the minister must undertake a review of this Act that includes public consultation.  As soon as practicable after completing a review, the minister must table a report on the review in the Assembly.

Regulations

4           The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations designating classes of persons as health professionals for the purpose of the definition "health professional" in section 1.

C.C.S.M. reference

5           This Act may be referred to as chapter U38 of the Continuing Consolidation of the Statutes of Manitoba.

Coming into force

6           This Act comes into force on the day it receives royal assent.

Explanatory Note

This Bill ensures that parents or guardians of a newborn infant are offered the opportunity to have the infant screened for hearing loss.