What are genetic counsellors?

Genetic Counsellors (GCs) are board-certified healthcare professionals with graduate-level training in genetics who help patients and their healthcare providers understand medically important genetic information in many areas of healthcare. Genetic counsellors have specialized graduate-level training in medical genetics and psychosocial counselling. They help patients and their families understand and adapt to the medical and psychological implications of genetic conditions. Genetic counsellors also provide supportive counselling to individuals/families with sensitivity to ethnic and cultural diversity and they address potential ethical issues. 

Furthermore, they serve as patient advocates and refer individuals and families to available support services. After graduating from an accredited Masters level degree program, they are eligible to take a Certification Exam offered by the Canadian and American Boards of Genetic Counselling (CBGC and ABGC) in order to become a certified genetic counsellor. Like other health professionals, genetic counsellors are life-long learners and participate in continuing education to maintain their certification status.

Click here to find out more about how a genetic counsellor can help you.

Where do genetic counsellors work in Ontario?

In Ontario, genetic counsellors work in many medical specialties including Cardiology, Genetics and Genomics, Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Neurology, Oncology, Adult genetics, Pediatrics as well as newer emerging subspecialties. In these roles, genetic counsellors help patients and their healthcare providers understand medically relevant genetic risks and help guide clinical follow up.

Genetic counsellors also work in clinical genetic testing laboratories, industry partners, genomic research, academia and can offer counseling for elective genomic testing services.

Are Ontario genetic counsellors regulated?


Genetic Counselling is not currently a regulated health profession in Ontario, and therefore the title is not protected. OAGC-ACGO encourages the public to ensure the genetic counsellors they hire and/or see for clinical care are certified by the Canadian Board of Genetic Counselling (CBGC) and/or the American Board of Genetic Counselling (ABGC).

To learn more about the case for regulation click here