About the Canadian Bioethics Society

About.jpgOverview

The Canadian Bioethics Society (CBS) is a national, member-driven, registered charity serving as a forum for individuals interested in sharing ideas relating to bioethics. The CBS was created in 1988 from the fusion of the Canadian Society of Bioethics and the Société canadienne de la bioéthique médicale. Our vision is to be the leading bioethics collaborative forum in Canada working towards advancing the health and well-being of people at home and abroad. We aim to achieve this by facilitating high-quality bioethics engagement that is inclusive of individuals from a wide variety of perspectives, backgrounds, professions and beliefs.

Bioethics defined

While definitions vary, the Canadian Bioethics Society sees bioethics in its broadest sense, concerned with ethical issues relating to human life and health, biology, and the environment.

Members of the CBS are engaged in a wide variety of activities including research in bioethics; health policy; bioethics teaching and education; research ethics; delivery and planning of health and health care; and public engagement and consultation on bioethics issues, amongst others.

The backgrounds of our members include but are not limited to the law, philosophy, the health care professions (including nursing, medicine, allied health, spiritual care), the social sciences, the biological sciences, environmental studies and religious studies. Membership also includes many others who are interested in these areas or concerned about bioethics issues. Increasingly, the field of bioethics is broadening its scope and pushing traditional boundaries, as recognition grows that the ethical issues affecting human life and the natural environment touch on almost every area of human endeavour.

Issues addressed

Consistent with the plurality of the field, the field of bioethics explores and addresses diverse issues. Examples of issues addressed in bioethics include (but are most certainly not limited to):

  • In the field of health and healthcare ethics: end-of-life treatment options, disagreements between physicians and patients, implications of genetic cloning technology, ethical conduct in health research, resource allocation at local and global levels.
  • In the field of health and healthcare research: the protection of research subjects against harm, ensuring fairness in the distributions of research burdens and benefits, safeguarding vulnerable research subjects, protecting non-human animals against harm, the implications of advances in genomics and neurology.
  • In the field of research on bioethics: the nature and scope of bioethics, the history of bioethics, the effectiveness of bioethicists and ethics committees, the limits and challenges of bioethics, methods in bioethics analysis
  • In the areas of the professionalization of bioethics: the limits and benefits of professionalization, conflicts of interest faced by bioethicists, the relationship between bioethicists and employers, practice standards for bioethicists, credentialing of bioethicists, accreditation of bioethics programs
  • In the field of health policy ethics: procedures and processes for decision-making for patients who lack capacity, limits to confidentiality in health care, permissible restrictions on autonomy and freedom during epidemics, allocation of resources between determinants of health, the impact of human development on the natural environment
  • In the field of bioethics teaching: the effectiveness and limitations of raising ethical consciousness, theoretical and practical approaches to bioethics education, sensitization of health professionals in training and practice to ethical issues, methods of public education in bioethics

The CBS provides resources and opportunities for dialogue to help individuals, organizations and societies explicitly identify, explore and make decisions on bioethics issues.

Mission

In light of the above, the Canadian Bioethics Society is committed to building bioethics capacity through the promotion of:
  1. interdisciplinary and inter-professional networks of individuals (including students) and organizations;
  2. excellence in bioethics education, research, and policy;
  3. the advancement and dissemination of leading practices in bioethics;
  4. the examination of professional issues in bioethics;
  5. and public engagement and policy development around bioethics issues.

Membership

Any individual with an interest in the issues described above is invited to become a member of the Canadian Bioethics Society. More information is available on the membership page.