National Health Ethics Week

April 3 - 9 2017

In collaboration with participating organizations across Canada, the Canadian Bioethics Society is coordinating the 4th annual National Health Ethics Week, taking place April 3-9, 2017.

What is National Health Ethics Week?

National Health Ethics Week is a time set aside for health and educational institutions, ethics committees, health care professionals, community organizations, businesses and members of the general public, to host and take part in educational events that explore health ethics issues.

National Health Ethics Week was designed with the following goals in mind:

  • Encourage the organization of events to raise awareness of ethics issues related to health and health care across Canada
  • Provide greater visibility for Canadian ethics committees, services and supports 
  • Provide an opportunity for Canadians to engage in dialogue regarding current health ethics issues facing their communities

We invite you to join us in participating in Canada's National Health Ethics Week!

To view events that happened across the country as part of National Health Ethics Week 2016, please click here. 2015, please click here. To view 2014 Health Ethics Week events, please click here

If you are participating in National Health Ethics Week 2017 and would like to publicize your event, please send the details to and we will share them here.  

How Do I Participate?

All organizations, groups, and individuals who are interested in health ethics issues are invited to participate. By participating in National Health Ethics Week, you will show a commitment to ethical discussion and decision-making and will open lines of communication with others in your community.

Involvement in Health Ethics Week is encouraged at a level relevant to and comfortable for you and your organization or group. For example, you may attend an event in your area and advertise the initiative by displaying a National Health Ethics Week poster in your workplace. Or you might host a presentation, facilitate a lunchtime discussion group, distribute print materials or organize a half-day workshop. You are best able to decide where to focus your energies for maximum benefit in your organization or community.

Your organization may choose to organize an event that explores any area of health ethics that is of interest or importance to your organization. The aim is to get Canadians thinking and talking about a variety of health ethics issues – be creative! 


In order to reduce the administrative burden associated with NHEW, the Board decided to eliminate the registration process. This year, institutions will not be required to register in order to access NHEW related materials. We do hope you will send us information concerning your events so we can list them on the CBS webpage and track participation.

What Resources Are Available?

Upon informing us of your event, participating organizations will receive:

  • Electronic poster templates that can be easily printed in order to publicize National Health Ethics Week and your local events. Here are two posters that can be downloaded: Poster 1 (EN) Poster 2 (EN) Poster 3 (FR)
  • Event publicity, including access to the National Health Ethics Week Event Listing on the Canadian Bioethics Society website
  • Assistance with locating health ethics and event planning resources

To view some additional resources, including a trivia game, open source presentations, podcasts and case studies for use by participating organizations, please click here. 

Who Should Participate?

All Canadian organizations with an interest in health and health care are encouraged to participate by hosting an activity exploring a health ethics issue. Because of each group's unique association with the health system, everyone will have an important contribution to make and experience to share.

This includes: 

  • Child and family service groups 
  • Churches and religious organizations 
  • Community based health organizations and groups 
  • Environmental organizations 
  • Health care institutions 
  • Health ethics committees  
  • Health professional associations 
  • Health-related businesses and corporations 
  • Members of the public 
  • Mental health agencies 
  • Post-secondary institutions and schools 
  • Regional health authorities and provincial boards 
  • Research ethics boards
  • Social justice groups

2017 Participating Organizations

This list will be updated as organizations send us information regarding their events.


1. Canadian Institutes of Health Research: Click here to see a list of events taking place for CIHR staff.


1. Trinity Western University, School of Nursing: April 5, 2017- Panel Discussion on Medical Assistance in Dying. Click here for details.


1. Alberta Innovates:

-  Friday April 7th, 2017: The Ethics Labyrinth YYC is a one-day forum in Calgary hosted by Alberta Innovates that brings together diverse partners to discuss common ethics challenges in research and non-research activities. Click here to register.

- Friday April 7th, 2017: Karine Morin, Executive Director, Platforms at Alberta Innovates will present a Health Ethics Seminar hosted by the John Dossetor Health Ethics Centre in Edmonton entitled, Are we due for an overhaul of ethics reviews performed by REBs?

Event description: Over time, concerns about the effectiveness of Research Ethics Boards have led to calls for strategies to improve ethics review efficiency and quality.  Accreditation is often presented as a means to attain these goals. However, assessments related to accreditation typically focus on administrative requirements and do not directly provide evidence of quality of the ethics reviews or the effectiveness of the protection of research participants. Such were the findings of the Canadian Clinical Trials Coordinating Centre (CCTCC) Working Group on REB Accreditation, whose work and recommendations will be discussed. The presentation will then turn to some efforts to develop a research agenda for quality assessment in research ethics review.

2. Alberta Health Services: Click here to see a list of events for Alberta Health Services.

3. John Dossetor Health Ethics Centre: Click here to see a list of events for the John Dossetor Health Ethics Centre.

4. Covenant Health Ethics Centre:

- Tuesday, April 4, 2017: Ethics Movie Night- Screening of the film "Dirty Pretty Things". followed by a panel discussion on clinical ethics and human trafficking. Click here for event details.

- Wednesday, April 5, 2017: Camrose Ethics Committee Meet & Greet. Join us in the Multipurpose Room at St. Mary’s Hospital from 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM for some light snacks and a hot drink, and meet your local ethics committee. Click here for event details.

- Thursday, April 6, 2017: Human Trafficking and the Healthcare Response- The Covenant Health Ethics Centre's Eleanor Stewart, Clinical Ethicist, will discuss the ethical and practical challenges posed to the health care system by human trafficking. Click here for event details.

5. Extendicare: Please find attached the information that Extendicare Ethics Support Team is sending out to Extendicare homes across Canada to promote NHEW.


1. Saskatoon Health Region, Saskatchewan Cancer Agency and Saint Paul’s Hospital: Click here to see a list of events.

2. Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region: Click here to see a list of events.


1. Joint Centre for Bioethics: On April 5, 2017 from 5:00-6:00pm, Dr. Martin McKneally (MD, PhD) will be delivering the 3rd Annual Balfour Lecture in Surgical Ethics titled "Surgical Ethics Lessons from Surgeons and Their Patients". Click here for further details.

2. South East Community Care Access Centre (Kingston): To celebrate National Health Ethics Week, the South East Community Care Access Centre will be hosting an Ethics Lunch and Learn on April 4, 2017 from 12:00-1:00 pm. Dr. David Campbell, Ethicist and Patient Engagement Lead, will be giving a presentation entitled “Myths, Mysteries and Misconceptions: Everything You Wanted to Know About Ethics But Were Afraid To Ask.”

3. Hamilton Health Sciences: On April 3, 2017 an inspiring talk will be delivered by Marybeth Leis Druery titled “Finding the Juice: enhancing purpose and vitality in everyday life and work.” This talk will also be televised at a number of our other sites. Click here for details about this event.

On April 4th-6th at each of our HHS sites we will be hosting a booth that will contain information about our hospitals ethics program, consultation service and patient and staff education material.  

4. Trillium Health Partners:

April 4, 2017

Ethics Week Special Presentation: “I’m Still Here!” 

Join us for a 50-minute live play that illuminates the realities of living with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease and a post-performance discussion with the audience and actors.

2:00 pm to 3:30 pm; LIVE from Mississauga Hospital – Auditorium; Broadcast to Credit Valley Hospital – 1A221; & Queensway Health Centre-Long Branch Room. 

Seating is limited. Please call 905-848-7580, x 3811 or email to reserve your seat. Any unreserved seats will be available on a

first come–first serve basis on day of play. 

Everyone Welcome - We look forward to seeing you there!

April 6, 2017

Ethics Grand Rounds: “Exploring the Many Facets of Substitute Decision Making – A Case Analysis”

Speakers: Vicki Cruickshank (Manager, Patient Relations), Dianne Godkin (Senior Ethicist), Alicia Lozon (Director, Medical Education), & Natasha Milijasevic (Director, Quality)

The objectives of the session are to foster an interdisciplinary discussion of a challenging substitute decision making case through the lens of ethics, patient relations, quality and medical education; to summarize the professional responsibilities of healthcare professionals related to a challenging case of substitute decision making; and to highlight institutional supports for healthcare professionals faced with challenging substitute decision making cases.

12:00 to 1:00 p.m.; Mississauga Hospital – Audito­rium; Credit Valley Hospital – 0A104; and Queen­sway Health Centre – Streetsville Room. All are welcome to attend.

5. University of Ottawa:

Peabody Award Winner Human Harvest Film-Screening & Panel Discussion

We would like to invite you to a free screening of the Peabody Award-winning documentary Human Harveston April 6, 2017, from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the University of Ottawa in in Alumni Auditorium, Jock Turcot University Centre. This screening, followed by a panel discussion, is part of the National Health Ethics Week event coordinated by the Canadian Bioethics Society. Click here for a link to the event poster.

This film features Nobel Peace Prize nominees the Hon. David Kilgour and international human rights lawyer David Matas, who investigated China’s state-led organ trade and uncovered one of the world's worst crimes against humanity—the killing of prisoners of conscience for their organs.

This is a particularly important event as the topic has gained international media attention due to a ground-breaking report released in June 2016. To see the report please visit:

Join Mr. Kilgour, co-author of the new report and Dr. Charl Els, MD, an advisory board member of Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting (DAFOH) in a panel discussion after the film.

The event is co-presented by the International Coalition to End Organ Pillaging in China, the Free Thinking Film Society, Citizens Against Forced Organ Harvesting, and University of Ottawa’s Falun Dafa Club.

For details and to RSVP, please visit

We hope you will be interested in attending. Please feel welcome to share this invitation with your colleagues.

Warm regards,

Kay Lee

Ottawa event outreach, International Coalition to End Organ Pillaging in China

6. The Hospital for Sick Children:

Each November, for the last 15 years, the Department of Bioethics at The Hospital for Sick Children has hosted Bioethics Week. In 2016, Bioethics Week included 18 events (see schedule) and a week-long poster display of SickKids ethics-related work. In celebration of National Health Ethics Week, the Department would like to share these posters in hopes that they reach a wider audience. We would also like to take this opportunity to raise awareness of SickKids Bioethics Week. The events are open to the public and visitors are welcome.

Click here for the SickKids Bioethics Week 2016 schedule of events.


  1. Hellmann et al. The Evolution of Hospital Ethics Committees: A Bioethics Advisory Committee (BAC) for SickKids

  2. Hums LLB, Zlotik Shaul R. Fair Innings: Equality and Children’s Healthcare

  3. Hellmann J, Zlotnik Shaul R. Preferential Access to Care: Ethical Considerations and Policy Development for SickKids

  4. Sasson S et al. Pandemic Planning: How a “one size fits all” model may not be the best fit for children

  5. Cadesky AB et al. Developing an Education Plan for a Bioethics Advisory Committee at SickKids

  6. Schwartz Y et al. Reconciling Capacity to Consent With Adolescent Brain Development

  7. Schwartz Y, Zlotnik Shaul R. MAiD for Minors: Ethics and Implications of the “Minor” Exclusion

  8. Williams A. Ethical Conflict, Mistakes and Wrongdoing: A Restorative Justice Response

  9. Bianchi A, Zlotnik Shaul R. Considering the Ethical Permissibility of Paediatric Exceptionalism
  10. Taylor E, Zlotnik Shaul R. Authorship Credit Attribution Practices for Biomedical Publications: Problems with Increasingly Collaborative and Interdisciplinary Research  


1. McGill University Health Centre:

Monday April 3, 2017, 16:00: Rebecca Dresser, Washington University Professor of Law, will deliver a presentation entitled “What Patients and Subjects Say about Research Participation.” The talk will explore research ethics through the oft-neglected lens of research subjects. The event is open to the whole McGill University Health Centre community, including patients, their families, and researchers. The talk will be hosted by the Centre for Applied Ethics, McGill University Health Centre.


1. IWK Health Centre (Halifax): Events taking place throughout the week are as follows:

Displays in all three lobby spaces

“What can ethics do for you?” information on internal video monitor

- Ethics care packages delivered to off-site locations (information packages)


1. Provincial Health Ethics Network of Newfoundland and Labrador (PHENNL) invites you to participate in the following: 

- Attend Ethics for Lunch from 12:30-1pm on either Tuesday April 4th or Friday April 7th. If attending in person on April 4th please go to Room MED 2767 at the Health Sciences Centre or Room 2J619 at the Health Sciences Centre on April 7th. To attend via Skype please email

- Attend ethicsmatters, which will focus on ethical issues in long term care from 2:30pm-3:00pm on either Tuesday April 4th or Thursday April 6th. Attend via Skype 1-866-715-6499 Passcode: 668719 

- The Provincial Health Ethics Network of Newfoundland and Labrador (PHENNL) will send daily ethics related e-bulletins to health care workers.

For more information about National Health Ethics Week, please contact us at