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Graduate Studies in
Health Law

About

The Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa offers both Master of Laws and Ph.D. in Law programs. In health law, we offer graduate students a wide range of cutting-edge research projects led by the largest concentration of health law scholars and complemented by the broadest selection of health law courses in Canada. The interdisciplinary nature of CHLPE—drawing its members not only from Law but also Medicine, Health Sciences, Management, Social Sciences, and Arts—further enriches the graduate experience by exposing students to a variety of methodological and theoretical perspectives. Students have the option of developing interdisciplinary research collaborations and having their projects supervised by interdisciplinary committees.

Our graduates pursue a wide range of careers—in academia, provincial and federal government departments and agencies, NGOs and international organizations, private sector companies, private practice, regulatory Colleges, health professional associations, hospital associations, and liability insurers. Many such health organizations are headquartered in Ottawa. Being located in Canada's capital provides unparalleled opportunities to engage with provincial, national, and international policy makers and other stakeholders.

We welcome applications from across Canada and the world and offer financial support.

A Distinctive Experience

Graduate students are encouraged to be actively involved in CHLPE's lively roster of events, including our lunchtime speaker series, Café Scientifiques in the community, and an annual national/international conference drilling into a specific health policy issue (past examples includes AI in Healthcare; Medical Assistance in Dying; and Two-Tier Care). CHLPE also runs regular small-group workshops on grant writing and focus areas in health law such as aging, technology, multidisciplinary bioethics, organ donation/transplantation, and public health policy.

For graduate students in particular, CHLPE in conjunction with the McGill Research Group on Health and Law runs the Graduate Student Colloquium in Health Law, Policy and Ethics. This flagship event gives our students opportunities to showcase their work and receive input for an interdisciplinary audience of researchers and policy makers, while between sessions and in the evenings exchanging ideas and networking with attendees. The Colloquium is held on an annual alternating basis in Ottawa and Montreal.

Application / Admission

For all information and inquiries regarding application and admission to graduate studies in law, please see the Graduate Studies page at the Faculty of Law.

The University of Ottawa's Centre for Health Law, Ethics and Policy is a hub for some of the leading health, law and social science scholars in Canada. The Centre is engaged in important interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary research, policy leadership and community outreach to address pressing issues in health policy. As a Ph.D. student I've been privileged to collaborate with many of the Centre's excellent scholars and have benefited from exposure to a network of policymakers and academics from around the world engaged in shaping health law and policy. The Centre provides a unique and dynamic learning environment for students, like myself, who are interested in the growing field of health law and policy in Canada.

Robin Whitehead
Ph.D. Candidate

Courses

For details on all courses in the Common Law section: Faculty of Law – Common Law Section course search engine

For details on all courses in the Civil Law section: Faculty of Law – Civil Law Section courses page

Please note some courses may not be offered in some years.

Sexuality, Gender and the Law

CML3181B
Angela Cameron

This seminar will explore issues at the intersection of law, sexuality and gender in Canada. Although the legal production and regulation of sexuality and gender impacts everyone, the class will focus primarily, but not entirely, on its particular impacts on gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, two-spirited and queer (GLBTTQ) people. The class will introduce various theoretical perspectives and will consider the legal construction of gender and sexuality in the judicial decisions, legislation and administrative rules that define and regulate gender and sexuality in Canada.

Forensic Science

CML3193

Medical-Legal Problems

CML3375A
Vanessa Gruben

This course will explore a wide range of legal issues arising in health care settings. Traditionally, the physician-patient relationship has been the focus of health law. This course will cover legal issues arising from that relationship such as consent, professional negligence, and the regulation of health professionals. However, relationships and issues at the broader systems level are the subject of increasing legal regulation and health law scholarship. We will address such systems level issues as constitutional claims relating to access to and funding of health care, medical research ethics, and the regulation of pharmaceuticals. We will also discuss a number of selected topics including reproductive health care, mental health law and end-of-life decision-making.

Law and Psychiatry: Mental Health Law

CML3379B
Jennifer Chandler

This seminar addresses the legal issues related to mental health, mental disability, and neuroethics in four parts.

(1) Mental health law in Ontario
The laws and procedures of involuntary committal and treatment under provincial mental health legislation, capacity and substitute decision-making. We also consider the intersection of tort law with mental illness.

(2) Mental disorder and criminal law
Mental disorder in the criminal justice context, including findings of fitness to stand trial, findings that a person is not criminally responsible by reason of mental disorder, sentencing options, mental health courts and therapeutic jurisprudence.

(3) Human rights and mental disability
Questions of human rights and social justice relating to mental health and mental disability, particularly with respect to discrimination and access to care.

(4) Emerging neuroscience, ethics and the law
This part of the course we consider the future, and look at how advances in the behavioural sciences are even now raising challenging questions for neuroethics and for the law.

Introduction au droit de la santé

CML3509A
Martha Jackman

Ce cours vise à expliquer aux étudiants et étudiantes la structure du système de soins de santé au Canada selon une perspective critique. L’objectif est de fournir un cadre d’analyse solide et des outils utiles pour faire de la recherche et exercer dans le domaine tout en examinant les iniquités inhérentes au système et les questions d’accès. Dans cet optique, le cours traite de plusieurs thèmes : le cadre constitutionnel canadien, la santé des populations, l’assurance santé, l'organisation et la réglementation des professions de la santé, la responsabilité professionnelle et des hôpitaux, la santé publique, la santé mentale, les médicaments, les autochtones et la santé, l’accès pour les groupes défavorisés, et les litiges en matière de santé en vertu de la Charte canadienne.

Les étudiants et étudiantes choisissent et analysent un arrêt ou un thème d’actualité portant sur un sujet qui les intéressent particulièrement et présentent le fruit de leur recherche à la classe. Au cours des années précédentes, les sujets suivants ont été explorés : le contrôle des produits du tabac, le système de sang, la procréation médicalement assistée, le consentement aux soins, l’accès à l’avortement, le régime de santé des réfugiés, l’autonomie décisionnelle en fin de la vie, etc.

Studies in Public Law: Law and Policy of Modern Plagues and Pestilence from Ebola to Obesity

CML4104A
Colleen Flood

At the heart of public health law and policy lies this basic question: to what extent can the state legitimately impinge on individual rights, in its efforts to promote or protect the health of the population? Controversies rage over public health policies such as proposals for a fat tax, banning super-sized portions of sugary or high-fat foods, reducing salt in our diets, elimination of tobacco advertising, GMO labeling, mandatory vaccinations (and alleged links with autism), fluoridation of the water supply, criminalization of HIV non-disclosure, scrutiny of individuals donating blood and ban on the sale thereof, gun control, safe-injection sites, the legalization of recreational marijuana etc. Areas of law engaged include statutory interpretation, criminal law, constitutional law, tort law, privacy law, and administrative law.

Those favouring a restricted role for public health speak of the importance of individual self-reliance, the problem of paternalism and the slippery slope of government intervention(s) that further erode individual liberties. Those in favor focus on improving the population’s health, the cost-effectiveness of deterrence over disease treatment, and the importance of promoting social justice and protecting the vulnerable both within nations and at the global level. In this course we will explore these conflicting views and their grounding in philosophical frameworks (libertarianism, libertarian paternalism, contractarian rights theory, egalitarian liberalism, utilitarianism, and communitarianism) and public health frameworks (police powers, human rights, civic models, harm reduction, precautionary principle, etc) and, in addition, consider the extent to which public health decision-making inculcates evidence about what works and doesn’t work. We will also explore the role of both domestic and international law in the formulation, execution, administration and frustration (through judicial challenge) of public health policy at national and global levels. These issues will be animated through case studies of, for example, different pandemics and communicable diseases, tobacco control and vaping, obesity control, decriminalization and subsequent regulation of recreational marijuana, blood safety, vaccinations, firearms control, and the opioid crisis. Students will develop a robust analytic lens for assessing public health law and policy, and hone their skills at forcefully advocating for or against particular initiatives.

Medical Technology and the Law

CML4104D
Pascal Thibeault

This seminar will provide students with the opportunity to be exposed to cutting-edge problems at the intersection of the law and the realm of medical technologies. The seminar will use an approach by themes and will notably address the legal implications of emerging and transformative health innovations such as medical devices, digital technologies, drug development and the use of AI to improve the delivery of care. Students can also expect the course to cover medical research, health policy, and the regulatory trade-offs of expediting the approval of new medical technologies or drugs.  

The course will involve interactive sessions with guest speakers as well as lectures by the instructor to spark debate and discussion on the legal, ethical and social implications arising from the topics discussed in class. This seminar is open to students interested in health law or technology, and no background or prerequisites are required.

COVID-19 and the Law

CML4109JB
Vanessa Gruben

COVID-19 has raised issues in all areas of the law—civil liberties, health, criminal, immigration, disabilities. This course will examine each of these issues and each class will feature a lecture and discussion with a different member of the Faculty of Common Law.

Mental Health Issues and Criminal Law

CML4111A

Individuals suffering from mental disorders have contact with and are impacted by the legal system on a a daily basis. This course examines our perceptions of those suffering from mental disorders and critically assesses how these perceptions influence how the legal system responds to their needs and issues. There will be a review of the historical development of legal procedures and substantive law to address mental health issues. There will be a comprehensive review of the evolution leading to the passage of Part XX.I of the Criminal Code, beginning with the seminal case of Daniel McNaghten. The creation of a civil mental health system in Canada will also be examined. The efficacy of the current Review Board system will be critically examined. The course will focus both on having students acquire substantive knowledge of historical and mental health law, as well as to assess how the mental health and legal systems can most effectively work together.

Food Law

CML4112C

This course provides a basic overview of food law and policy in Canada. In addition to reviewing the primary acts and actors relevant to this area, this course surveys major topics covering all aspects of the food chain, from production to consumption. This will include topics such as agricultural law and policy, food safety, food and health labelling, marketing and advertising, public health, and the practice of food law in Canada.

In particular, we will tackle emerging areas such as food systems and sustainability, the new Food Policy for Canada, food security, food sovereignty and food justice; the social economy of food; the regulation of GMOs and other food innovations; food law and gender, animal welfare and animal rights and Indigenous approaches to food law, as well as the impacts of global pandemics on food systems. Students who have a keen interest in food law and practice will benefit greatly from this course. However, it is also designed for those more interested in the legal system generally who will learn about its workings through the case study of food and can then apply these insights to other areas of law and policy.

The course objectives are to be able to locate, explain and critique:

  • the past, present, and future of food law and policy in Canada
  • the federal, provincial, and municipal laws and regulations governing food
  • major and current areas of debate in the field
  • the relationship between academic, legal, industry, and government perspectives on food law and policy-related issues

They also include developing critical thinking skills and becoming familiar with alternative perspectives.

Cannabis Law

CML4114JA

There have been few changes in Canadian legislation that have had an impact on as many areas of the law as the legalization of cannabis for recreational use. This course, sponsored by Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall LLP/s.r.l., will survey the many areas of the law impacted by this unprecedented change and will examine the regulatory framework of cannabis in Canada in respect of both medical and recreational use, and production. In addition, the course will explore some of the potential legal implications of legalization, including with respect to employment/labour law, property law, immigration law and business law. The course features a variety of guest lecturers and instructors from Perley-Robertson, Hill & McDougall LLP/s.r.l. in addition to a visit to Canopy Growth in Smiths Falls.

Enjeux sociojuridiques de la pandémie de COVID-19

DRC4731A (Civil Law)

Ce cours transversal a pour objet l’étude de la pandémie de COVID-19 au travers ses différents aspects sociojuridiques. Les enseignements permettront d’approfondir les nombreux questionnements sociojuridiques générés par la pandémie, tels les suivants :

  • Qu’est-ce qu’une pandémie et qui a le pouvoir d’en déclarer l’existence ? Quelles obligations incombent aux États lorsqu’une pandémie est déclarée ?
  • Au Canada, quel ordre de gouvernement a compétence pour agir en temps de pandémie ? Par exemple, de quels pouvoirs disposent les communautés locales pour agir afin d’éviter l’éclosion et la propagation du virus en leur sein dès lors qu’elles estiment que le gouvernement fédéral ou provincial manque à ses responsabilités ? Quels sont les rapports entre les pouvoirs du fédéral et des provinces d’agir en situation d’urgence ?
  • Quelle est l’étendue des pouvoirs de coercition dont disposent les forces de l’ordre afin d’assurer la mise en œuvre des mesures sanitaires adoptées afin d’endiguer la pandémie ?
  • Quelles sont les responsabilités des entreprises dans la gestion des risques en lien avec la pandémie, et par quels moyens leurs manquements pourraient-ils être sanctionnés ?
  • Quel est le rôle de l’intelligence artificielle et des technologies de l’information, telle la géolocalisation, afin de prédire, de suivre et d’endiguer une pandémie ? Comment réconcilier le rôle accru des technologies et le respect des droits individuels ?
  • Comment le droit peut-il servir à protéger la santé des travailleurs face à la COVID-19 ?
  • Comment le droit encadre-t-il le télétravail auquel sont astreints un très grand nombre de travailleurs pour une période indéterminée ? Quel sort pour les conventions collectives et la liberté d’association en temps de pandémie ?
  • Quelles obligations et quelles restrictions s’imposent aux autorités publiques dans la gestion de la pandémie en vertu des instruments internationaux et canadiens de protection des droits de la personne, qu’il s’agisse du droit à la liberté de religion, du droit à la vie et à la sécurité, du droit à l’égalité, ou encore des droits sociaux, économiques, et culturels ?
  • Qu’advient-il des contrats en temps de pandémie? Quid de la protection du consommateur en lien avec les pratiques commerciales abusives, comme l’imposition de prix excessivement élevés pour l’achat de produits essentiels ou sanitaires ?
  • Qu’en est-il des normes commerciales et sanitaires permettant d’assurer la sécurité
    alimentaire durant la pandémie ?
  • Quels obstacles juridiques pourraient intervenir dans le développement et la distribution
    de vaccins et d’autres médicaments afin de contrer la pandémie et ses effets les plus délétères ?

Ces questions et plusieurs autres seront discutées dans le cadre de ce cours prodigué par une vaste gamme d’experts œuvrant dans divers domaines du droit pertinents à la pandémie de COVID-19.

Droit de la santé

DRC4731E (Civil Law)
Audrey Ferron Parayre

Ce cours se veut une introduction au droit et politiques de la santé. Portant principalement sur des questions de droit, il permettra toutefois de souligner les liens existants entre le droit, les sciences de la santé et les politiques publiques.
Le cours favorisera une analyse critique et une réflexion approfondie sur des enjeux propres au droit de la santé. Les thèmes suivants pourront être abordés :

  • Normes internationales de droit de la santé
  • Santé et partage des compétences au Canada
  • Chartes et droit de la santé
  • Loi canadienne sur la santé
  • Organisation du système de santé au Québec (LSSSS)
  • Compétences professionnelles (obligations déontologiques)
  • Droits des usagers (LSSSS et responsabilité médicale)
  • Droit pharmaceutique et recherche médicale
  • Droit de la santé publique

Droit psychiatrique

DRC4731H (Civil Law)

Dans le cadre de ce cours, les étudiant·es auront l’opportunité de mettre en perspective les pratiques en droit civil, criminel et administratif et leurs effets sociologiques. Le cours sera divisé en quatre parties. Dans un premier temps : la psychiatrie comme outil de contrôle social; le développement historique du droit psychiatrique; la sur-institutionnalisation et la désinstitutionalisation; quelques pratiques hospitalières actuelles comme les mesures de contrôle (isolement, contentions, substances chimiques) et les électrochocs. Dans un second temps, le droit civil : la garde en établissement et l'autorisation de soins. Dans un troisième temps, le droit criminel : la non-responsabilité pour cause de trouble mentaux; l'incapacité à subir son procès; l'automatisme. Finalement : la Commission d’examen et les tribunaux spécialisés.

Droit, médecine et biologie

DRC4760A (Civil Law)
Michelle Giroux

Le cours portera principalement sur des questions d'ordre juridique. Toutefois, il sera parfois utiled'établir les liens et les différences qui existent entre l'éthique et le droit. Dans un premier temps, les principes généraux à la base de la relation médecin-patient serontdiscutés. Par la suite, les problèmes spécifiques s'étalant du début à la fin de la vie serontabordés. La procréation médicalement assistée, l'expérimentation, le don d’organe, les soins defin de vie seront notamment étudiés.