Do you want to develop deeper knowledge in health law, policy and ethics to supplement your career or studies? We are now accepting applications for our Summer Institute, a one-week online program running May 22–26. This year the focus is the law, policy, and future of the Canadian health workforce. The Institute is led by instructors drawn from research, law, government, and health care practice. Aimed at both professionals and university students, no prior experience or legal training is required. Class size is limited, so we encourage you to apply soon!
CHLPE’s Audrey Ferron Parayre (Civil Law) has obtained funding from CIHR for a three-year project studying the implementation of women’s rights in the context of obstetrical and gynecological violence (OGV). OGV encompasses various forms of abuse, disrespect and mistreatment perpetrated in the context of obstetrical and gynecological care. Examples can include procedures like inducing labour done without the informed consent of the patient, berating and bullying during labour and delivery, ignoring requests for information or help, and more. The project includes funding for two LL.M. students and one Ph.D. Law student—see here for details.
You can watch a discussion of OGV in CHLPE’s lunchtime webinar series in Mieux cerner un enjeu émergent : les violences obstétricales.
We invite applications from JD students/ JD graduates interested in pursuing a Master in Laws (LLM) project with a focus on how human life cycles are understood. We hope to hear from JD students who have an interest in health law, geriatric law, maternal health law, Indigenous law, and others. The legal and health care communities are becoming aware that their abilities to understand and respect all bodies of knowledge regarding birth, life, and death are still minimal. Co-supervised by Professors Jennifer Chandler and Signa Daum Shanks, the LLM student will have an opportunity to broaden their academic efforts in health law, Indigenous law, and the history of health sciences reinforcing colonizing attitudes about the value of Indigenous knowledge. Finding in thhe amount of $15,000 is available. (English only)
Following on from CHLPE's 2021 conference on organ donation and transplantation, Jennifer Chandler spearheaded a collaboration with the Canadian Donation and Transplantation Research Program to publish a number of fast-fact documents to help us all understand the issues in simple and plain language. Nine documents cover specific issues ranging across opt-in, opt-out, living donation, donation following medical assistance in dying, and many others.
See also our YouTube channel for complete conference videos.
Professor Monique Potvin Kent is the author of a new report funded by Heart & Stroke looking at social media advertising of junk food. These online conversations are driven not only by brands but by individuals, representing a newer form of marketing called user-generated content. Younger people are especially vulnerable to this because of their greater trust and familiarity with people within their social networks...
See also Toronto Star, La Presse op eds.
In a recent interview with CBC, former minister of sport MP Kirsty Duncan related her own story of being abused as an athlete and repeated her call for a national judicial inquiry into abuse in sport. There is mounting pressure on current Minister Pascale St-Onge and the federal government to convene such an inquiry. The campaign has gained momentum in recent weeks after a group of more than 100 scholars signed an open letter in support. Daphne Gilbert was a signatory to that letter and penned an op ed on the topic—you can read the full text in the Ottawa Citizen.
CHLPE's annual conference—and our first hybrid online/in-person one—wrapped up in October. Full panel videos are available on our YouTube channel. This year the topic was border control during COVID and in pandemics to come. Here borders include not just national but also provincial/state borders as well as "borders" within locales like hospitals and long-term care homes. Panels covered history, communication, long-term care, psychiatric institutions, homelessness, migrants and refugees, international case studies and law, vaccine passports and technologies, and more.
An outbreak of Ebola in Uganda has killed dozens of people since it was announced in September. Efforts have been hampered by the fact that no approved vaccine exists for this form of the virus, the less common Ebola-Sudan species. And yet a viable vaccine candidate produced more than a decade ago in a Canadian government lab has spent years sitting on a shelf because of a medical research and development system that is driven by commercial gain rather than by public health needs. Jason Nickerson & Adam Houston write in Globe & Mail...
North America’s opioid crisis has resulted in nearly 30,000 deaths since 2016 and is devastating communities across Canada. In response to escalating overdoses, Health Canada formally approved providing a “safer supply” of regulated drugs for people who are at risk of overdose from the unregulated market. Numerous safe supply evaluations are underway across Canada, but more research is needed on the impacts of such programs. Professor Vanessa Gruben is leading a team of interdisciplinary scholars to address this question. With some groups advocating for an expansion of safer supply programs and others for a return to traditional treatments, the team aims to collect the emerging literature, interview players in the field, and map the debates.
When new drinking guidelines for Canadians were released, it was the headline takeaway that got the most attention, including its share of scorn. In fact, many of the other recommendations were ignored. There's a lot of science behind limiting alcohol consumption, and there are many ways to do it. But is setting a goal like two drinks a week the right way? How important is the messaging to actually achieving results? Are there lessons we can learn, both from the pandemic and Canada's approach to tobacco, that could help us drink less, while also not sparking ridicule from those who enjoy a few beers? CHLPE's David Sweanor speaks on the CityNews podcast.
A look back to the debates following on the heels of the overturn of Roe v Wadein June: The U.S. Supreme Court decision casts an ominous shadow that reaches into Canada too. As we prepare for an unwelcome conversation that revisits an issue well-settled in this country, we should move forward with a new paradigm to define abortion rights. CHLPE's Professor Daphne Gilbert writes in the Ottawa Citizen. See also our webinar from July: Abortion at a Crossroads – Bracing for the Impact of American Bans.
Some cigarette companies have started to talk about replacing cigarettes with less harmful alternatives, which might include vaping products, heated tobacco products, and oral nicotine products. This manuscript article in Nicotone & Tobacco Research, co-authored by CHLPE's David Sweanor, compares the behaviour of cigarette companies in the U.S. pre- and post-2012, analyzing the impact of the growth of vaping products on smoking and on cigarette company profiles.
Professor Oguamanam has been awarded the University of Ottawa Research Chair in Sustainable Bio-Innovation, Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Global Knowledge Governance. As the new Chair, Professor Oguamanam’s aim is to advance just societies through the equitable participation of the world’s Indigenous peoples and local communities in global knowledge production and its resulting benefits. Professor Oguamanam’s research will make an original contribution to repositioning Indigenous and local knowledge custodians from old forms of knowledge governance to new models that are more well suited to the technological advancements of the 21st Century. Professor Oguamanam also heads ABS-Canada, and is Co-Founder of the SSHRC/IDRC-supported Open Africa Innovation Research (Open AIR) partnership.
Established in 2004, the CAHS brings together Canada’s top-ranked health and biomedical scientists and scholars with the goal of understanding and addressing Canadian health concerns. Election as a Fellow of the CAHS is a rare honour. Professor Chandler is a founding member of CHLPE and is the Bertram Loeb Research Chair in Organ and Tissue Donation. Her research explores the legal and ethical aspects of biomedical science and technology, with focuses on brain sciences as well as organ donation and transplantation. She also regularly contributes to Canadian governmental policy on challenging matters of biomedicine—for example, recently co-authoring a report on safeguards related to medical assistance in dying in the context of mental illness.
We are delighted to announce that Maureen McTeer's most recent book, FERTILITY: 40 Years of Change has been published by Irwin Law. This book explores key medical, research, and legal developments in assisted human reproduction since the birth of the first IVF baby in 1978. With keen insight, Maureen analyses how Canada has responded to the many legal and societal opportunities this foundational reproductive technology has created, such as new types of human relationships; the treatment of infertility; human embryo research; and the revolutionary possibilities for society raised by the combination of reproductive and genetic technologies, as we create, manipulate, and alter human life in the laboratory.
In recent years, some people with visual impairments have regained some degree of sight with the help of “bionic eyes”. But now the company behind the implants has stopped supporting the technology. Hear how that’s left some people in the dark, from Eliza Strickland, Senior Editor at the tech publication IEEE Spectrum, and CHLPE’s Professor Jennifer Chandler. On CBC's The Current:
See also Their Bionic Eyes Are Now Obsolete and Unsupported, in IEEE Spectrum>
Raywat Deonandan is co-investigator on a new grant-funded project led by Angel Foster: Exploring the Impact of COVID-19 on Abortion Care in Canada: A Mixed-Methods Study Dedicated to Service Delivery and Utilization. The project is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) over a two-year period. You can see Angel Foster along with Melissa Upreti, Joanna Erdman, and CHLPE's Daphne Gilbert in last week's webinar, Rights to Abortion: 2022 and Beyond.
Recent outrage by some members of Parliament about an alleged secret collection of Canadians’ data by the Public Health Agency of Canada illustrates how misguided many are about the various kinds of personal data – and how they should and should not be used. Michael Wolfson writes in the Globe & Mail...
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See also Canadians’ health data are in a shambles…
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According to the Canadian Mental Health Association one in five Canadians is currently living with mental illness. By age 40, half of Canadians have suffered—or are suffering—some form of it. Between 2009 and 2019, there was a 60% increase in emergency department room visits and hospitalizations among adolescents. Only one in five young Canadians gets the treatment needed. The Mental Health Commission of Canada estimates that mental health problems and illnesses cost Canada about $50 billion per year. We can and must do better. Yasmin Khaliq writes in the Ottawa Citizen...
When vaccine passports or certificates launched in Ontario it was a development welcomed by some and strongly opposed by others. The launch raised a myriad of legal, ethical, privacy, and policy issues as jurisdictions around the world grapple with the continued global pandemic and the unusual requirements of demonstrating vaccination in order to enter some public or private spaces. On September 27 CHLPE's Colleen Flood, Bryan Thomas, and Kumanan Wilson were joined by Vivek Krishnamurthy, Director of uOttawa's Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC), as well as Marie-Eve Sylvestre, Dean of Civil Law. Catch up on the full video of the webinar and discussion here.
Also hear Colleen Flood on the Law Bytes Podcast, hosted by Professor Michael Geist.
CHLPE’s Patrick Fafard was interviewed by Markham Hislop on the role of Science Advisory Groups and scientific evidence and advice in general in how governments manage the pandemic.
Digital technologies are briskly transforming how the law is administered. The eco-system in which courts operate has shifted sharply and precipitously during the pandemic, which dramatically hastened "judicial digitization" on a scale and at a pace that our court system would never have contemplated previously. This has culminated, for example, in court proceedings transpiring on Zoom, Teams and the like. This de facto marriage of convenience may in a word best be characterized as an unstructured partnership prematurely born out of necessity… Karen Eltis writes in the Federmann Cyber Security Research Centre's Cyberlaw Blogospace
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AI in healthcare has the potential to improve clinical outcomes, healthcare quality, and objectivity in clinical decision-making. However, it also has the potential to perpetuate or exacerbate discrimination in healthcare by producing outputs on the basis of arbitrary traits such as race, sex, and sexual orientation taken in ways that are not clinically relevant. Such discrimination may arise from any combination of algorithmic bias (bias in coding or the machine learning implementation) or data bias (the use of non-representative training data, including data masking systemic discrimination). If these problems are not mitigated, the benefits of AI in healthcare AI are likely be realized at the expense of marginalized groups. This is a complex problem that requires concerted responses from government as well as private actors...
Bradley Henderson, Colleen M. Flood, and Teresa Scassa write in preprint, hosted on SSRN.
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Find out more about the Machine M.D. research project >
Canada’s federal election results had barely been counted when the Premiers resumed making their well-worn demands for more federal health care money. Instead of thanking Ottawa for the billions it has already provided for fighting COVID-19, or asking for short-term pandemic-related funding, the ritual chorus seeks ever-increasing amounts of money for decades to come. Granted, the need for more money certainly feels urgent right now. A number of provinces are having difficulty even staffing their hospitals, after almost two years of burnout-inducing working conditions for front-line health care workers. However, the premiers’ multibillion-dollar asks have been for unconditional long-term funding, well beyond the scope of the current crisis. It is entirely reasonable to ask them to explain how the money will be used—especially since spending more on health care does not automatically mean better health outcomes. CHLPE's Michael Wolfson writes.
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The Good Men Project >