Community Tools: Bioethics Seminar Series

The JCB offers a weekly seminar on a wide variety of bioethics topics. The speakers come from the local national and international community in bioethics. These seminars are open to the public and free and do not require prior registration. All seminars take place every Wednesday from 4:10 - 5:15 pm in the Great Hall of the JCB, 88 College Street, Toronto, unless otherwise indicated.


This schedule is subject to change. If you are coming to hear a particular speaker or topic, we suggest you consult this schedule again the week of the seminar.


The JCB also has webcast seminars. View ePresence instructions.

[Some video archives currently not available]


September 2008 - June 2009





September 17

Debbie Rolfe, MSW, MHSc, RSW, Clinical and Organizational Ethics Senior Fellow, Toronto Community Care Access Centre, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, and University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics (Partnerships & Strategy).

Now and Then – A Narrative Exploration of Moral Distress

Not webcast

September 24

Terry Wilson, Family Member; Faiza Rab, MD, MHSc, Bioethics Associate, Humber River Regional Hospital; Fatema Amijee, BA (Hons), Specialist in Philosophy & Bioethics, Research Assistant, Joint Centre for Bioethics and Humber River Regional Hospital; Bob Parke, BA, BSW, MSW, RSW, MHSc Bioethics, Bioethicist, Humber River Regional Hospital

‘Just Hang On! They Haven’t Turned it Off Yet’ – Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators (ICDs) at the End of Life

Archived Seminar web link

September 26

2:30-4:00 pm Courtyard by Marriott Toronto Downtown, 475 Yonge St.

H. Tristram Engelhardt, Jr., PhD, MD, Professor of Philosophy, Rice University; Professor Emeritus of Medical Ethics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas

13th Annual Alloway Lecture

An Ethic of Care in the Face of Moral Diversity: Challenges and Possibilities

Archived Seminar web link

October 1

Mildred Cho, PhD, Associate Director and Associate Professor (Research) of Pediatrics, Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics, Stanford University

OGI-JCB Benchside Ethics Seminar

The Benchside Ethics Consultation Service: A model of un-governance for genomic research

Archived Seminar web link

October 8

Steve Joordens, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychology, Centre for Computational Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Toronto at Scarborough

If Humans are Animals, We Should Treat Them the Same:  An Argument Against Science’s Explicit Double-Standard with Respect to Research Ethics


October 15

Karima Velji, RN, PhD, CHE, Vice President, Patient Care and Chief Nursing Executive, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute

Ethical perspectives - Nursing Project in Afghanistan

Archived Seminar web link

October 22

4:30 – 5:30 pm

Main Lecture Theatre, Room 604, 6th Floor, Princess Margaret Hospital, 610 University Avenue

Harvey Chochinov, OM, FRSC, Canada Research Chair in Palliative Care, Distinguished Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Manitoba

28th Annual Philippa Harris Lecture on Bioethical Issues in Cancer – Dignity and the Essence of Medicine


October 29

Jonathan Breslin, PhD, Ethicist, North York General Hospital and Jennifer Gibson, PhD, Director of Partnerships and Strategy, University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics

Ethics change in health care organizations:  What is our burning platform?

Archived Seminar web link

November 5

Nora Jacobson, PhD, Scientist, Health Systems Research and Consulting Unit, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

A Taxonomy of Dignity

Archived Seminar web link

November 12

Aideen Moore, MD, MHSc, FRCPC, Associate Professor, Department of Paediatrics, University of Toronto; Division of Neonatology, The Hospital for Sick Children

OGI-JCB Benchside Ethics SeriesAttitudes of Adults and Adolescents to Predictive Genetic Testing for Diabetes

Archived Seminar web link

November 19

Pam Kolopack, BSc, MSc, PhD Candidate, Dalla Lana School of Public Health Sciences, University of Toronto

A Matter of Perspective:  The Experience of Participants and their Family Members Involved in a Novel Gene Transfer Trial

Archived Seminar web link

November 26

Ann Robertson, DrPH, Professor, Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Toronto

“Designer Babies” and the Governance of Life:  The Case of Pre-Implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD)

Archived Seminar web link

December 3

Robert Fowler, MDCM, MS, FRCPC, Assistant Professor, University of Toronto; Departments of Medicine and Interdepartmental Division of Critical Care Medicine, Staff Physician and Associate Scientist, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre; Career Scientist, Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-term Care

Access to Care for Critically Ill Patients Across the Gender and Life Span

Archived Seminar web link

December 10

Robert Mundle, BMus, MDiv, STM, PhD (Candidate), Chaplain, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute

Religion and Clinical Ethics in Canada:  Key Considerations and Recommendations in the Wake of the Golubchuk Case

Archived Seminar web link

December 17

No Seminar

December 24 & 31


January 7

Shawn A. Richard, BSc, MA, JD, Student-at-Law, Lenczner Slaght Royce Smith Griffin LLP

Are Those Drugs for Me or Just for You?  Pharmacogenomics and the Law


January 14

Shawn Winsor, MHSc, Clinical Ethicist, Trillium Health Centre


Multiple Embryo Transfer: What It is...Why It Matters...And What’s Being Done to Meet the Challenge


January 21

Martin Hevia, Post-Doctoral Fellow, School of Law, Torcuato Di Tella University, Buenos Aires

Confidentiality and Reproductive Services: The Social Purpose of Medicine in Latin American Case Law

Archived Seminar web link

January 28

Sally Bean, JD, MA, Senior Ethics Fellow, Trillium Health Centre and Member, University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics

Medical Outsourcing

Archived Seminar web link
January 29

Judy Illes, PhD, Canada Research Chair in Neuroethics; Professor of Neurology, The University of British Columbia

12th Annual Jus Lecture

Knowledge, Values, Neuroscience


February 4

Michel Shamy, BA, MD, Resident in Neurology, University of Toronto, Winner of 2008 RCPSC KJR Wightman Award for Research in Biomedical Ethics

Narrative, Argument and Evidence:  An Ethical Justification for the Use of Suggestion in the Treatment of Psychogenic Illness


February 11

Jerome Singh, PhD, MHSc, Head, Ethics and Health Programme, Centre for the AIDS Programme in South Africa (CAPRISA); Adjunct Professor, Department of Public Health Sciences and Joint Centre for Bioethics, University of Toronto

Researching XDR-TB: Ethical, Legal, Social and Cultural Challenges


February 18


February 25

Kerry Bowman, PhD, Clinical Ethicist, Mount Sinai Hospital, and Assistant Professor, Family and Community Medicine, University of Toronto

OGI-JCB Benchside Ethics Series – Ethics, Genomics, and Biobanking:  Is Consent Possible?


March 4

Kevin Reel, MSc, BSc(OT), Clinical & Organizational Ethics Fellow, Joint Centre for Bioethics, University of Toronto Match and patch, mend and blend.  Where do I stop, and these biomaterials end?  

March 11

Vida Panitch, PhD, Bioethics Lecturer and Undergraduate Research Coordinator, Dept. of Philosophy, University of Toronto In Defense of Reasonable Parity:  Preventing Exploitation in International Clinical Research  

March 18

Carlos R. Quinonez, DMD, MSc, PhD (Graduand), FRCD(c) (Fellow-Elect), Community Dental Health Services Research Unit, Faculty of Dentistry, University of Toronto

Pulling teeth, plastic fillings, and the ethics of resource allocation: The political economy of dentistry in Canada


March 25

Michelle Cleghorn, BMSc, MSc (candidate), University of Toronto Institute of Medical Science and the Joint Centre for Bioethics Public Engagement in Health Policy Development:  Defining Effectiveness  

April 1

Michael S. Pollanen, PhD, MD, FRCPC, MRC(Path), Chief Forensic Pathologist, Province of Ontario; Associate Professor, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, University of Toronto The Ethics of Infanticide  

April 8

Thomas Foreman, DHCE, MA, MPIA, Clinical and Organizational Ethics Fellow, Joint Centre for Bioethics, University of Toronto Caveat Emptor or Murder:  The Aziga Case and the Criminalisation of HIV Transmission in Canada  

April 15

Arthur Frank, PhD, Visiting Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto; Professor of Sociology, University of Calgary Bioethics in the Frist Person:  A Report on the "Bioethics and Cancer" Project Archived Seminar web link

April 22

Billie-Jo Hardy, B.Sc, M. Biotech, McLaughlin-Rotman Centre for Global Health, Program on Ethics and Commercialization, University Health Network and University of Toronto

OGI-JCB Benchside Ethics Series

Genomic Medicine and Developing Countries


April 29

Rebecca Bruni, RN, PhD

Clinical & Organizational Ethics Fellow, Joint Centre for Bioethics, University of Toronto
Public Involvement:  A Vehicle to Enhance Legitimacy and Fairness in a Wait Time Management Initiative  

May 6

Solomon R. Benatar, Emeritus Professor of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town and Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health and Joint Centre for Bieothics, University of Toronto.

Human Rights Abuses: Towards balancing two perspectives

May 11 Roshi Joan Halifax, PhD, Founder, Abbot and Head Teacher, Upaya Zen Center 2nd Annual Sue MacRae Lecture on Ethics and Patient-Centred Care - The Heart of Care for the Dying Archived Seminar web link

Archived Seminars - [Some video archives currently not available]