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Behind the Mask: Ethical Issues Revealed by COVID-19 in Canada and Beyond

May 26, 2021 - May 28, 2021

About this year’s conference

Following the feedback from CBS-SCB members and others who responded to our survey questions about the conference, we are pleased to announce that the theme of the 2021 Canadian Bioethics Society Annual Conference will be “Behind the Mask: Ethical Issues Revealed by COVID-19 in Canada and Beyond.”

The virtual event will be held from 26-28 May with the daily schedule contained within a window of time that makes it possible to join from all over Canada during reasonable local hours.
The theme is intended to capture issues and concerns both created by and exacerbated by the pandemic. These may include the roots of social and health inequity that perpetuate racism and oppression, the governmental responses to the pandemic, and those issues that may be endemic to the field of bioethics itself.

We welcome submissions addressing a broad range of topics, ranging from local to global, individuals to populations, theoretical to practical, and from practice to policy. We also welcome discussions focusing on the next best steps for bioethics as a field of study, inquiry and practice.

Plenary speakers

We would like to introduce you to our outstanding line-up of Canadian and International plenary speakers:

Opening keynote (May 26)

Sharifah Sekalala, Associate Professor, School of Law, University of Warwick
Centering on our common humanity: Reflecting on human rights within the COVID-19 crisis

This keynote questions the utility of human rights within global health crises. In the past year, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, States have taken unprecedented measures that infringe on civil, political, economic and social liberties. The effects of these measures have been very different for different groups both nationally but also globally. I will sketch out the potential of human rights in addressing public health crises, but also draw attention to its limits. Moving from the norms and principles of human rights that are necessary in guiding government responses to the COVID-19 crisis, I will attempt to rethink how human rights could create fairer societies beyond the crisis.

Panel (May 27) on Using Data and AI to Mitigate Bias and Inequities

  • Nadine Caron, Professor, Surgery and First Nations Health Authority Chair in Cancer and Wellness, University of British Columbia
  • Yann Joly, Associate Professor, McGill University
  • Andrew Pinto, Associate Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health

Panel (May 28) on Re-envisioning Bioethics Education for Social Justice

  • Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, Professor Emerita, Emory College of Arts and Sciences
  • Caroline Lidstone-Jones, Chief Executive Officer, Indigenous Primary Health Care Council
  • Keisha Ray, Centre for Humanities and Ethics, McGovern Medical School, University of Texas

Closing keynote (May 28): Reflections on Ethical Challenges during the Pandemic

Bartha Knoppers, Full Professor, Canada Research Chair in Law and Medicine; Director of the Centre of Genomics and Policy, Faculty of Medicine at McGill University & 2021 Recipient of the CBS-SCB Lifetime Achievement Award


May 26, 2021
May 28, 2021
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