Bioethics Advisory Committee

When you’re dealing with blood and organ donation, stem cells and tissues – you’re invariably dealing with complex and sensitive issues. These issues can sometimes spark ethical questions: What should we keep in mind when thinking about increasing plasma donation? Should we be looking at presumed consent for organ donation in Canada?

Canadian Blood Services’ Bioethics Advisory Committee is a multidisciplinary advisory committee established to support these sorts of bioethics questions and discussions related to blood and blood products, hematopoietic stem cells, organs, and tissues.

The committee is composed of experts in the domain from across the country. They will help leaders at Canadian Blood Services with decision-making when there are ethical implications. The committee will provide guidance to enable policy development, national leadership and education in the application of ethical principles to biological and medical procedures, technologies and treatments, as well as biological discoveries and biomedical advances.

The focus will be on issues which have a direct impact on Canadian Blood Services’ work, but also those which have system-level ethical implications for partners and collaborators.

The official mandate of the Bioethics Advisory Committee is to:

  • Identify current and emerging ethics issues of strategic relevance to Canadian Blood Services’ operations and services;
  • Review, analyze and develop recommendations and guidance on critical ethics issues;
  • Review and comment on ethics policies developed by other groups and organizations;
  • Collaborate with other national and international organizations and ethics groups in development of advice on policies and practices;
  • Address emerging issues that may arise, as appropriate;
  • Identify areas where further work and research is required.

The Bioethics Advisory Committee held its first planning meeting in September 2016 and will meet regularly throughout the year. Please check back to read reports produced by this committee.

Note that this committee does not review research proposals for ethics compliance, as that remains the mandate of the Canadian Blood Services Research Ethics Board. 

Bioethics Advisory Committee Members

Christy Simpson, PhD (Chair)
Head and Associate Professor, Department of Bioethics, Faculty of Medicine, Dalhousie University
Halifax, Nova Scotia

Daniel Buchman, PhD
Bioethicist, University Health Network (UHN)
Toronto, Ontario

Andrew Daly, MD
Clinical Associate Professor, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary
Director, Alberta Bone and Marrow Transplant Program, Alberta Health Services
Calgary, Alberta

Doug Ferguson, BAdmin, BComm, LLB
Adjunct Professor and Director, Community Legal Services, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario

Marie-Chantal Fortin, MD, PhD
Assistant Clinical Professor, Department of Medicine, Université de Montréal
Physician, Division of Nephrology, CHUM
Montreal, Québec

Aviva Goldberg, MD
Professor, University of Manitoba, Department of Pediatrics and Child Health
Ethics Medical Advisor for Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, Transplant Manitoba and the Ontario Renal Network
Winnipeg, Manitoba

Bashir Jiwani, PhD
Ethicist & Director of Ethics Services and Diversity Services, Fraser Health
Vancouver, British Columbia 

Bartha Knoppers, PhD, LLB
Director of the Centre of Genomics and Policy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Human Genetics, McGill University
Montreal, Québec

Brendan Leier, PhD
Clinical Ethicist for University of Alberta Hospital, Stollery Children’s Hospital and Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute
Clinical Assistant Professor, John Dossetor Health Ethics Centre, University of Alberta
Edmonton, Alberta

Michael McDonald, PhD
Professor, University of British Columbia (Emeritus)
Founding Director of the W. Maurice Young Centre for Applied Ethics
Vancouver, British Columbia

Barbara von Tigerstrom, PhD, LLB
Professor, College of Law, University of Saskatchewan
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Linda Wright, MHsc, MSW
Assistant Professor, Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto
Toronto, Ontario

Michelle Zeller, MD
Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine; McMaster University
Transfusion Medicine Specialist, Hamilton Regional Laboratory Medicine Program
Hamilton, Ontario


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