May 24th - 26th, 2017 | Hyatt Regency Montreal | Montreal, QC



Agenda & Speakers | ThemeWho Should Attend?CBS | CECs | Rates


Our agenda is now online and ready for your review. Click here for a complete 2017 agenda!!

A complete list of our plenary speakers is also available. Click here to view!!


Falling Through the Cracks: Equity, Ethics and the Challenges of Vulnerability

Hosted by the Centre for Applied Ethics, McGill University Health Centre

The 2017 Annual Conference of the Canadian Bioethics Society will address the theme of intersecting vulnerabilities in all its complexity; from conceptual foundations to the need for practical responses. An important challenge for bioethics today is how to help individuals who are at risk of “falling through the cracks” especially when health and social service programmes targeting disenfranchised populations are struggling. Instances of such predicaments are illustrated in the following examples: (1) an elderly woman prematurely discharged from hospital who is put on a waiting list for homecare services that never materialize, (2) a patient with a mental illness and complex medical needs that no long term care facility will accept because his behaviour is considered “too difficult”, (3) a public policy that fails to account for the inequitably distributed impacts of climate change on northern communities.

For this year’s conference, we are interested in contributions exploring, among others, the following questions and issues:

Although vulnerability has been a core tenet since the inception of the discipline of bioethics, it has been argued that there is a lack of theoretical clarity surrounding the concept. How should vulnerability be defined? Is the concept out-dated? Who decides who is vulnerable? Is vulnerability an essential part of the human condition and if so, how do we decide who is deserving of special protections? Is vulnerability a stigmatizing concept, and/or does it overshadow inherent strengths?

Clinicians, researchers, policy makers, and bioethicists routinely confront practical challenges associated with the intersection of multiple vulnerabilities. What protections are owed to the more vulnerable members of society? What innovative strategies have been adopted to promote the rights and equitable treatment of people who may otherwise have “fallen through the cracks”? Are there unique vulnerabilities for care providers that have been overlooked or under-unappreciated?  Are current health care reforms addressing these issues?

We are inviting a wide variety of contributions addressing the full range of considerations and approaches on the conference theme and that will showcase tried and true, as well as innovative, ways of considering and addressing ethical issues associated with vulnerability at the micro, meso and macro levels.

Who Should Attend?

Consistent with its theme, the conference will be of interest to, and is designed to engage, those traditionally involved in a variety of bioethics activity, as well as those who may not have been historically involved in such discussions, but whose contributions and involvement are crucial to inclusive and open-minded dialogue. Participants are anticipated to include:

  • Health care providers – physicians, nurses, social workers, spiritual care providers, palliative care staff, allied health care providers and others working in, or interested in learning more about, bioethics issues
  • Health administrators, managers, and policy-makers
  • Researchers – all those who contribute to scientific knowledge, including those doing research in bioethics
  • Teachers – all those involved in the dissemination of research and knowledge, and in encouraging critical and rigorous thinking about our moral obligations
  • Ethicists, clinical and research ethics committee members, ethics program coordinators, ethics education coordinators and volunteers
  • Those involved in disaster ethics, ethics and health technology assessment, community-based ethics, rural ethics, correctional ethics, global ethics, diversity ethics, aboriginal health ethics, mental health and addictions ethics, public health ethics
  • Students of bioethics – from high school to post-graduate
  • Patients and families – those receiving or who have received health care, those with chronic illnesses, guardians/parents of children with illness
  • Individuals with disabilities - physical, mental, sensory – and family members
  • Individuals who have experienced mental illness – and family members/loved ones
  • Individuals with chronic illnesses – and family members/loved ones
  • ... and all those with an interest in ethical issues and relation to human / animal / environmental / global health.

The Canadian Bioethics Society

The Canadian Bioethics Society (CBS) is a national, member-driven, charitable organization serving as a forum for individuals interested in sharing ideas relating to bioethics. The CBS was created in 1988 from the fusion of the Canadian Society of Bioethics and the Société canadienne de la bioéthique médicale.

The CBS sees bioethics in its broadest sense, concerned with ethical issues relating to human life and health, biology, and the environment.

Members of the CBS include those interested in learning more about bioethics, as well as those engaged in a variety of related activities including research in bioethics; ethics in health policy; bioethics teaching and education; research ethics; delivery and planning of health and health care; and public engagement and consultation on bioethics issues, amongst others.

The CBS and its Annual Conference aims to be inclusive of all these areas of endeavor, as well as a growing number of others exploring the interface between ethics and health/the life sciences.

Continuing Education Credits

Details regarding continuing education credits for health care professionals and managers will be made available shortly after the finalized program is published. Please check back for further information soon.

Conference Rates

CBS Members
Early Bird - $575.00
Regular Rate - $675.00
Early Bird Student - $185.00
Regular Rate Student - $210.00
Early Bird - $675.00
Regular Rate - $775.00
Early Bird Student - $225.00
Regular Rate Student - $250.00
One-Day Rates
Early Bird Member - $225.00
Regular Rate Member - $ 250.00
Early Bird Non-Member - $250.00
Regular Non-Member - $275.00
Early Bird Student - $100.00
Regular Rate Student - $125.00

** Early Bird Deadline is Friday, April 7th, 2017.