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  • November 25, 2020 from 4:00pm to 5:00pm

University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics Seminar Series 2020-21


Claudia Barned, MSc, PhD, Bioethicist, University Health Network

Kevin Rodrigues, MTS, Bioethicist, Toronto General Hospital and Women’s College Hospital

About this Seminar:

COVID-19 has had a tremendous impact on the lives of many in Canada and across the globe. Although the illness affects us all, the differential impact on racialized people, particularly amongst Black and Indigenous communities, has highlighted areas of moral concern, especially when examining this within the larger context of bioethical silence and a lack of unified engagement with issues of race.

While there have been individual contributions, through scholarly or institutional work, to the ethical significance of race, mainstream bioethics has largely neglected and continues to neglect topics that attend to issues of racial injustice. Our talk draws attention to this blind spot in the Canadian context, and critically positions this work as integral to our focus on principles of equity and justice. We will contrast the flurry of attention dedicated towards particular issues that are “inherently worthy” of bioethical inquiry and outrage (e.g. AI, biotech, genome editing, cloning) with the deafening silence for others (e.g. racism in healthcare, the intersection of race, mental health and police violence).

On a broader level, this seminar will question whether some topics are taboo given the lack of consensus on bioethics professional values, standards, and scope. To this end, we will raise questions about the nature of the silence, for e.g., does it speak to a larger issue re general discomfort with issues of race? If so, how can the bioethics community justify this, especially when equity and justice are values that are held in such high esteem? Ultimately, we ask: what are our obligations when we talk about bioethics for a just society, and notably, which members of society are included/excluded from this justice?

Additional Details:

This event is free and is open to the general public. The direct link to the seminar will be sent out to registered participants 2 hours before the event.

All of the JCB Bioethics Seminars are now being live streamed to our YouTube channel. Subscribe to our channel to receive notices of live events.


Please email Laurie Bulchak,