David Lepofsky Story2022 – CCE Annual Online Ethics Conference Program

24th Annual Ethics Conference – Human Rights and Healthcare

This year our focus is on Human Rights and Healthcare.  This expansive topic has been brought to the fore by the pandemic’s exacerbation of issues of racism, colonialization, and structural inequities within healthcare.  We will hear from leading speakers on topics such as what is a ‘right’, how to balance competing interests of individuals within the healthcare system, the concept of accommodation, why cultural safety is essential in healthcare, and the impact of being uninsured in Ontario.  See Program for Advance Registration information.

Week 1 – Wednesday, November 2nd – Dr. Hazel Markwell Honourary Lecture in Bioethics
– Tearing Down the Many Disability Barriers in Ontario’s Health Care System

Speaker – David Lepofsky CM, O. Ont, LLB, LL. M, LL.D. (Hon), visiting professor of Disability Rights and Legal Education, Osgoode Hall Law School, Chair of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance.

Ontario’s health care system has far too many disability barriers that impede patients with disabilities from fully using and benefiting from health care services to which they are entitled.  The Ontario Government has pledged to enact a Health Care Accessibility Standard under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act to remove these barriers.  In this presentation, I will review these health care disability barriers and talk about what needs to be done to fix this situation.

David Lepofsky Story

Week 2 – Wednesday, November 9th – What are rights, anyway?  An ethical and legal perspective on rights in healthcare

Speaker – Xavier Symons, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Human Flourishing Program at Harvard University

Speaker – Melanie de Wit, JD, MPH, Chief Legal Officer, Unity Health Toronto, Adjunct Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto

The language of rights is often used by people who are advocating for themselves.  Patients and their Families frequently assert their “right” to particular treatment, accommodation, visitation, and information.  Sometimes fulfilling these expectations detracts from what may be considered the rights of others, namely healthcare workers or other patients.  How can we best navigate conflicting expectations regarding entitlements?  We will explore how legal and moral concepts of rights can help us to balance competing interests within healthcare, while acknowledging the limitations of each.

Week 3 – Wednesday, November 23rd – Beyond apologies and land acknowledgements:  How persist colonial ideas, policies, and systems are actively perpetuating Indigenous health inequities and what you can do about this

Speaker – Janet Smylie, MD, FCFP, MPH, FCAHS Director of the Well Living House and Strategic Advisor Indigenous Wellbeing, Reconciliation, and Partnerships at Unity Health Toronto; Professor, University of Toronto

The majority of healthcare professionals are highly motivated to advance Indigenous reconciliation.  Despite these good intentions, Indigenous/non-Indigenous health inequities persist.  Using specific case examples, including the opioid epidemic and COVID-19 responses, I will describe how outdated colonial ideas, policies, and systems are actively perpetuating these inequities.  I will then present evidence-based and Indigenous community derived recommendations for action.

Week 4 – Wednesday, November 30th – Immigration Status and Health – the Impact of being Uninsured in Ontario?

Speaker – Michaela Beder, MD, FRCPC, Psychiatrist, St. Michael’s Hospital, Director of Mental Health and Substance Use Care, Inner City Health Associates; Assistant Professor, University of Toronto

Speaker – Graham Hudson, JD, LLM, PhD, Professor and Associate Dean, Lincoln Alexander School of Law, Toronto Metropolitan University

This talk will explore the concept of the right to health for persons who are uninsured.  In particular, the clinical and legal dimensions of access to healthcare for persons lacking immigration status such as undocumented migrants will be discussed.

Speaker Biographies

David Lepofsky

Dr. Xavier Symons

Melanie De Wit

Janet Smylie

Dr. Michaela Beder

Dr. Graham Hudson

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