Public Health Agency of Canada
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Public health ethics and ethical research

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is committed to increasing awareness and understanding of public health ethics and the value of ethical thinking in public health research, policy and practice.

PHAC's Public Health Law and Ethics Program (PHLEP) develops strategies and resource—including databases, frameworks, guidelines and best practices—that help the Agency and Canada's other public health organizations carry out their core responsibilities in these distinct but interrelated areas.

Tools for ethical public health interventions

There is a growing need in Canada to consider the ethical foundations for and implications of our work in public health and to reflect on the values underlying public health practice.

To increase awareness of the importance of ethics in public health practice, the Agency provides educational material and opportunities for dialogue and discussion for practitioners looking to enhance their understanding of ethics-based public health approaches. The Chief Public Health Officer's Ethics Advisory Committee helps integrate ethical thinking into the development of Agency policies, programs and services.

Ethical research

The Agency's focal point for public health research ethics, PHLEP promotes the importance of ethics review in public health research and supports the joint Health Canada and PHAC Research Ethics BoardExternal Link, by:

  • Contributing to the development of appropriate ethics guidelines and policies for public health research;
  • fostering a culture of respect for human research subjects;
  • providing advisory and consultative services to the Agency on matters of research ethics; and
  • addressing emerging issues in research ethics.