Unfinished Business: Ongoing Ethical Exceptionalism in the Oversight of Human Pluripotent Stem Cell Research in Canada

Jocelyn Downie


In this article, we critically examine the arguments for and against the exceptional status given human pluripotent stem cell research in Canada (through the latest [December 2010] revision of the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans), and conclude that this exceptionalism is unwarranted and ethically unsound. In our view, the three federal research granting agencies should honor their longstanding commitment that researchers, research sponsors, and Research Ethics Boards in Canada have access to “a single reference document for all research involving humans conducted under the auspices of institutions eligible for Agency funding.” As well, responsibility for the development, interpretation, and implementation of Canada’s research ethics guidelines should be under the authority of a single oversight body that is independent of the federal research granting Agencies.

co-author: Francoise Bayliss


Health Law

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