Standing Committee on Ethics (SCE) Meeting Highlights: January 7-8, 2015

Ethics Action Plan

At its January 2015 meeting, the SCE approved CIHR’s Ethics Action Plan: Placing Ethics at the Core of CIHR’s Business. The six objectives of the Action Plan are to:

  1. Strengthen ethics leadership through shared accountability mechanisms and integration of CIHR’s ethics mandate;
  2. Ensure ethics considerations inform decisions related to priority-setting, programs, policies, processes and partnerships;
  3. Nurture and monitor research capacity in ethics in Canada and its application within priority target areas;
  4. Capture and assess the impact of ethics activities within the Open Programs and strategic initiatives;
  5. Develop and implement a new ethics communication strategy; and
  6. Review the ethics leadership model and action plan after five years.
Activities are underway for each of these six areas, with SCE members engaged in working groups for: the development of a performance measurement strategy for ethics; an ethics communications strategy; and promotion of the consideration of ethics in research applications for funding.

Issues raised by SCE and Science Council

The SCE discussed the following topics:

  • Clinical trials on the chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency procedure for Multiple Sclerosis;
  • CIHR’s involvement in the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health;
  • CIHR’s Citizen and Patient Engagement Strategy;
  • Ethical challenges arising from innovative methods in and alternative design for clinical trials; and
  • Partnerships with the private sector in community-based participatory research initiatives such as in the Pathways to Health Equity for Aboriginal Peoples Signature Initiative.


The Chair reported that the Governing Council approved the appointment of two new members to the SCE: Professor Glenn Cohen of Harvard University, an internationally-known ethicist with legal expertise; and Dr. Jean Miller, a member of the public who will also contribute a patient perspective.

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