Ethics Committee

The GASHA Ethics Committee is a confidential resource available to help patients, their families and health care workers with ethical health care issues or questions. Generally the ethical issues or questions arise when people are unsure of what is "the right thing to do." or when people disagree on what is best for a person.

There are times when these issues can be solved with a simple discussion. At other times, further consultation with trained professionals is required. For unresolved issues the next steps could include consultation with the appropriate manager, reviewing related policies, and/or referring to clinical practice guidelines. If help is required in applying ethical principles to the decision making process, a referral to the Ethics Committee may be initiated.

Ethics Committee Role

The Ethics Committee is involved in the following:

  • Education:
    The Committee provides a forum for ethical reflection and discussion. It initiates educational programs for the Committee, Board of Directors, management, staff, patients, families and members of the community.
  • Consultation: 
    The Committee acts as a confidential resource of reflection on ethical issues related to decision making processes and health care within the district.
  • Development: 
    The Committee is a confidential resource in policy development on ethical issues
  • Ethical Review of Research: 
    The Committee is the parent committee for the GASHA Research Ethics Board 
  • For more information, see this page.

Referrals to the Ethics Committee

Anyone ask for guidance or make a referral to the Ethics Committee. The Ethics Committee accepts referrals from physicians, staff, volunteers, families and patients about ethical issues or conflict around patient care.

Why would someone be referred to the Ethics Committee?:

There are a number of reasons why someone might need to contact the Ethics Committee. Examples of such reasons could include but are not limited to:

  • When life-sustaining treatments should be started continued or stopped
  • What family members and/or health care professionals should do if a person refuses treatment
  • Who should make health care decisions for a person when they are unable to speak for themselves
Ethical Issues:  Do You Ever Wonder What is the Right Thing to Do?

How to make a referral

Anyone wishing to make a referral to the GASHA Ethics Committee can do so by filling out an Ethics Committee Referral Form, which can be found on the GASHA website or by calling the Chair of the Ethics Committee, who can be reached at 867-4500 ext 4732.

If necessary, you may wish to have a preliminary discussion with the Chair or any member of the Committee to assist you with this referral.

Ethics Committee Referral Form

Ethics Committee Membership, Terms of Reference & Reporting Structure


  • Cathy Berkvens
  • Marie Brunelle 
  • Nancy Cameron
  • Barb Langille 
  • Lynn LeBlanc
  • Frances Chisholm
  • Verna MacDonald
  • Angus MacIsaac
  • Dr. Michael MacKenzie
  • Fr.Neil McKenna
  • Liz Millett
  • Matthew Murphy
  • Donna Samson
  • Dr. Ian Slayter
  • Rev.Peter Smith
  • Dr. Ann Sullivan
  • Dr.Will Sweet (Chair)
  • Leona Wilneff

Terms of Reference

Reporting Structure

The Ethics Committee is a Standing Committee of the GASHA Board of Directors.