The Health Law Institute is widely recognized for the quality and impact of its research. Numerous grants, contracts, and awards have been received by Institute members, enabling the Institute to focus on topics such as research involving humans, end of life treatment policy and practice, patient safety, privacy and confidentiality of health information, and public health emergencies.

A Sample of our Research Projects:


Academic Participation in Social Justice Organizing

The MacEachen Institute for Public Policy and Governance and Dalhousie’s Health Law Institute hosted a targeted workshop on November 18, 2021 to discuss community academic partnerships formed to advance disability policy reform. The goal was to bring together a small group of people from the university and the wider disability advocacy community to discuss how health and disability research can contribute to social justice movements, with a focus on how partnerships established in this context may be leveraged to inform international human rights l aw monitoring and reporting processes affecting people with disabilities. This Briefing Note summarizes the discussions that took place and identifies recommendations. Briefing Note

Equity in Sport

Sport is an important element of culture that provides people with opportunities for social interaction, and has been characterized as a form of positive social capital. However, sport has a long history of inhumane treatment of athletes.  The ‘Inclusiveness in Sport Roundtable’, held by the HLI on 12 October 2018, resulted in the development of the Statement of Values and Actions on Gender Inclusivity, which is intended to influence the conduct of sport and club decision-makers locally and beyond. Learn more about Equity in Sport [pdf-200KB]

End-of-Life Law and Policy

A website was recently updated and expanded to address end-of-life law and policy in Canada.  There's information about advance directives, potentially life-shortening symptom relief, the withholding and withdrawal of potentially life-sustaining treatment, terminal sedation, assisted suicide, and euthanasia. There are explanations of the law on various aspects of end-of-life care, answers to "Frequently Asked Questions," and links to related sites with other useful information. Visit the End-of-Life Law and Policy website.

Patient Safety

This Health Canada funded research project on governance and patient safety was conducted by a multidisciplinary team of researchers. The project examined how governments in Australia, Denmark, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States use law to improve patient safety in order to make recommendations for law reform and further research in Canada.
 Learn more about the Patient Safety project.

Collaborative Self-Regulation

The Nova Scotia Regulated Health Professions Network exists to improve health professional regulation in the Nova Scotia health care system through collaboration among health professional regulators, of which Nova Scotia (and other provinces) has more than twenty. The Network's Working Group on Collaborative Self-Regulation, which included the Department of Health, tackled the tension between a regulatory system that defines accountability largely within distinct professions and a health care system that increasingly depends on interprofessional collaboration. Learn more about the Collaborative Self-Regulation project.

Neuroethics NET

The field of neuroethics is an exciting new field at the intersection of neuroscience and ethics. The Neuroethics New Emerging Team (NET) was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction.