Joanna Erdman

Professor of Law; MacBain Chair in Health Law and Policy

Phone: 902-494-1016
Mailing Address: 
Room 327, Weldon Law Building, 6061 University Avenue
PO Box 15000 Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 4R2
Research Topics:
  • Health law and policy
  • Public law
  • Human rights
  • International and comparative law
  • Law and society
  • Sexuality and gender
  • Public health law


  • BA (Toronto)
  • JD (Toronto)
  • LLM (Harvard)

Bar admissions

  • Law Society of Ontario, 2005


Joanna N. Erdman is a Professor and the MacBain Chair in Health Law and Policy at the Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada. Joanna has acted as an intervener before various constitutional courts and international bodies. Joanna chairs the Global Health Advisory Committee of the Public Health Program, and serves on the advisory board of the Women’s Rights Program, Open Society Foundations. She is a past chair of World Health Organization’s Department of Reproductive Health and Research Gender and Rights Advisory Panel. She holds a JD from the University of Toronto and an LLM from Harvard Law School, and completed a fellowship at Yale Law School.


Joanna’s research focuses on sexual and reproductive health law in a transnational context.


  • LAWS 1003: Fundamentals of Public Law 
  • LAWS 2132: Health Law 
  • LAWS 2167: Health Law Placement 
  • LAWS 2297: International Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Practicum



  • 2017-2020: Canadian Institutes of Health Research Project Grant. Harm reduction: Public health reasoning in law and public policy in relation to morally controversial behaviours (co-investigator). 
  • 2017-2020: Social Science & Humanities Research Council of Canada Insight Grant. Harm reduction, public policy, and moral controversy: principle and practice (co-investigator).
  • 2016: Foundation for Legal Research Grant. Canadian Health Law and Policy, 5th ed (co-investigator).


Selected awards & honours

  • 2013 & 2015: Hanna & Harold Barnett Award in Teaching First Year Law, Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University

Selected publications

  • JN Erdman, ed. Canadian Health Law and Policy, 5th ed. (Toronto: LexisNexis Canada, 2017) (with Gruben V. & Nelson E., eds.).
  • JN Erdman, ed. Abortion Law in Transnational Perspective: Cases and Controversies (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014) (with Cook R.J. and Dickens B.M., eds.).
  • JN Erdman, K Jelinska & S Yanow, “Understandings of self-managed abortion as health inequity, harm reduction and social change,” (2018) 26.54 Reproductive Health Matters 13-19.
  • JN Erdman. “Constitutionalizing Abortion Rights in Canada” (2018) 49.1 Ottawa Law Review 221-261.
  • JN Erdman. “Theorizing Time in Abortion Law and Human Rights” (2017) 19.1 Health and Human Rights Journal 29-40.

Service & activity

  • Chair, Global Health Advisory Committee, Public Health Program, Open Society Foundations (2016-)
  • Member, Advisory Board, Women's Rights Program, Open Society Foundations (2014-) 
  • Member, Law Program Committee, Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (National) (2015-) 
  • Legal and Human Rights Seat, Steering Committee, Inroads: International Network for the Reduction of Abortion
  • Discrimination and Stigma (2018-) Member, Research Protocol Review Panel, Reproductive Health and Research Department, World Health Organization (2017-)