Jocelyn Downie

Professor Emeritus Faculties of Law and Medicine; Adjunct Professor, Australian Centre for Health Law Research - QUT

Phone: 902-494-6883
Mailing Address: 
Room 319, Weldon Law Building, 6061 University Avenue
PO Box 15000 Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 4R2
Research Topics:
  • Public policy and law
  • Health law
  • Health care ethics
  • Health policy
  • Legal ethics
  • End-of-life law


  • BA Philosophy (Queen's University)
  • MA Philosophy (Queen's University)
  • MLitt Philosophy (The University of Cambridge)
  • LLB (The University of Toronto)
  • LLM (The University of Michigan)
  • SJD (The University of Michigan)

Bar admission

Nova Scotia, 2000


Jocelyn Downie teaches health care ethics and law as well as law and public policy in the law school.

  • LAWS 2115: Health Care Ethics and the Law 
  • LAWS 2278 Law and Public Policy in Practice
  • LAWS 2302 Case Studies in Public Policy and Law
  • LAWS 2304 From Legal Research to Public Policy Impact

Areas of supervision: Health care law, policy, and ethics

Research interests

Jocelyn Downie works at the intersection of health care ethics, law, and policy. She has a particular interest in end-of-life law care.

Selected awards & honours

  • Order of Canada (2018)
  • President's Research Excellence Award - Research Impact (2018)
  • The Canadian Academy of Health Sciences Scientific Lecture Award (2016)
  • Trudeau Fellow (2015)
  • Dalhousie University Research Professor
  • CIHR Barer-Flood Prize for Health Services and Policy Research
  • Fellow, Royal Society of Canada
  • Fellow, Canadian Academy of Health Sciences
  • Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy (2003–13)

Recent publications

  • Jocelyn Downie, “The Value of a Feminist Approach in the Ethics of End of Life Care” in Vikki Entwistle and Wendy Rogers , eds., Routledge Handbook of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics (Abingdon: Routledge, forthcoming 2022). 
  • Ben White, Lindy Willmott, Katrine Del Villar, Jayne Hewitt, Eliana Close, Laura Ley Greaves, James Cameron, Rebecca Meehan, Jocelyn Downie, “Who is Eligible for Voluntary Assisted Dying” Nine Medical Conditions Assessed Against Five Legal Frameworks” (2022) 45:1 UNSW Law Journal 401-444.
  • “From Rodriguez to Carter to Bill C-14: Lessons learned from Canada’s journey to legal medical assistance in dying” Jocelyn Downie and Kate Scallion, Ben While and Lindy Willmott, eds., International Perspectives on End-of-Life Reform: Politics, Persuasion and Persistence (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021). 
  • Gina Bravo, Lieve Van den Block, Jocelyn Downie, Marcel Arcand, and Lise Trottier, “Attitudes toward withholding antibiotics from people with dementia lacking decisional capacity: findings from a survey of Canadian stakeholders” (2021) 22:119 BMC Med Ethics
  • Udo Schuklenk and Jocelyn Downie, “Social determinants of health and slippery slopes in assisted dying debates: Lessons from Canada” (2021) Journal of Medical Ethics.
  • Mona Gupta, Jocelyn Downie, Samuel Blouin, and Stefano Cavalli, “Assistance in Dying: A Comparative Look at Legal Definitions” (2021) Death Studies
  • Ben White, Lindy Willmott, Eliana Close, and Jocelyn Downie, “Legislative Options to Address Institutional Objections to Voluntary Assisted Dying in Australia” (2021) 3 UNSW Law Journal Forum 1-19. 
  • Ben White, Lindy Willmott, Jocelyn Downie, Andrew Geddis, and Colin Gavaghan, “Assisted dying and evidence-based law-making: a critical analysis of an article’s role in New Zealand’s referendum” (2020) 133:1520 New Zealand Medical Journal 83-90. 
  • Adeline Iftene and Jocelyn Downie, “End-of-Life Care for Federally Incarcerated Individuals in Canada” (2020) 14:1 McGill Journal of Law and Health 1-50. 

Current service & activity

  • Member, Board of Directors, Canadian Centre for Legal Innovation in Sexual Assault Response 
  • Member, Board of Directors, Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport
  • Member, Board of Directors, Andrus on Hudson, New York
  • Member, Board of Directors, Helen Andrus Benedict Foundation