Ethics NSHA

Ethics NSHA delivers comprehensive ethics support services within the Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA). It consists of three interconnected components: Local Ethics Teams, Zone Ethics Committees and the Ethics Leads Group:

  • Local Ethics Teams consist of ethics ‘point persons’ who identify and respond to local ethics needs in a variety of geographic areas and health care facilities/centers throughout the province. Their particular focus is on: 1) direct engagement in clinical ethics activities, and 2) the identification of local ethics education needs.
  • Zone Ethics Committees directly engage in, and provide oversight to, all health care ethics activities within their zone. Their particular emphases are: 1) the coordination of, and provision of support to, the clinical ethics activities of their zone’s Local Ethics Teams, and 2) the coordination and implementation of ethics education activities with their zone. In addition, they perform organizational ethics consultations that are of particular relevance to their zone (and not of relevance to all health authority zones), and they apply a ‘zonal lens’ to the development and review of authority-wide health policies with strong ethics elements.
  • The Ethics Leads Group consists of the chairs (or chair-designates) of the four Zone Ethics Committees and members of the Dalhousie University Department of Bioethics Ethics Collaborations Team. The Ethics Leads Group provides guidance and oversight to all of Ethics NSHA’s activities and is directly engaged in: 1) the performance of organizational ethics consultations that arise and are of relevance to the whole health authority, and 2) the development and review of authority-wide health policies with strong ethics dimensions. In addition, the Ethics Leads Group identifies emerging, key health care ethics themes and trends that are brought to the attention of NSHA’s Executive. The Ethics Leads Group reports directly to the NSHA Vice-President for Quality, Systems Performance and Transformation, and it is accountable to the NSHA Board of Directors.

Ethics NSHA offers the following four types of ethics consultation / support. There is an Ethics NSHA administrative support person within each zone who assists individuals in making requests for ethics consultation/support. The identity and contact information of the relevant administrative support person is indicated at the top of the request forms.

Clinical Ethics Consultation 

  • Request for assistance in answering an ethics-related question(s) or addressing a health care ethics matter(s) that relates directly to the current or recent treatment of a specific patient.

Ethics Education 

  • Request for assistance in the preparation and/or delivery of an educational session where the topic/subject-area has a health care ethics element(s).

Policy Development and Review 

  • Request for assistance in the development or review of a health policy that has a health care ethics element(s).

Organizational Ethics Consultation 

  • Request for assistance in answering an ethics-related question(s) or addressing an ethics-related organizational matter(s) that pertains to the whole health authority or one of its zones/programs.

The Nova Scotia Health Care Network (NSHEN)  provides primary ethics education support to Ethics NSHA through: 1) the development and delivery of targeted educational sessions and workshops within the zones, and 2) the development of a variety of ethics educational materials and tools for use by health care providers, administrators, leaders and those who participate in ethics support activities.

The Ethics Collaborations Team, consisting of four faculty members of the Department of Bioethics in the Dalhousie University Faculty of Medicine, provides advanced ethics leadership and support to all components and operations of Ethics NSHA.

If you are looking for research ethics information, info about the Research Ethics Board (REB) and/or support, please contact NSHA Research Ethics