Thursday, May 2, 2019 - 2:00pm to 4:30pm
Solarium (Room FA2), Falconer Hall, 84 Queen's Park

Please join us for this special final seminar of the academic year, a roundtable discussion with experts in the area of mental health and medical assistance in dying.  A reception will follow the seminar to recognize the generous support of the series by the Seeman Family.

This program is eligible for up to 2 Substantive Hours towards the LSO CPD requirements

Expert Round Table on Medical Assistance in Dying in the Context of Mental Health and Dementia

Date: Thursday May 2, 2019

Time: 2 pm - 4 pm, Reception to follow 4:15 pm - 6 pm 

Location: Falconer Hall, 84 Queens Park, Solarium

Watch the video of this seminar

Canadians who have a grievous and irremediable medical condition that causes unbearable suffering can request that their life be terminated through Medical Assistance in Dying [MAID], but only when they are in an advanced state of irreversible decline and their death is reasonably foreseeable. The law’s exclusion of MAID for mental health conditions and the prohibition to provide MAID on the basis of advance requests in situations of dementia continues to be debated. Reports of the Council of Canadian Academies Expert Panel on MAID, recently tabled in parliament, analyze the limited international evidence in this area. At this roundtable, experts in psychiatry, ethics, nursing, law and medicine, including several members of the CCA Expert Panel, will explore with the audience the challenges of introducing MAID in this context, through a discussion of different case scenarios based on real cases from the few jurisdictions that allow MAID in these circumstances. Join us for this timely conversation with:

K. Sonu Gaind, MD, FRCP(C), FCPA, Chief of Psychiatry, Humber River Hospital; Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto Scott Y.H. Kim, Senior Investigator, Department of Bioethics, National Institutes of Health

Scott Y.H. Kim, MD, PhD, Senior Investigator, Department of Bioethics, National Institutes of Health

Trudo Lemmens, LicJur, LLM (spec. bioethics), DCL, Professor and Scholl Chair in Health Law and Policy, Faculty of Law & Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto

Marcia Sokolowski, C.Psych., PhD(Phil), Director of Ethics, Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care

Donna E. Stewart, CM, MD, FRCPC, University Professor, University of Toronto & University Health Network Centre for Mental Health

Alison Thompson, PhD, Associate Professor, Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy & Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto

Moderator: Harvey Schipper, BASc(Eng), MD, FRCP(C), Professor of Medicine & Adjunct Professor of Law, University of Toronto

The event is free but registration is required. Please RSVP to

See the event poster (PDF)

Speaker biographies

K. Sonu Gaind

K. Sonu GaindDr. Gaind (MD, FRCP(C), FCPA) is an Associate Professor with the University of Toronto Department of Psychiatry and Chief of Psychiatry/Medical Director of Mental Health at Humber River Hospital. Prior to joining Humber River in 2014 he worked as a psycho-oncology consultant at Princess Margaret Hospital for nearly a decade and a half.

Dr. Gaind is co-Director of the Adult Psychiatry & Health Systems Division at the University of Toronto, amongst the largest divisions in the Department of Psychiatry, and in July will be joining U of T Governing Council as a University Governor. He serves on the Board and Executive of the Canadian Psychiatric Association (CPA), is an Executive Member and Medical Practice & Tariff Chair of the Ontario Medical Association Section (OMA) on Psychiatry and Chair of the OMA Relativity Advisory Committee, and a Past-President of both the Ontario Psychiatric Association and PAIRO. He represented Canada internationally from 2015 to 2016 during his tenure as President of the Canadian Psychiatric Association (and much more distantly in high school represented the country on Canada’s two first International Physics Olympiad teams!), in October 2017 he was elected by the World Psychiatric Association (WPA) Assembly in Berlin to the Board of the WPA, and following the 2019 American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting he will be taking on the role of Vice-Chair of the APA Council on International Psychiatry.

Dr. Gaind has been actively involved in health policy development and advocacy since residency, and has been widely recognized with numerous regional, provincial and national awards for his teaching, advocacy and impact. He has helped form health policy and engaged medical colleagues across the province and country to be more aware of and advocate against policies that stigmatize and discriminate against the mentally ill.

As Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) policies have been evolving in Canada, Dr. Gaind has testified in front of the Federal External Panel on Options for a Legislative Response to Carter v. Canada, the Provincial-Territorial Expert Advisory Group on Physician-Assisted Dying, the Special Joint Commons/Senate Committee on Physician-Assisted Dying, and the Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs on issues relevant to mental health and mental illness that need to be considered in the MAiD framework. Dr. Gaind chaired the time-limited Canadian Psychiatric Association Task Force on Assisted Dying, was selected to sit on the Council of Canadian Academies Expert Panel on Mental Disorders and Assisted Dying, and has spoken across the country and internationally on the subject.

Scott Y.H. Kim

Scott Y.H. KimScott Kim is a Senior Investigator in the Department of Bioethics, National Institutes of Health.  Dr. Kim received his MD from Harvard and PhD in moral philosophy (on Kantian ethics) from the University of Chicago, and trained in adult psychiatry at the Massachusetts General Hospital.

Dr. Kim combines philosophical, clinical, and empirical research approaches to address a variety of ethical issues (ethical issues in pragmatic clinical trials, assessment of decision-making capacity, surrogate consent for incapacitated patients, theory and practice of informed consent, and physician assisted death). He is especially interested in the interface between psychiatry and euthanasia/assisted suicide as the practice is actually implemented in Belgium and the Netherlands, and its implications for the U.S. and Canada. Dr. Kim’s work has been supported by the NIMH, NINDS, NIA, NHGRI, Michael J. Fox Foundation, American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry, and the Greenwall Foundation. His work has appeared in New England Journal of Medicine, Nature, JAMA, and other key journals.  His book Evaluation of Capacity to Consent to Treatment and Research (Oxford, 2010) was recently translated into Japanese.

He served on the Council of Canadian Academies Expert Panel on Medical Assistance in Dying.  More information can be found at

Trudo Lemmens

Trudo LemmensTrudo Lemmens (LicJur, LLM, DCL) is Professor and Scholl Chair in Health Law and Policy at the Faculty of Law of the University of Toronto, with cross appointments in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health and the Joint Centre for Bioethics. His publications include the co-edited volumes Law and Ethics in Biomedical Research: Regulation, Conflict of Interest, and Liability and Regulating Creation: Law, Ethics and Policy of Assisted Human Reproduction, as well as more than 100 chapters and articles in national and international law, policy, science, medicine and bioethics journals. He has testified before Parliamentary Committees on medical assistance in dying and he was a member of the expert panel on “advance requests for medical assistance in dying” of the Council of Canadian Academies. He has been a visiting professor or member at various international institutions, in Argentina (Universidad Torcuato di Tella), Belgium (KULeuven), Colombia (Universidad Pontificia Xaveriana), New Zealand (University of Otago), the UK (Oxford HeLEX Centre), and the USA (Institute for Advanced Study). In recent years, he taught courses on Health Law and Bioethics, Mental Health and the Law, Pharmaceutical Governance, Research Ethics, Human Rights and Health: Challenges in Comparative Perspective, and Legal and Ethical Issues at the End of Life.

He can be found on twitter @TrudoLemmens

Marcia Sokolowski

Marcia SokolowskiDr. Marcia Sokolowski, C.Psych., PhD(Phil), is the Co-Director of Ethics at Baycrest Health Sciences and Assistant  Professor  in the Department of Medicine, University of Toronto.  She is registered member of the College of Psychologists of Ontario and has a doctorate of philosophy from Waterloo University.  

She is author of the book “Dementia and the Advance Directive: Lessons from the Bedside” published by Springer, 2018.  

Her bioethics interests  include medical assistance in dying, end of life care, advance care planning, narrative medicine, capacity and consent and personhood issues.

Donna E. Stewart

Donna StewartDr. Donna Stewart, CM, MD, FRCPC, is the Inaugural Chair of Women’s Health at University Health Network and University of Toronto. She is a University Professor at University of Toronto and is appointed in the Faculty of Medicine in the Departments of Psychiatry, Obstetrics/Gynecology, Medicine, Anaesthesia, Family and Community Medicine, and Surgery. She is a Senior Scientist at Toronto General Hospital Research Institute. She is the recipient of over 100 peer-reviewed scientific research grants and has published over 370 scientific articles in peer-reviewed journals and 5 books.

Dr Stewart has won numerous awards for research and leadership and is an advisor on women’s health to the World Health Organization. She is a current member of the World Psychiatric Association (WPA) Ethics and Review Committee, past-Chair of the Section of Women’s Mental Health. She has conducted over 100 MAID assessments. She is a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American and Canadian Psychiatric Associations and an Honorary Fellow of the WPA. In 2014 she was made a member of the Order of Canada-the country’s highest civilian honour.

Alison Thompson

Alison ThompsonAlison Thompson, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy and Dalla Lana School of Public Health and a member of the University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics. Her interdisciplinary research is located at the intersection of critical sociology and philosophy, within the field of public health ethics.

A major theme of her research is how scientific validity is used to confer moral legitimacy in health policy, in ways which lead to the marginalization of public perceptions, views and understandings. Her research program focuses on public health ethics, and in particular, social and ethical issues to do with infectious diseases and the pharmaceuticals used to deal with them. In addition, she has developed a program of research on social and philosophical understandings of suffering and their relation to the practice of medical assistance in dying.

Harvey Schipper

Harvey SchipperDr. Schipper, BASc(Eng), MD, FRCP(C), is both an engineer and a physician who has combined disciplines to bring innovation to the health and life sciences sector from research bench, to the bedside and to public policy. His career has bridged five continents as cancer specialist, innovator, health systems designer, businessman and advisor to government, academe and the corporate sector.  As a physician he was Professor of Medicine and Director of the Regional Cancer Care system in Manitoba, and established the WHO Collaborating Centre for Quality of Life Research in Cancer, which catalyzed patient-centred outcome research on a global basis. He has helped design cancer programs around the world, and served as a Corporate Vice-President of MDS in a strategic portfolio.  He is currently Professor of Medicine, and Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Toronto.

His broad experience over more than 35 years has ranged from the bench to the bedside, to national and international health systems, with a particular focus on health care delivery and policy.  During his tenure at MDS he was deeply involved in health venture capital allocation, and has advised start-ups and established ventures ever since.  His particular skill has been setting each initiative in the broad context of the health care environment. His work with governments and large health systems focuses on future orientation and transformation.

Out of a long-standing interest in the interface of medicine, law and public policy, he has played a substantive role in critical issues.  These include the tainted blood crisis, where he was a Founding Director of Canadian Blood Services, and recently in the deliberations around ‘assisted dying’, as a member of the Council of Canadian Academies Expert Panel on Medical Assistance in Dying.

Watch the video of the seminar