Liberal Arts and 55+ Program
Legal and Ethical Issues in End-of-Life Studies
Join us for three Saturdays as we explore a range of legal and ethical issues relating to death, dying and the end of life. These issues include the extent of the public interest in private death, and how that interest relates to laws about death and dying; legal, medical, ethical and cultural definitions and understandings of death, along with the impact of differences among those definitions; the sometimes difficult legal and ethical questions about who has the right to make end-of-life or life-ending decisions, including the withdrawal of life-prolonging treatment, non-treatment and MAiD (medical assistance in dying). We will explore laws pertaining to the dead. Who makes decisions about the dead? On what basis? We will also consider the extent and ability of the law to assist people to plan for death. To what extent should the dead be enabled, through law, to control the affairs of the living—for example, through legal vehicles such as trusts? At what point do the wishes of the dead impinge on the interests of the living? How does the law mediate that conflict?
Throughout the course we will be examining and discussing several important Canadian judicial decisions that have grappled with difficult questions related to death and dying, including Carter v. Canada, R. v. Rodriguez, Cuthbertson v. Rasouli, Bentley v. Maplewood Seniors Care Society and A.C. v. Manitoba (Director of Child and Family Services). We will engage with these issues directly, using the legal and ethical principles discussed to work through hypothetical “fact patterns” from different professional, personal and philosophical perspectives.
This course will be of interest to health professionals, legal professionals, policy-makers, researchers, gerontologists, social workers, educators and anyone with an interest in the relationship between law and society, the philosophical and ethical issues underlying the law relating to death, dying and end of life, and broader end-of-life studies and issues.learn more →
Courses and Events
The liberal arts provide you an opportunity to learn for the joy of learning, enhance your creativity, and sharpen your critical thinking skills. We offer a number of options for adults of any age to discover something new.
Registration for our spring courses is now open.
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Our program is in the news!
- Roundhouse Radio: Interview with Margaret Hall and Margaret Easton from our End of Life Studies courses
- Globe and Mail: A profile of instructor Barry Shell's passion for scents
- A Place for Mom: Our programs are featured in a blog post on educational programs for mature students
- SFU News: Former instructor and current student Thomas Poiker wins international science prize
- Vancouver Magazine and Ms. Magazine: Read about instructor Roberta Staley's new documentary on Afghanistan women, Mightier Than the Sword
- SFU News: Watch the video of our recent registration day
- Global BC: Meet instructor Robb Lucy from our Sharing Your Legacy Through Digital Storytelling course
- CBC News: Seniors line up for SFU courses in Vancouver
- Students share their experience at SFU:
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