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What We Do

What is the Ethics Centre?

The Ethics Centre (EC) at Sunnybrook coordinates and provides ethics consultation services as well as ethics education throughout the hospital. The EC promotes ethics related activities designed to enhance ethics knowledge and skills in decision-making from bedside to boardroom.

 Read our 2010-2011 Annual Report and read the executive summary of our 2010-2011 Annual Report

Read the executive summary of our 2009-2010 Annual Report

What is an Ethics Consultation?

The EC offers consultation support to staff, patients and their families confronted by difficult ethical or moral challenges found in health care. Our consultative services are offered in a supportive and advisory manner recognizing that treatment decisions are ultimately the responsibility of the treatment team in collaboration with the capable patient’s wishes and/or the patient’s substitute decision-maker(s). Ethical challenges can be encountered in providing quality in end of life care, substitute decision-making, resolving conflicts, as well as in determining the role of cultural or religious values in patient care decisions.

How do I arrange a consultation?

Any member of the medical team, hospital staff, patients, and patient families can make a confidential request for ethics consultation services. After receiving a request, the ethicist will assess whether a clinical ethics consult is needed, or whether a referral to a more appropriate resource within the hospital or within the community is required. Ethics consultations remain confidential unless there is any threat of harm or abuse to a patient, staff or family member.

Who do I call if I have a concern about an ethical issue?

The EC at 416-480-4818 or

Who do I call if I am concerned with the quality of care in the hospital?

The Office of the Patient Experience at 416-480-4940

If I am having trouble communicating with Sunnybrook staff who do I contact?

The Office of the Patient Experience at 416-480-4940


The Ethics Centre helps to coordinate and provide ethics education throughout Sunnybrook in the form of unit based rounds, in-service workshops, and formal hospital-wide presentations. Many of these educational activities are done in collaboration with other departments and hospital services, such as medical education. We also offer members of the Ethics Advisory Groups educational opportunities to enhance ethics knowledge and skill in decision-making. We also supervise graduate students and clinical ethics fellows in collaboration with the Joint Centre for Bioethics and present educational seminars to its members and students.