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Ethics Services

Ethics is about determining the right thing to do when our decisions and actions have the potential to impact others in a meaningful way. Determining the right thing isn’t always easy in the context of healthcare delivery in a diverse community. Ethical uncertainty is common, and sometimes ethical disagreements arise.

The Ethics Service at Southlake assists stakeholders with decision making when ethical uncertainty or disagreement occurs. It is led by a qualified Health Care Ethicist, who has extensive training in ethical decision-making and facilitation.

What kinds of situations can the Ethics Service help with?

Any situation in which there is uncertainty or disagreement about the right thing to do. Some examples include:

  • My mother has advanced dementia and I don’t know if I should consent to a feeding tube or not.
  • I have a life-threatening illness and I would like to talk to someone about medical assistance in dying.
  • My wife is in the Intensive Care Unit and they keep asking about code status. What do I do?
  • My father is dying and my siblings can’t seem to agree about the treatment plan.
  • I’ve been told I’m not allowed to visit my mother because my sister has Power of Attorney and won’t let anyone else in the family visit


Anyone can contact the Ethics Service directly, or you can ask a member of your care team to do so.

T: 289-221-3711

Looking for information about advance care planning or advance directives? Please visit the Speak Up Ontario website.

Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) is a medical procedure involving the administration of medications to intentionally and safety end the life of an adult patient who meets strict legal criteria, at the request of the patient. Federal law (Bill C-14) governs who is eligible, and the processes under which MAID can be delivered to a patient.

Federal law governs who is eligible to receive MAID, and patients wishing to receive MAID must meet all criteria outlined. To learn more about the criteria, please see the Frequently Asked Questions below. 

MAID Resources


If you have questions, please discuss them with your physician or with a member of your care team. For more information about MAID, contact Southlake’s Ethics Services.

Please note that this information was referenced from The Ottawa Hospital.