Journal of Bioethical Inquiry

, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp 351–365 | Cite as

Policy Design for Human Embryo Research in Canada: An Analysis (Part 2 of 2)

  • Françoise Baylis
  • Matthew Herder


This article is the second in a two-part review of policy design for human embryo research in Canada. In the first article in 6(1) of the JBI, we explain how this area of research is circumscribed by law promulgated by the federal Parliament and by guidelines adopted by the Tri-Agencies, and we provide a chronological description of relevant policy initiatives and outcomes related to these two policy instruments, with particular attention to the repeated efforts at public consultation. This second article analyses the history of policy design for human embryo research in Canada, applying a typology of modes of public consultation developed by Eric Montpetit to better understand the various episodes of policy design and their corresponding outcomes. On this basis, we suggest that the degree to which the views of Canadian residents and citizens on human embryo research have been solicited as part of the policy-making process has diminished significantly over time. We also suggest that this diminished participation is likely to continue given the presence of powerful interest groups and policy communities “speaking for” Canadians. This raises interesting questions about the legitimacy of future policy initiatives for human embryo research in Canada.


Embryos Stem cells Research Policy Public consultation 



Thanks are owed to Eric Montpetit and two anonymous reviewers for comments on an earlier draft.

Competing interests

Françoise Baylis was a member of the CIHR ad hoc Working Group on Stem Cell Research from November 2000 to December 2001 and a member of the CIHR Governing Council from January 2002 to December 2004. She was a Principal Investigator funded by the Stem Cell Network from January 2002 to December 2005. Currently she is a member of the Board of Directors of Assisted Human Reproduction Canada. The views expressed herein are her own.

Funding support

This work is supported by a research grant from the Australian Research Council (to Susan Dodds) and a salary award from the Canada Research Chairs program (to Françoise Baylis).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dalhousie UniversityNovel Tech EthicsHalifaxCanada
  2. 2.School of LawLoyola University ChicagoChicagoUSA

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