Advisory Board Member

Jocelyn Downie, CM, FRSC, FCAHS, SJD

Jocelyn Downie is a University Research Professor in the Faculties of Law and Medicine at Dalhousie University. Her work on end-of-life law and policy includes: Special Advisor to the Canadian Senate Committee on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide; author of Dying Justice: A Case for the Decriminalizing Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide in Canada (winner of the Abbyann D. Lynch Medal in Bioethics from the Royal Society of Canada); and member of the Royal Society of Canada Expert Panel on End-of-Life Decision-Making, the plaintiffs’ legal team in Carter v. Canada (Attorney General), the Provincial-Territorial Expert Advisory Group on Physician-Assisted Dying, and the Canadian Council of Academies Expert Panel on Medical Assistance in Dying. She also runs the public information website End-of-Life Law and Policy in Canada ( in an effort to help the public, the media, health care providers, and policy-makers to understand their rights and responsibilities in relation to how people die. Jocelyn was named a member of the Order of Canada in part in recognition of her work advocating for high-quality, end-of-life care. She is also a Fellow of both the Royal Society of Canada and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.


Jocelyn’s board service has been varied, ranging from the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport, the Canadian Centre for Legal Innovation in Sexual Assault Response, the National Blood Safety Council, the Surdna Foundation, the Helen Andrus Benedict Foundation, and Andrus on Hudson (a caring organization fostering the wellbeing, dignity, and quality of life for elders on its campus and throughout Westchester County).


A dual citizen, Jocelyn lives most of the year in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada and spends as much time as she can in a log cabin in the woods of New Hampshire.


“Nevertheless, she persisted” *


[this is from Mitch McConnell but I’d rather not cite him. It became a catch phrase that I think doesn’t require attribution, and certainly not to him!]

“My career has been spent on ’empowering individuals to have control over their end-of-life experience.’ Respecting refusals of potentially life-prolonging  treatment… improving the quality and access to palliative care… permitting medical assistance in dying. All of these advances in quality end-of-life care required collaborative, interdisciplinary, and persistent advocacy whether in hospitals, courtrooms, or legislatures. All of this advocacy was grounded in the foundational goals of minimizing unwanted suffering and maximizing respect for autonomy. All in service of a life ended on one’s own terms, at a time and in a manner of one’s choosing.”