A Global Analysis
Edited by Thierry Vansweevelt and Nicola Glover-Thomas
Chapter 3: Re-examining the Canadian law of informed consent to medical treatment in the age of informatics
Canadian medical law orbits in a constellation of diverse legal influences spanning the course of the country’s legislative historical development. The provision of healthcare in Canada is characteristically decentralized, with 13 individual models of provincial and territorial healthcare policies that share overarching standards defined by federal statute. This chapter examines the laws of consent to medical treatment in Canada as well as related physician obligations, such as duties of disclosure and associated exceptions, medical liability and emerging challenges to informed consent. In this chapter, we present a comparative overview of the dominant legal scheme in both the common and civil law in Canada, approaching such review through the lens of developments in informatics as well as medical research and clinical practice. Our objective is to underscore how the laws of informed consent are shaped by the dynamic and ever-expanding medical field, and how this requires constant scrutiny guided by legal deference to scientific, medical, ethical, and administrative experts on technical matters.
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