Research Collaborations


This collaboration, co-led by Vanessa Gruben, Angela Cameron, and Cattapan is an initiative to expand knowledge about the state of surrogacy (and other reproductive technologies) in the Canadian context, and to inform law and policy based on the knowledge produced. This work has (so far) resulted in a co-edited collection published with Irwin Law in November 2018, in addition to public events, workshops, blog posts, and consultations with government. (This work is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, with generous support from the Centre for Health Law, Policy and Ethics, and the Shirley Greenberg Chair in Women and the Legal Profession).


Across Canada, legislation about the sale of tissues varies widely. While Quebec, Ontario and Alberta restrict the sale of plasma, most other jurisdictions have legislation that exempts blood and blood products—as well as reproductive tissues—from provisions on sale.  With the recent establishment of for-profit plasma banks in Saskatoon and Moncton, as well as calls to rescind federal prohibitions on the sale of sperm and eggs–new concerns about the expanding market in human tissues have emerged.

This project–funded by the James Kreppner Award from Canadian Blood Services— interrogates the origins of tissue exemptions in Canada, identifying the discourses and arguments that led to their passage in provincial and territorial legislatures. Through a study of relevant legislation, legislative debates, minutes of relevant Uniform Law Conferences, media reports, and existing scholarship, it provides a comparative, analysis of the impetus for the varied tissues exemptions. In doing so, it reveals the historic intent of these exemptions, their contemporary status, and their relevance to current concerns about commercialization, including recommendations for potential harmonization and reform. (with Barbara von Tigerstrom, Erin Nelson, and Rosanne Dawson)


The 1970 report of the Royal Commission on the Status of Women provided clear evidence of public engagement–reaching out to women across the country about their experiences, and ensuring that their positions were meaningfully heard in subsequent policy making. This project, led by Barbara Cameron (funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada) in collaboration with a number of feminist scholars, activists, and organizations, builds on that legacy by asking what the meaningful public engagement can and should look like for women in contemporary Canada.

The recent focus of this work has been on public engagement exercises on “ground up policymaking” with women from underrepresented groups in the Halifax region. (with Alexandra Dobrowolsky, Tammy Findlay, and April Mandrona)