Through its Ethics Committee, St. Joseph’s Health Centre Guelph (SJHCG) is committed to assisting the SJHCG community in developing an understanding of ethical issues and enhancing decision-making skills. This is achieved by providing education on various topics and timely consultation to staff and physicians on the process of dealing with specific ethical concerns.

Committee membership includes interdisciplinary staff members that represent diverse professional groups and service areas. A Bioethicist for the St. Joseph’s Health System is actively involved with the committee and ethics consultations.

SJHCG follows the Y-O-D-A model as its ethical decision making framework.

Ethical Dilemma Examples:

  • When should life-sustaining measures such as feeding tubes be started, continued, or stopped?
  • What should family members and healthcare professionals do if a patient refuses treatment that promises to be medically helpful? Do patients have the right to make ‘bad’ choices?
  • Who should make health care decisions for a patient when they are unable to communicate or decide themselves? What is the basis for these difficult decisions?
  • Should an ‘at risk’ patient be allowed to return home if they want to? What if harm befalls them upon their return home?

As part of the committee’s goal to build capacity and provide education and resources, below are a series of pamphlets that have been developed to provide helpful information related to decision making:

Advance Care Planning

Capacity Assessment

Informed Consent to Treatment

Power of Attorney for Personal Care

Substitute Decision Making


To learn more about SJHCG’s Ethics Committee and support, please call 519-824-6000 ext. 4315 or email