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Presentation - How To (and Why) Analyze the Ethics of Paternalistic Policies in Public Health

NCCHPP & NCCMT Webinar - Priority-setting in Public Health: Evidence and Ethics in Decision-making
Click to watch and listen to the recording of the webinar.

NCCHPP & NCCID Webinar - Public Health Ethics: A Case in Infectious Disease Prevention and Control
Click to watch and listen to the recording of the webinar.

NCCHPP & NCCEH Webinar - Public Health Ethics: A Case in Environmental Health,
Click to watch and listen to the recording of the webinar.

Repertoire - Ethics Frameworks for Public Health 

Utilitarianism in Public Health
 1.3 MB

'Principlism' and Frameworks in Public Health Ethics
 1.2 MB

Introduction to Public Health Ethics 3: Frameworks for Public Health Ethics
 772 K

An Introduction to the Ethical Implications of Economic Evaluations for Healthy Public Policy

Bulletin on what's new in public health ethics [in French, with resources in Fr/En]. From the Public health ethics committee secretariat (Institut national de santé publique du Québec).

Ethics and public health: Forging a strong relationship. By Callahan, D. & Jennings, B. (2002). In the American Journal of Public Health, 92(2), 169-76. On the site of PubMed Central.

Population Health Ethics: Annotated Bibliography. By Greenwood, H.L. and Edwards, N. (2009). On the site of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research – Institute of Population and Public Health (CIHR-IPPH).

Re-visioning Public Health Ethics: A Relational Perspective. By Kenny, N., Sherwin, S. and Baylis, F. (2010). Can J Public Health 2010; 101(1) 9-11. On the site of the Canadian Journal of Public Health.

The contribution of ethics to public health. By Coleman, C.H. et al. (2008). In the Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 86 (8). On the site of the World Health Organization.

Référentiel de valeurs pour soutenir l'analyse éthique des actions en santé publique. By Filitrault, F., Désy, M. and Leclerc, B. (2015). On the site of l'Institut national de santé publique du Québec. (In French only).

Éthique et santé publique. Enjeux, valeurs et normativité. By Massé, R. (2003). Québec : Les Presses de l'Université Laval. (In French only).

Olivier Bellefleur

Michael Keeling


The Principle of Reciprocity: How Can it Inform Public Health and Healthy Public Policies?
This document outlines the principle of reciprocity as it may be applied in the ethics of public health.
Published in October 2014.  DescriptionDownload  1.33 MB

Whether considered as a value or formulated as a principle to guide actions, reciprocity is commonly appealed to in public health to help ensure that certain obligations due to others - or to be expected from others - may be taken into account and acted upon by public authorities or by individuals. It is one of the values commonly considered when applying an ethical lens to decisions and actions linked to public health or healthy public policies. Despite its common use, it is not always clear how reciprocity is to be understood in one or another setting. It is our goal to render the notion of reciprocity more accessible so that it can be put to use to inform thinking and influence policies and actions. For this reason, we have focused on both theory and practice in this paper, which unfolds as follows:

  • Part 1 - What is reciprocity?
  • Part 2 - How has the principle of reciprocity been used in public health?
  • Part 3 - The dimensions of reciprocity
  • Part 4 - Reciprocity and cooperation, justice, social capital and the moral economy
  • Part 5 - Putting ideas about reciprocity into practice: cases, questions, application.

A two-page summary version, which captures some of the main dimensions of reciprocity and offers some questions for reflection to help bring the concept into practice, is available here.

The Principle of Reciprocity: How Can it Inform Public Health and Healthy Public Policies?
16 pages
 1.33 MB
Image - cover page of the document - click to download 


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The production of the NCCHPP website has been made possible through a financial contribution from the Public Health Agency of Canada.