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Maureen McTeer

Expert on Ethics, Genetics and Law

Maureen McTeer is a leading expert in one of the most significant frontiers to impact society – the balance between science and ethics.  This field is fundamental to the future of life as we know it.  It affects families, government, science, education and humanity as a whole.

Ottawa, ON, Canada


Being Human & Medical Decision-Making in the 21st Century
The greater the medical advances, the tougher the choices we are forced to make. This series of speeches addresses some of the key issues from a legal, social and ethical vantage point.  This is an excellent speech and can be a keynote at any conference as it is a “think piece” which can be modified slightly to fit most groups.  McTeer’s presentations explore the future of the human race in relation to advances in science and technology. She points out the ethical questions that arise as science forges ahead.

Tough Choices: Keeping Control at the End of Life
As a lawyer, university lecturer and health law expert, Maureen McTeer has researched the issues surrounding the end of life. She has advised many people about how best to keep control of their medical and personal decision-making at the end of their life. In clear and concise language, often using examples and case scenarios from existing case law, she highlights the interaction between law, professional responsibility and human emotion, stimulating informed public discussion and debate in her audiences.

Using plain language, McTeer provides an educated viewpoint on genetic research and encourages audiences to participate in the discussions that are arising as genetic technology plays an increasingly greater role in society. Addressing issues like should the deaf be able to use genetic testing to ensure their children are deaf and not hearing? What are the issues here? Is this discrimination in reverse? What are the children’s interests here? Are there lessons we can learn here from other cases – say the Jehovah Witnesses and their refusal of medical treatments for their children.

Women’s Health and Human Rights
Discussing women’s health in the context of sustainable development policies and enlarge on this to discuss the advent of micro-credit as a financial engine to harness the innovative and entrepreneurial capacity of women in the developing world.  The ambiguity of Canadians towards defending “family values” and paying to help the infertile or sterile have genetically related offspring is startling. Is it just about religious intolerance or is it about money and the health care system?

  • I was very impressed with her,…When they read her list of accomplishments I thought, holy smokes. And yet she was so down to Earth.

    - Participant, Osteoporosis Canada
  • McTeer's honest look into her own life and that of being a public figure is interesting and potentially instructive - especially for young women who have never known a world without feminism and equality.

    - Calgary Herald

Summary Profile

Maureen McTeer is Canada’s foremost expert on issues of science, ethics and public policy. This complex and intriguing field impacts all aspects of life – beginning with how life is created, to the advancement of health through medicine and scientific research, to the laws that govern us during the final stages of life.  It influences individuals, families, governments, educators and society as a whole. McTeer is also the accomplished wife of one of Canada’s most dedicated politicians, former prime minister Joe Clark. She spent years in the public eye, inciting controversy when she kept her maiden name and continued to pursue her own career. McTeer has worn many hats in her life, as a lawyer, mother, author, activist, parliamentary candidate and volunteer. Her rich life experiences combine to weave a fascinating story that is both moving and revelatory. In 2012, McTeer co-chaired the National Expert Commission of the Canadian Nurses Association.  The Commission released a report titled A Nursing Call to Action: The health of our Nation, the future of our health system. This comprehensive Report and its supporting research should guide policy makers and advocates for a strong and innovative health care system in Canada. In a voice that is as entertaining, warm and funny as it is inspiring and insightful, McTeer outlines the struggles and triumphs of what it means to work for justice and for equity, and to be her own woman in an era of extremely mixed messages. Highlights

  • Founding board member, Ottawa Women’s Health Council
  • Chair, Shirley E. Greenberg Women’s Health Centre Advisory Board
  • Spokesperson, Osteoporosis Society of Canada
  • Fluent in English and French
  • the Canadian representative of the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood, working on the Millennium Development Goals as part of the G-8 agenda in Canada for June 2010