Director, Ethics Services

Work Area: 
Ethics Network
Base Site: 
Hornby Street
Regular Full Time
Job Category: 
Management/Non Union
Patient Care Support
Acute Care Hospital


Reporting to the Vice President of Mission, Ethics & Spirituality, this director role is accountable for developing, planning, implementing and evaluating Ethics Services at Providence Health Care, one of Canada’s largest Catholic health care providers. The position has three core functions in providing support throughout the organization: consultation, education, and policy review. The Director of Ethics Services (The Director) is responsible for building organizational capacity for sound ethical decision-making by engaging physicians, staff, researchers, and volunteers in meaningful ways. The position also provides leadership on a regional and provincial level by participating on appropriate internal and external committees and task groups.


The Director possesses the following competencies that drive organizational success in identifying and resolving ethical issues:

Leadership: Defines a vision and facilitates, guides, and mentors individuals and groups towards the vision, while maintaining group cohesiveness, motivation, commitment and effectiveness.

Communication: Exceptional verbal and written communication intended for a variety of audiences.

Interpersonal Skills: Possesses excellent interpersonal skills to facilitate discussions, and mediate in ethical issues that often involve conflict between stakeholders.

Teaching: Capable of teaching and mentoring learners in all of the health professions. Capable of delivering effective presentations to small and large groups.

Resources Management: Manages human, capital, financial and information resources so that organizational objectives are achieved.

Time Management: Able to manage own time and delegate appropriately in a fast-paced work environment with competing and shifting demands.

Conceptual Skills: Identifies and analyses situations and problems such that viable solutions are found. Approaches tasks and problems such that total systems and strategies are taken into account.

Systems Thinking: Aware of the interdependence of organizational systems and stakeholders, and considers the whole in the formulation of solutions.

Team Focus: Strives to understand perspectives of team members, presents convincing point of view, and resolves conflicts.

Quality Improvement: Continuously identifies and implements improvements in work systems to ensure that the highest possible level of quality service is achieved.

Tolerance and Patience: An ability to tolerate diverse world views, and differences of opinion. Can work within situations that are morally ambiguous and may admit to more than one solution.

Project Management: An ability to plan large long-term projects, and implement projects in alignment with strategic direction of the organization.  

Additional Knowledge and Abilities: A deep appreciation and understanding of ethical issues that may arise in a Catholic health care setting, and a working knowledge of Catholic moral teaching and the Health Ethics Guide (3rd ed., 2012). The successful applicant will demonstrate a deep understanding of, and commitment to, Providence Health Care’s Mission, Vision, and Values.


Doctoral Degree in Ethics, Philosophy or Moral Theology, or a terminal degree in a vocation related to bioethics (medicine, nursing, law, social work, etc.) and a master’s level degree in bioethics. A clinical fellowship or traineeship is strongly recommended. At least five years’ direct experience in clinical ethics, or combined clinical, administrative and leadership roles in health care of at least 7 years.


The Director will oversee a team of at least one other ethicist, an administrative assistant, and at least one fellow. The successful candidate will oversee and execute the three core functions of an ethics service.

  1. Consultation on clinical and system level ethics issues. The Director:
    1. Will participate directly in formal ethics led consultations, and provide extemporaneous advice and support to health care providers, patients, residents and family members in PHC facilities.
    2. Will provide leadership and support for PHC related ethics committees (Elder Care, and Mental Health and Addictions Committees), and for the PHC Ethics Resource Forum (a group of leaders, clinicians, and community members that meets quarterly to discuss ethical issues in the organization).
    3. Policy Review. The Director:
      1. Will provide support to clinical services and programs in developing, implementing, and evaluating policies and practice guidelines.
      2. Will work closely with Risk Management, Patient Relations, and other key players in policy development.
      3. Education. The Director:
        1. Will provide education to clinicians, learners, and administrative staff through various formal and informal teaching modalities.
        2. Will continue to assist in planning and implementing innovative ethics education events such as noon-time lecture series (“Ethics for Lunch”), and online learning modules (“Case of the Month”).  
        3. Will assist in planning and carrying out educational events such as the annual PHC Ethics Conference, and the biennial 4-day Introduction to Health Care Ethics Seminar.
        4. Will continue to develop and implement an ethics fellowship program that trains the next generation of clinical ethicists.
        5. Research (Optional). Ability to conduct own research projects and provide support for the Providence Health Care Research Institute’s Research Ethics Board (REB), would be a valuable asset.