About 2018-01-22T15:58:19+00:00


Vision Statement

Research and Scholarship for an Informed Social Response to Human Life Questions

Mission Statement

The deVeber Institute for Bioethics and Social Research conducts and disseminates research on topics connected to human life in its biological, social and ethical dimensions. These topics are selected for study depending on emerging medical, technological and social developments. In undertaking this work the Institute believes that a sense of the inherent value and dignity of human life and of the human person as an end and not a means is a foundational perspective to bring to bear on its work.

The Institute’s research may be original or may consist of reviews of existing literature. In each case the Institute’s work is to be of the highest academic quality, though accessible to the general public.

The Institute conducts two kinds of research: original research and reviews of existing literature.

While our research is of high academic quality and intended for professionals and students alike, the research is written in plain language to be accessible to the general public.

If you are looking for information on a particular subject, please contact us.

Our research can be found published in books and scholarly journals, as well as in electronic format on the Internet and in the popular media.

The Institute was founded in 1982 and since that time has published studies on the following subjects:

  • the medical and psychological consequences of induced abortion for women’s health.
  • the relationship between legal and illegal abortion rates.
  • the changing goals of classroom-based sex education.
  • child-abuse prevention programs in Canada.
  • the legal and societal trends regarding euthanasia in Canada, the United States and Great Britain. This included a survey of the attitudes regarding euthanasia of palliative care workers.
  • the use of heroin and morphine in palliative care.
  • the experience of unplanned single motherhood in Canada.


The deVeber Institute is a free resource for the media, the public, students, and others. Drawing on the diverse strengths of our Board of Directors and Advisory Council, we answer your questions, simple or complex, on bioethical and social topics.

Our Board of Directors and Advisory Council have share their expertise in community forums on Palliative Care.

Board Members and Advisers are called upon for speaking engagements to students and community groups.


L.L. Barrie de Veber, MD, FRCP(C)
L.L. Barrie de Veber, MD, FRCP(C)Co-President
Internationally recognized as a pioneer in palliative paediatric care, Dr. L.L. (Barrie) deVeber is the Founding President of the deVeber Institute for Bioethics and Social Research. He is Professor Emeritus in Paediatrics and Oncology at the University of Western Ontario (UWO) where he also taught ethics and law for medical students. Dr. deVeber developed a psycho-social team approach to the child with cancer and the family. He continues to contribute to ongoing research, give public lectures, and to guide the Institute with a vision for the ethical and compassionate treatment of all people.
Martha Crean, BA, TESL
Martha Crean, BA, TESLCo-President
Martha Crean is an English as a Second Language teacher for adult refugees and immigrants in Toronto. She has also worked with young people with developmental disabilities. Ms. Crean has been involved in many areas of social justice and community activism, and she volunteers with her housing co-operative. Ms. Crean provides a clear vision for a consistent life ethic to the deVeber Institute, where she gives direction to the research and the organization, and she appreciates the opportunity to speak to young people about life issues.
Ian Gentles, PhD, FRHS
Ian Gentles, PhD, FRHS Vice-President
Ian Gentles is a Professor of History at York University’s Glendon College and Tyndale University College, and is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. He is also a member of the Graduate Programme in History at York University. Prof Gentles teaches a seminar on human population, and has published articles and edited books on the causes of death, funeral practices in past societies, child sexual abuse, euthanasia and assisted suicide. He has edited numerous books for the deVeber Institute, and is a co-author of the newest publication, Complications: Abortion’s Impact on Women.


Keith Cassidy, PhD
Keith Cassidy, PhDBoard of Director
Keith Cassidy is an Associate Professor in the Department of History at the University of Guelph in Ontario. His principal field of research is the social and intellectual history of modern America. Prof. Cassidy’s thesis was concerned with aspects of the political culture of the United States in the early twentieth century. He is currently working on a history of the abortion controversy in the United States since the early 1960s, with a particular focus on the origins and evolution of the right-to-life movement. Several of his articles on this topic have already appeared, most notably in the Journal of Policy History. Prof. Cassidy’s expertise in social research helps to guide the Institute’s research process.
Patricia Dolente-Matijczyk, BA, MEd
Patricia Dolente-Matijczyk, BA, MEdBoard of Director
Ms. Particia Dolente Matijczyk is a supply teacher for the Toronto Catholic District School Board. She has taught French and English as a Second Language, and is fluent in five languages. Ms. Dolente Matijczyk brings her experience in volunteering and fundraising to the deVeber Institute, and helps to host unique events that showcase the Institute’s talent while disseminating its research to the wider public.
Deborah Zeni, MD, CCFP
Deborah Zeni, MD, CCFP Senior Researcher
Dr. Deborah Zeni is a family physician in Georgetown, Ontario who specializes in Obstetrics and Pediatrics. She has won the 2006 Mentorship Award for The Rural Ontario Medicine Program, the 2004 Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons Award for Excellence in Community Medicine, and was named the Halton Community Physician of the Year in 2004. Dr. Zeni is a widely acclaimed speaker. She has spoken about women’s and children’s health and abortion to medical students, universities, and community groups while actively researching these topics with the deVeber Institute.
Elizabeth Ring-Cassidy, MA
Elizabeth Ring-Cassidy, MASenior Researcher
Elizabeth Ring-Cassidy has a BA from St. Francis Xavier University and an MA in developmental psychology from the University of Guelph. She has a continued interest in Catholic Psychology and has taken American Psychological Association Continuing Credits in this area. Elizabeth is a Registered Psychologist in the Province of Alberta where she maintains a private practice in assessment and diagnosis of children and adolescents with developmental/learning disorders. As researcher for the deVeber Institute, Elizabeth has contributed to publications on Child Sexual Abuse; Single Parenting in Canada; the Elderly and Euthanasia and has published on a variety of topics around abortion’s aftermath. She has also co-authored developmental/educational research. Elizabeth has spoken widely on her research, and has served on the Society of Catholic Social Scientists.
Robert Michael Parke, MHSc, MSW
Robert Michael Parke, MHSc, MSWBoard Member
Bob Parke is a resident bioethicist at a large Toronto hospital. He is the originator of the safe haven hospice project in the GTA. In addition to this project, he is a consulting bioethicist for Spectrum Health Care and the S.R.T Med Staff. He is a member of the Clinical Advisory Committee for the Ontario Palliative Care Network, University of Toronto Joint Centre of Bioethics, Hospice and Palliative Care Association of Ontario and countless others. He has been the publishing author and co-author of countless peer-reviewed articles in notable journals including the British Medical Journal, the Journal of Biomedical Central Medical Ethics, and the New England Journal of Medicine. Since the recent change in legislation concerning assisted suicide in Canada law, he has been active in education about hospital policies, procedures and guidelines. He frequently gives presentations and lectures about health care and ethics throughout the Greater Toronto Area. 
Christina John, MA
Christina John, MABoard Member
Ms. John holds a Masters degree from the University of Guelph in History with a focus on medical history and has extensive professional experience in both the public and private sphere. Ms. John previously worked as an administrator for Western University in the Executive MBA Program at the Richard Ivey School of Business. She held a senior position within the federal Minister of Finance office where she managed caucus communications and relations. In addition to her professional background, Ms. John is actively engaged in a number of community initiatives and organizations.

 Advisory Council

  • Bridget Campion, PhD
  • Michael De Robertis, PhD
  • D. Jean Echlin, RN, MScN
  • Patricia Armstrong Egan, LLB, BCL
  • Timothy M. Egan, LLB, BCL
  • Barbara Farlow, BEngSci, MBA
  • Tom Lynch, BA, MDiv, STL, STD(Cand)
  • David Mikulis, MD
  • Heather S. Morris, FRCOG, FRCS(C), LLD (HON)
  • Robert Nadeau, LLB
  • David Novak, MHL, PhD
  • Nancy Olivieri, MD, FRCP(C)
  • Paul Ranalli, MD, FRCP(C)
  • Paul Zeni, MD


  • Elizabeth Ring-Cassidy — Research Associate
  • Brent Rooney  — Research Associate
  • Jean Echlin — Research Associate
  • Paul McDougall — Financial Advisor
  • Elaine Drake — Executive Director

Our History

The deVeber Institute was founded in 1982 and first known as the Human Life Research Institute. A non-profit educational foundation, its mandate was to research and publish studies relating to the impact of biotechnological advances on the individual, family and society, and ethical issues in health care, especially those resulting from reproductive technologies. The Institute remains steadfast to its original vision of an uncompromising commitment to scholarly research. 

The Institute, then and now, is composed of a Board of Directors and an Advisory Council. These men and women come from diverse disciplines including medicine, science, law, social work, history, philosophy, education, business, and journalism. With such depth and range of knowledge, the deVeber Institute takes pride in offering consultation and direction in bioethics. In particular, the media and students have always been encouraged to consult us. 

The deVeber Institute is the only Canadian organization continuously studying the long-term effects of induced abortion on women’s health. Its most comprehensive study to date, Complications: Abortion’s Impact on Women is now available since November 2013. 

In 1996, the Board of Directors renamed the organization the deVeber Institute for Bioethics and Social Research. The new name features two key pieces of information, the name “deVeber” and “bioethics and social research.” 

The Board chose to honour Dr L.L. (Barrie) deVeber, then Professor of Paediatrics and Oncology at the University of Western Ontario. Internationally recognized as a pioneer in palliative paediatric care, Dr deVeber had developed a psycho-social team approach to the child with cancer and the family. 

Dr deVeber also directed a program to manage RH haemolytic disease. His team performed the first amniocentesis and intrauterine fetal transfusion in Eastern Canada. Dr deVeber administered the first dose of RH immune globulin in Canada. This treatment eventually eliminated the disease. As a professor, Dr deVeber directed a course in ethics and law for medical students at the University of Western Ontario. 

Because of his experiences in these fields Dr deVeber became aware that there were serious ethical considerations in human life and death issues that were not being adequately and openly addressed. 

The addition of “Bioethics and Social Research” identifies the scope and purpose of the Institute. As reproductive and biomedical technologies continue to affect human life as never before, the Institute addresses key issues with academic integrity and insight. 

For over twenty years the Institute has probed, examined, analyzed, researched and published on topics such as the long-term effects of induced abortion on women’s health, assisted suicide and palliative care, the medical use of heroin and morphine, an evaluation of child sexual abuse prevention programs, and a survey and evaluation of sexual education programs offered in schools across Canada. The Institute also conducted original research on unplanned crisis pregnancies and single motherhood in Canada. 

Research continues, particularly in the area of abortion sequelae.