Terms of Reference

1. Preamble

The Ethics & Law Special Interest Group is a body of professionals, researchers, and students specializing in bioethics and/or law as it relates to the use of assisted reproductive technologies, who are interested in upgrading their knowledge and skills in this area, in increasing knowledge in this area among ART professionals, and in fostering opportunities for collaboration.

2. Mandate

The mandate of the Ethics & Law Special Interest Group (E&L-SIG) is to foster consistent engagement of ethics and law professionals in ART practice and the consistent use in ART decision-making of ethical and legal norms and perspectives.

3. Objectives

3.1. To increase the profile in Canada and within the ART industry of ethics and law professionals working in, researching, and studying ART.
3.2. To represent the voice of ethics and law professionals working in, researching, and studying ART.
3.3. To act as an ethics and law resource for ART professionals.
3.4. To promote continuing education programs, which reflect current issues and trends, and meet the needs and requirements of ethics and law professionals in ART.
3.5. To liaise with researchers on ART studies that have a definable GE3LS (i.e., genomics-related ethical, economic, environmental, legal, and social issues) component.

4. Membership

Ethics and law professionals who are members of CFAS.

5. Governance

The Ethics and Law SIG will be governed by an Executive Committee consisting of no less than five members and headed by a Chair and Co-chair. Until such a time as membership is large enough to support this model and Executive Committee members selected, the SIG will be governed by the Chair and Co-Chair. Governance is in accordance with the CFAS Special Interest Groups Relation-ships and Guidelines.

5.1. Executive Committee Election process

5.1.1. A call for nominations to the positions available on the Executive Committee will be broadcast annually to the SIG members by email and through the CFAS web site.
5.1.2. Nominations for these positions shall be made by members of the SIG in writing (email fax or mail) and must be received by the Chair each year.
5.1.3. The Chair will contact nominees to accept nominations.
5.1.4. A list of candidates, including short biographies, will be posted on the ART Ethics and Law SIG page of the CFAS web site each year.
5.1.5. Votes can be cast by members of the SIG.
5.1.6. The names of the successful candidates will be announced to the membership at the SIG annual assembly.

5.2. Terms in office

5.2.1. The Chair and Co-chair are elected for a term of two years. The Chair and/or Co-chair can be re-elected for a second term.
5.2.2. The outgoing Chair will sit as Past Chair at the end of their term in office.
5.2.3. The Executive Committee officers are elected for a term of three years.
5.2.4. There should be no more than two officers rotating on any given year to promote continuity.

5.3. Roles and Responsibilities:

5.3.1. The Executive Committee plans and organizes activities to achieve the objectives of the SIG.
5.3.2. The Co-chair assumes the responsibilities of the chair in his/her absence.
5.3.3. The Executive Committee shall hold at least two business meetings each year. One of the two Chairs will act as moderator at these meetings. There is quorum when at least three members of the Executive Committee are present at a meeting. Every matter is determined by a majority of votes.
5.3.4. The Executive Committee shall keep minutes of these business meetings.
5.3.5. The Executive Committee shall organize one general assembly of the membership each year. The two Chairs will rotate yearly the responsibility of acting as moderator at this assembly.
5.3.6. The Executive Committee shall present a report of the activities of the preceding year at the general assembly.
5.3.7. The Executive Committee shall present the plans for the next year at the general assembly. Planned activities must be approved by the membership.
5.3.8. The Chairs shall provide an annual report each year to the CFAS Executive Director. It should summarize the Ethics and Law SIG’s activities of the preceding year and state proposed plans for the next year.
5.3.9. At least one Chair will meet with the CFAS President and staff on an annual basis to discuss their plans for the year and other issues of interest.

6. Revision policy

The Executive Committee will undertake a comprehensive revision of this document every five years and submit the proposed changes to the membership for approval prior to submission to the CFAS Board.