Law, Policy and Ethics of COVID-19

The COVID-19 has been a boon for novel and unique issues in law.

While there have been widely reported concerns about women academics being less productive during the pandemic than men, likely due to unequal divisions of labour at home such as childcare, the intersecting impacts of gender, race and parenthood on academic productivity illustrate a broader and more complex factors, but ones that could have long-term career implications.

The necessity to rapidly share scientific information during a pandemic has also accelerated a shift towards more open-access publications. Removing paywalls facilitates a better flow of information and knowledge transfer, and subscription-based models appear to actually hinder the impact of academic writing rather than facilitate it.

Canadian legal academics have also done their part. Earlier today, the University of Ottawa released a new collection of 43 essays, “Vulnerable: The Law, Policy and Ethics of COVID-19,” edited by Colleen M. Flood, Vanessa MacDonnell, Jane Philpott, Sophie Thériault, Sridhar Venkatapuram.

Spanning over 600 pages, the text includes discussions on Canadian federalism, discussions on public and private responsibility, civil liberties, equity issues on resource allocations and discrimination, health and safety and employment law, and public health governance in an international context.

What’s most impressive is that it looks like the book was compiled in as little as 8 weeks, which goes to show you what a bunch of academics can do with a little extra time on their hands.

Allan Rock, the Former Minister of Health (Canada) and Former President of the University of Ottawa, stated in his review,

In the wake of COVID-19, many of us are asking, “What just happened?”
This book provides the answer. Leading scholars from across
disciplines address the pandemic’s impact, with vulnerability as the underlying theme. Why were some neighbourhoods hit harder than others? Do lessons learned equip us to better manage a “second wave?” Did Canadian federalism impede more effective responses? And what if a vaccine is delayed, or proves impossible? This book is an indispensable source of insight and advice, helping us understand not only what happened, but how to diminish the chances of it happening again.

But the best part is that the entire book is available by pdf for free. Yes, that’s right, for free. So if you have a little extra time on your hands, this new text will likely keep you busy for a while.

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