COVID-19: Unearthing the ties that bind

Posted on Tuesday, July 14, 2020


New book provides deep dive into the vulnerabilities exposed by the pandemic

Is the global response to the pandemic effective? Is it inclusive? Three professors from the University of Ottawa,  along with a leading global health ethicist and former Health Minister Jane Philpott, today published a book of essays  analyzing the COVID-19 pandemic from the standpoint of law, ethics, and public policy. In doing so, they highlight the vulnerabilities and interdependencies that the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed.  

The book, titled Vulnerable: The Law, Policy & Ethics of COVID-19, examines the pandemic’s impact on federalism, accountability, civil liberties, equity, labour, and global health. It includes 43 chapters featuring some 69 contributors that address topics such as ageism, mental health, contagion containment, contact tracing apps, and global health to name a few.

The editors  include uOttawa professors Colleen M. Flood, University Research Chair and Inaugural Director of the Centre for Health Law, Policy and Ethics, Vanessa MacDonnell, Co-Director of the University’s Public Law Centre, Sophie Theriault, Vice Dean, Civil Law Section, with Sridhar Venkatapuram, Acting Deputy Director, King's Global Health Institute, Kings College London, and Jane Philpott, Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences at Queen’s University. 

In the book, the editors explain that "More than anything, this volume documents the vulnerabilities and interconnectedness made visible by the pandemic and the legal, ethical, and policy responses to it. These include vulnerabilities for people who have been harmed or will be harmed by the virus directly and those neglected or harmed by measures taken to slow its relentless march; vulnerabilities exposed in our institutions, governance, and legal structures; and vulnerabilities in other countries and at the global level where persistent injustices harm us all.”

The collection of timely essays provides new insights on how countries should govern in a pandemic and what lessons must be learned to help inform upcoming recovery plans, whether they pertain to public health policy, social equity, or the economy.  

Vulnerable: The Law, Policy & Ethics of COVID-19 is available in English with sections in French. Obtain a copy via open access or in print form, through the University of Ottawa Press.


For media enquiries:

For University of Ottawa:
Isabelle Mailloux Pulkinghorn, Manager, media relations
613.240.0275 /
For Queens University:
Julie Brown, Media Relations Officer, University Communications
For King’s College London:
Holly Finch, News & Event Manager
020 7848 3238 /
Back to top