The purpose of this webinar was to equip public health actors to conduct a critical and nuanced ethical analysis of public health policies or population-based interventions accused or suspected of being paternalistic. This webinar was held on February 19, 2019.


Michael Keeling, Scientific Advisor, NCCHPP
Maxime Plante, Scientific Advisor, NCCHPP


In the first section, we offered an overview of paternalism (definition, examples) and we examined a few reasons why we might be attracted to, or – to the contrary – reluctant to accept, public policies that are called paternalistic. In the second, more practical, section, we offered a three-step approach to conducting a nuanced ethical analysis of population-based policies or interventions that are accused or suspected of being paternalistic.

Learning objectives

At the end of the webinar, participants were able:

  • To understand what paternalism is and to cite examples of some healthy public policies that have been called paternalistic ;
  • To determine whether a policy is actually paternalistic ;
  • To conduct a critical and nuanced ethical analysis of paternalistic public health policies by determining what type of paternalism is in play in order to comparatively weigh it against the values that a policy promotes as well as those on which it impinges.

Associated reading

This webinar was based on the material in the NCCHPP paper: How Can We (and Why Should We) Analyze the Ethics of Paternalistic Policies in Public Health?

Webinar Recording

PPT Presentation
45 slides