The York Circle Lecture and Lunch Series - Mar. 3, 2018

Please join us for The York Circle Lecture and Lunch on Saturday, March 3 from 9am to 1pm.

Hear from four of York's leading faculty members on a wide range of interesting topics that speak to some of the key themes that define York University.

The York Circle Lecture and Lunch Series is held four times a year and is open to our community of alumni and friends.

Complimentary coffee, light snacks and lunch will be provided.

Saturday, March 3, 2018 | 9am-1pm

9am - 9:45am: Registration, Coffee and Light Snacks

9:45am: Opening Remarks

Location: Life Sciences Building, Keele Campus, York University


Event Schedule

First Session (10am-11am)


Session 1A - Kristin Andrews
Evolving Ethics and Animal Persons

Session 1A, Room 103 – Evolving Ethics and Animal Persons

Humans are animals, so some animals are already considered to be persons. But not too long ago not all humans were even thought to be persons. Personhood is an ethical category of certain kinds of individuals who are agents and who matter, so being included as a person comes with certain benefits, such as rights to bodily determination, rights to freedom, and rights from interference with one's own interests. As science tells us more about other animals, the question arises whether we ought to include additional animals in the category of persons-- animals such as chimpanzees, elephants, dolphins, and ravens. Today, such animals are largely considered property, and do not enjoy the aforementioned rights. Should we change the status of some animals from property to persons? What justifies including some and excluding others? Given the ethical implications of inclusion and exclusion, careful consideration of these questions is a contemporary moral imperative.

Speaker: Kristin Andrews - York Research Chair in Animal Minds and Associate Professor of Philosophy

Kristin Andrews is York Research Chair in Animal Minds and Associate Professor of Philosophy at York University. In her three books and numerous articles, Andrews works on developing a better understanding of the continuities between humans and other animals when it comes to sociality and morality, and she takes a critical lens to methodology in animal cognition research. Andrews has an ongoing collaboration with York psychologist Dr. Anne Russon on orangutan pantomime communication. In addition to her academic duties, she serves as a member of the Executive Board for The Borneo Orangutan Society Canada, which has the mission to promote conservation of orangutans and their habitat, and to educate the public.

Session 1B - Paul McDonald
Sick and wired. Is technology threatening our health and humanity?/em>

Session 1B, Room 106 – Sick and wired. Is technology threatening our health and humanity?

This presentation asks whether technology such as social media is undermining our health and humanity. The speaker will argue that technology may increase communication but it undermines fundamental human skills such as empathy and the ability to form deep connections. The inability to relate to others may be causing more narcissism, anxiety, stress, depression, addiction, conflict and isolation. Isolation increases tobacco and drug use, poor diets, physical inactivity, poverty and other factors which increase the risk of cancer, heart and lung disease, diabetes, mental illness, etc. The presentation will conclude by suggesting how we can change our future so people and machines can co-exist in a better world.

Speaker: Paul McDonald – Dean, Faculty of Health

Paul McDonald holds a BA in Psychology from the University of Waterloo, an MA in Clinical Psychology from the University of Western Ontario and a PhD in Health Studies with a specialization in Population Health from the University of Waterloo. His research interests are wide-ranging and interdisciplinary, including planning, implementing and evaluating population-level interventions for public health, tobacco control, and primary prevention of chronic disease.

He is the author of more than 50 peer-reviewed publications and 200 proceedings, abstracts, monographs, chapters and technical reports. He has also contributed research to a 20+ country study of tobacco control policies informing the WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and to the Romanow Royal Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada.

Break: 11-11:20am

Second Session (11:20am-12:20pm)


Session 2A- Sapna Sharma
On thin ice: Are lakes feeling the heat?

Session 2A, Room 103 – On thin ice: Are lakes feeling the heat?

Lakes are warming around the world in response to a changing climate, including warmer water temperatures and shorter ice duration. Historically Canadian lakes have been highly significant bellwethers, as they represent a northern or southern limit to many freshwater fish species. This makes Canadian fishes particularly vulnerable to climate change. Of particular interest are walleye and smallmouth bass. Walleye, trout, and smallmouth bass are all angler favourites. But as the feisty smallmouth bass continues its march northward in Canada, it will put populations of trout and walleye at long-term risk.

Speaker: Sapna Sharma - Associate Professor, Department of Biology

Sapna Sharma is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biology at York University. She received her PhD from the University of Toronto and held post-doctoral fellowships at Université de Montréal and University of Wisconsin-Madison. The research in the Sharma lab includes understanding the impact of climate change and invasive species on lakes in Ontario and around the world.

Session 2B – Lorne Sossin
, The Charter of Rights Unplugged: How the Constitution moved from the Courts to every Corner of our Lives

Session 2B, Room 106 – The Charter of Rights Unplugged: How the Constitution moved from the Courts to every Corner of our Lives

This talk will explore the evolution of Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms from landmark constitutional litigation in the courts in the 1980s and 1990s, to more recent debates involving how all those delivering public services throughout government and the broader public sector have to interpret and apply Charter values to their decision-making - from Hospitals offering end of life care, to Universities and Colleges deciding on religious curriculum, to Quebec's proposed face-covering ban.

Speaker: Lorne Sossin – Dean, Osgoode Hall Law School

Lorne Sossin became Dean of Osgoode Hall Law School on July 1, 2010. Prior to this appointment, he was a Professor with the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto (2002-2010). He is a former Associate Dean of the University of Toronto (2004-2007) and served as the inaugural Director of the Centre for the Legal Profession (2008-2010). Previously (1997-2002), he was a faculty member at Osgoode Hall Law School, and the Department of Political Science, at York University. His teaching interests span administrative and constitutional law, the regulation of professions, civil litigation, public policy and the judicial process. Dean Sossin was a law clerk to former Chief Justice Antonio Lamer of the Supreme Court of Canada, a former Associate in Law at Columbia Law School and a former litigation lawyer with the firm of Borden & Elliot (now Borden Ladner Gervais LLP).
Dean Sossin has published numerous books, journal articles, reviews and essays, including Administrative Law in Context, 2nd ed. (Toronto: Emond Montgomery, 2013) (co-edited with Colleen Flood); Boundaries of Judicial Review: The Law of Justiciability, 2nd ed. (Toronto: Carswell, 2012); The Future of Judicial Independence (Toronto: Irwin, 2010) (co-edited with Adam Dodek); Civil Litigation (Toronto: Irwin 2010) (co-authored with Janet Walker); Parliamentary Democracy in Crisis (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2009) (co-edited with Peter Russell); Dilemmas of Solidarity: Rethinking Redistribution in the Canadian Federation (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2006) (co-edited with Sujit Choudhry and Jean-Francois Gaudreault-Desbiens); and Access to Care, Access to Justice: The Legal Debate over Private Health Insurance in Canada (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2005) (co-edited with Colleen Flood & Kent Roach).

Dean Sossin served as Research Director for the Law Society of Upper Canada’s Task Force on the Independence of the Bar and has written commissioned papers for the Gomery Inquiry, the Ipperwash Inquiry and the Goudge Inquiry. He also serves on the Boards of the National Judicial Institute, the Law Commission of Ontario and is a Vice Chair of the Ontario Health Professions Appeal and Review Board and Member of the Health Services Appeal and Review Board. Dean Sossin served as Interim Integrity Commissioner for the City of Toronto in 2008-2009, and is currently the Open Meeting Investigator for the City of Toronto.
Research Interests: Human Rights Law, Legal Process, Legal Profession, Poverty Law, Public Law.


Complimentary lunch: 12:20-1pm
Event ends: 1pm

Register by using the button below; we'll send you a reminder closer to the event date.


Event Location

The York Circle Lecture and Lunch Series take place on York University’s Keele campus in the Life Sciences Building.  For directions to Keele campus by car or public transit, visit and click on the relevant link under the “Transit and Driving Directions” heading.  If you plan to drive, you will be required to pay for parking.  Parking is available on a first-come, first-served basis. The closest public parking lots are:

  • Arboretum parking garage #80 on the map ($7.00 Flat Rate). Pull a ticket from the machine upon entry and pay at the pay station when leaving. Machine accepts cash, coins and credit cards.
  • Thompson Road ‘Pay and Display’ parking lot #79 on the map ($7.00 Flat Rate). You are required to purchase a ticket from the ‘Pay and Display’ machine in the lot and place it on the driver’s side of the dash. Machine accepts coins and credit cards only.