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Catherine Frazee

Professor Emerita

Catherine Frazee is professor emerita in the School of Disability Studies, a role she acquired after retiring from the school in May 2009, having served for a decade as professor of distinction and as co-director of the Ryerson/RBC Institute for Disability Studies Research and Education. Frazee curated the program’s early offerings in disability arts and culture, and is co-curator of the award winning exhibit Out from Under: Disability, History and Things to Remember. She brought numerous honors to Ryerson, most notably when she received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of New Brunswick (2002), Dalhousie University (2009), and McMaster University (2015).

Frazee's current research explores ableist accounts of autonomy and ableist formulations of "a good death", teasing out the ways in which these framings become embedded in popular culture through rhetoric, simple narrative and utilitarian argument. These inquiries are a continuation of many years of advocacy in legal and policy spheres, seeking to protect the lives and valued personhood of Canadians with disabilities.

Frazee’s work has involved extensive community dialogue, contributions as an expert witness before the courts, strategic advice to national disability organizations, debates and panel discussions in a variety of public fora, submissions to senate and parliamentary committees, commentaries for mainstream media and published long-form essays in popular and specialty journals.

In 2015, Frazee served on a three-person panel appointed by the federal government, mandated to conduct broad public consultations and in-depth expert interviews on euthanasia and assisted suicide in order to advise the Ministers of Justice and Health regarding the Government of Canada's response to the Carter decision. Since then, working closely with the executive VP of the Canadian Association for Community Living and a team of expert advisors, she co-authored the Vulnerable Persons Standard – a detailed proposal of safeguards to ensure that medically-assisted death would not jeopardize the lives of disabled people and others who may be vulnerable to inducement, coercion and abuse.