Helping journalists, producers and conference planners find the female guests, speakers and expert sources they need.

Dr. Fiona MacDonald

Assistant Professor, University of Northern British Columbia

Alt-Right, Masculinity, Medical errors, Medical mistreatment, Healthcare, Feminism, Feminist social movements, Gender, Neoliberalism, Allyship, Toxic Masculinity, Rape Culture


Hate in Canada and What's Being Done About it

Breakfast Television Vancouver, September 24, 2019Television


MacDonald and Ashe: Few steps forward on diversity in Canada's election results

In the military and beyond, more women doesn’t mean more equity

MacDonald and Paterson: No, Minister Sajjan, adding women does not guarantee culture change in Canada's military

Deadly trend shows patient safety must extend beyond medical centres

Want to support Black people? Stop talking, start listening

The Casual Misogyny Behind Common Phrases That Women Hate Hearing

Invisible patients: Caregivers need support too in Canada's health-care system

Why Is It So Hard For Your Doctor To Apologize?

How Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's apology suggests potential for change

Worried About the Alt Right? Be the Anti Right

Turbulent Times, Transformational Possibilities?: Gender and Politics Today and Tomorrow
by Edited by Fiona MacDonald and Alexandra Dobrowolsky
University of Toronto Press
ISBN 9781487588328

In Canada and elsewhere, recent political, economic, and social shifts have brought gender to the forefront of politics as never before, from gender-based analyses and “feminist budgets” to the #MeToo, Idle No More, and Black Lives Matter movements. Detailing these gendered and turbulent political times, this book features state-of-the art scholarship from diverse contributors that encompasses both contemporary challenges as well as avenues for change now and into the future. This collection represents a complex treatment of both gender and politics, in which gender is examined in light of other collective identities and their intersections and politics refers to both institutional and movement and countermovement politics.

Knocking Down Walls in Political Science: In Defense of an Expansionist Feminist Agenda

by Fiona MacDonald

Published by Canadian Journal of Political Science

June 22, 2017

This article offers one possible answer to the question “What is the future of feminist political science?” by outlining and defending an expansionist agenda that is centred on challenging the male-female binary that has been upheld and replicated in the discipline to date. Such an approach draws heavily on the insights of intersectional analyses, transgender, queer and gender-fluid articulations of identity and requires that the field of political science investigate the varied and complex gendered experiences of “men.” Overall, this article argues that such as expansionist agenda is key to responding to the interrelated challenges presented by the perceived “crisis” of feminism and the ongoing “masculinity” of the discipline of political science.


Mea Culpa: Apology Legislation, Accountability and Care

by Karine Levasseur and Fiona MacDonald

Published by Canadian Journal of Political Science

June 18, 2018

Increasingly, jurisdictions are adopting “apology legislation” that allow medical professionals to apologize to patients and family members when an adverse event occurs while disallowing the introduction of the apology in a liability case as evidence of fault or liability. While apology legislation itself is fairly straightforward, its potential meaning and impact is much more complex. This paper conceptualizes apology legislation from an accountability and ethics of care perspective. These two concepts—accountability and care—are distinct but interrelated concepts and this dual theoretical approach offers a rich analysis on the potential impact(s) of apology legislation. We argue that apology legislation is a mechanism added to the existing accountability regime that can offer important opportunities to express and practise care. As an accountability mechanism, apology legislation creates space for an accountability relationship to emerge between medical professionals and their patients. Apology legislation also addresses long-standing gaps in how we as a society think about health care and respond to patients and families in ways that challenge the dominant “consumer of services” role. It is in this sense that apology legislation has the potential to destabilize traditional notions of social citizenship. Last, we argue that empirical research is urgently needed to know to what degree apologies contribute to accountability and the transformation of health care.



Fiona MacDonald is an Associate Professor at the University of the Fraser Valley specializing in gender politics, feminism, and ethics of care. She is currently working on projects on the topics of the Alt-Right and Masculinity, as well as Accountability and Apology following medical errors or mistreatment in Canadian Healthcare. Her research is currently funded by both the BC Law Foundation and the Michael Smith Foundation. MacDonald co-edited the "Finding Feminisms" special issue of the Canadian Journal of Political Science (June 2017) which includes her article, “Knocking Down Walls in Political Science: In Defense of an Expansionist Feminist Agenda.” Her article “Indigenous Peoples and Neoliberal ‘Privatization’ in Canada: Opportunities, Cautions and Constraints” won the 2012 John McMenemy Prize for the best article published in volume 44 of the Canadian Journal of Political Science.

Past Talks

“Equity is for Everyone: How Allyship Can Transform the Workplace”

Employment Equity and Diversity Learning Symposium, Corrections Canada

Abbotsford, BC

Research Grants

Reach Award

Organization: Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research
Date: August 15, 2018
Grant amount: 10,000


More Than Words? Patient Insights on the Impact of Medical Apology

Increasingly, jurisdictions are adopting “apology legislation” that allows clinicians to apologize to patients when an adverse event occurs while disallowing the introduction of the apology in a liability case as evidence of fault or liability.

Apology legislation exists in Canada, Australia, the USA and the UK. In Canada, nine provinces and two territories have adopted apology legislation (BC first adopted in 2006). An apology is defined in Canadian legislation as “Encompassing an expression of sympathy and regret and a statement that one is sorry, or any other words or actions indicating contrition or commiseration, whether or not the words or actions admit or imply an admission of fault” (CMPA website). While apology legislation is established in Canada, little is known about the impact of apologies on various stakeholders, or the impact the legislation has on health care more generally. The existing literature on medical apologies is largely focused on the American context and is often limited to the potential impacts rather than the actual impacts as they are experienced by stakeholders. It is unknown whether impacts are differentiated for specific patient groups, such as Indigenous populations whom, research consistently shows, often experience highly differentiated processes and outcomes in health care.

Data was collected in two provinces (BC and MB) from qualitative interviews with patients who experienced a medical error and who did or did not receive an apology. Data was also collected via interviews with patient safety experts, clinicians, health care administrators, and medical school administrators. There is rich data providing original insight into how and whether giving/receiving an apology improves learning, accountability, patient safety, and healing (for both the patient and clinician). With this data, YouTube videos, op-eds and blog posts will be developed to share the findings with patients, clinicians, and administrators. The dissemination products will emphasize these themes: 1) Various traumas associated with medical errors/mistreatment; 2) The components of a meaningful medical apology for clinicians and administrators; 3) Impacts of apology on both patient and clinician; 4) Indigenous perspectives on medical apologies.

More information:


  • patient safety
  • race and identity
  • Women in Politics
  • Gender and Politics
  • Toxic Masculinity
  • Alt-Right
  • Masculinity
  • Medical errors
  • Medical mistreatment
  • Healthcare
  • Feminism
  • Feminist social movements
  • Gender
  • Neoliberalism
  • Allyship


  • Simon Fraser University
    Political Science
    M.A., 2002
  • University of British Columbia
    Political Science
    PhD, 2008

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