Ethical issues in the treatment of humans subjects involved in health research are addressed by McDonald in a series of recent publications. In The Governance of Health Research Involving Human Subjects, McDonald and his co-authors provide the first in-depth description and analysis of Canadian public and private sector oversight of health research involving human subjects. This study was prepared for the Law Commission of Canada, Ottawa and published in October 2000. This study is available in either English or French and copies can be obtained directly from the Commission. In the sections of the study authored by McDonald (Ethics and Governance), he provides in Section A an overview of the project as well as its scope and limitations. In Section B, he offers a conceptual analysis of ethics in relation to governance, a description of the current governance processes and an account of the factors shaping the context of Canadian governance for the area. In the final section of the study (Section F) McDonald presents five major conclusions and recommendations essential to the reform of Canadian governance for health research involving human subjects.
In The Governance of Health Research Involving Human Subjects: Reflections on Ethical Policy for Scientific Research (Transactions Royal Society of Canada Special Issue: Science and Ethics, Series VI, Volume XI, pp. 49-68), McDonald provides an overview of the work done by his research team for the Law Commission of Canada and suggests that political divisions over appropriate governance have been exacerbated by a lack of good ethical analysis and qualitative research. In Canadian Governance of Health Research Involving Human Subjects: Is Anybody Minding the Store? (Health Law Journal, Vol.9, 2001, 1-21), McDonald strongly criticizes the current state of inaction with respect to Canadian protection for human subjects and argues for an evidence-based approach to the protection of research subjects.
In transplantation ethics, McDonald has published work as member of interdisciplinary team from the British Columbia Transplant Society on living anonymous donation (LAD) – the donation of a kidney by a donor to a "stranger" someone who is unrelated biologically or emotionally. In The living anonymous kidney donor: Lunatic or saint? (American Journal of Transplantation, in press), evidence is offered that a significant number of potential LADs are likely to be psychologically stable altruistic donors. Earlier work on public receptivity to LAD is reported in Living Anonymous Kidney Donation: What Does the Public Think? Transplantation (in press, June 2001).
Cross-cultural dimensions of the concept of health and their relevance to health care are tracked by McDonald in Health, Health Care and Culture: Diverse Meanings, Shared Agendas
which is a chapter in A Cross-Cultural Dialogue on Health Care Ethics
(H. Coward and P. Ratanakul (Eds.) Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 1998).
McDonald’s work in business and professional ethics includes publications on accounting ethics, most notably the Ethics Reading Handbook which is used by the Certified General Accountants of Canada as a basic part of their distance education program for CGA status. He has also written on ethics for foresters: First Principles for Professional Foresters. Peter C. List, Ed. Environmental Ethics and Forestry: A Reader (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2000; pp.128-144).
McDonald’s earlier work in political philosophy is represented by a variety of publications. The paper Aboriginal Rights has been reprinted in anthologies by Cragg -- Contemporary Moral Issues (McGraw Hill Ryerson) and by Soifer -- Ethical Issues Perspectives for Canadians (Broadview Press). The argument that ends justifying means in politics is discussed and rejected by McDonald in Hands: Clean and Tied, Dirty and Bloody which is published in Cruelty and Deception: The Controversy Over Dirty Hands In Politics, David Shugarman and Paul Rynard, Eds. Broadview Press, 1999.
- Henderson, A. J. Z., Landolt, M. A., McDonald, M. F., Landsberg, D. N., Barrable, W. M., Soos, J. G., Gourlay, W., Allison, C. J. (in press). The living anonymous kidney donor: Lunatic or saint? American Journal of Transplantation.
- Chris Macdonald, Michael McDonald, and Wayne Norman "Charitable Conflicts of Interest," Journal of Business Ethics 39 (Nos. 1-2) 67-74.
- “Canadian Governance of Health Research Involving Human Subjects: Is Anybody Minding the Store?” Health Law Journal, Vol.9, 2001, 1-21.
- The Governance of Health Research Involving Human Subjects. Law Commission of Canada, Ottawa, October 2000 (online). Available in either English or French, xxiv + 363 pages.
- Landolt, M.A., Henderson, A.J.Z., Barrable, W.M., Greenwood, S.D., McDonald, M.F., Soos, J.G., Landsberg, D.N. “Living Anonymous Kidney Donation: What Does the Public Think?” Transplantation. (In press, June 2001).
- “The Governance of Health Research Involving Human Subjects: Reflections on Ethical Policy for Scientific Research”, Transactions Royal Society of Canada Special Issue: Science and Ethics, Series VI, Volume XI, pp. 49-68.
- "First Principles for Professional Foresters.” “First Principles for Professional Foresters”. Peter C. List, Ed. Environmental Ethics and Forestry: A Reader, Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2000; pp.128-144.
- "Hands: Clean and Tied, Dirty and Bloody", Cruelty and Deception: The Controversy Over Dirty Hands In Politics, David Shugarman and Paul Rynard, Eds. Broadview Press, 1999.
- “Health, Health Care and Culture: Diverse Meanings, Shared Agendas", A Cross-Cultural Dialogue on Health Care Ethics, Eds. H. Coward and P. Ratanakul, Wilfrid Laurier University Press. 1999, pp. 92-112.
- "Business Ethics in Canada: Integration and Interdisciplinarity", Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 16 (6), April 1997, pp. 635-43
- "Prescriptions from Religious and Secular Ethics for Breaking the Impoverishment/Environmental Degradation Cycle", Population, Consumption, and the Environment: Religious and Secular Perspectives. H. Coward, rd. State University of New York Press, 1995, pp. 195-216
- “An Inquiry Into the Ethics of Retroactive Environmental Legislation: the Case of British Columbia's Bill 26", University of B.C. Law Review, 29, 1995, pp. 63-86
- Ethics Readings Handbook, Certified General Accountants of Canada, Vancouver, 1995, 1997 (24,000 CGA students in Canada, Asia and the Caribbean are using this text and anthology.)
- "Opportunities for Research in Business and Professional Ethics", Journal of Business Ethics, 11: 41 55, 1992
- "Liberalism, Community, and Culture", University of Toronto Law Journal, 42, 1992, pp. 113 131
- “Should Communities Have Rights? Reflections on Liberal Individualism", Human Rights in Cross- Cultural Perspectives, A.A. An-Na'im (Ed), University of Pennsylvania Press, Pennsylvania Studies in Human Rights, Philadelphia, 1992, pp 133-161; and in Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence, IV (2), July 1991
- "Questions about Collective Rights", Language and the State: The Law and Politics of Identity, ed. David Schniederman, Montreal, Les editions Yvon Blais, 1991, pp. 3-25
- Michael McDonald (Principal Investigator), Marie Helene Parizeau (Senior Researcher), Daryl Pullman (Research Assistant), Towards a Canadian Research Strategy for Applied Ethics: Report for the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, published by the Canadian Federation for the Humanities, 151 Slater Street, Suite 404, Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5H3 ISBN 0 920031 07 02, November 1988. Vers une strategie canadienne de recherche en Éthique appliquée, French edition of report, April 1993
- "Respect for Individuals Versus Respect for Groups: Public Aid for Confessional Schools in the United States and Canada", Philosophical Dimensions of the Constitution, Diane Meyers and Kenneth Kipnis, editors, Westview Press, Boulder, Colorado, 1988, pp. 180 195
- "Indian Status: Colonialism or Sexism", Canadian Community Law Journal, 1986, pp. 23 48
- "Justice in Hard Times", Social Justice, Bowling Green Studies in Applied Philosophy, Bowling Green, 1982, pp. 34 43. Reprinted in Contemporary Moral Issues, W. Cragg, ed., McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 1st edition 1983, 2nd edition 1987, 3rd edition 1992, pp. 560-70
- "Aboriginal Rights", Contemporary Issues in Political Philosophy, Eds. W.R. Shea and J. King Farlow, New York, 1976, pp. 27 48. Reprinted in Contemporary Moral Issues, ed. W. Cragg, McGraw Hill Ryerson, first edition 1983, second edition 1987, third edition 1991, pp. 269-286 and in Ethical Issues Perspectives for Canadians, ed. E. Soifer, Broadview Press, Peterborough, Ont., first edition 1992, second edition 1997, pp. 598-613