The story of SARS is simply the first pandemic for the 21st century:an unknown viral agent with no associated evidence-based knowledge and medicine regarding its effect on the human population. The viral epidemic triggered a fear pandemic; one that pushed social systems into overdrive. The lack of resiliency, both system-wide and institutionally, as well as the struggle to identify priorities, make decisions, and allocate finite resources among multiple response stakeholders all in the midst of an emergency have not only exacerbated an emergency event, but perhaps contributed to the degree of collateral damage. Perhaps the systemic implementation of an ethical framework to better ensure fairness and legitimacy in priority-setting, decision-making and resource allocation will be better achieved. Unfortunately, gaps continue to lurk within organizations and systems not only in Canada but across the world. Unfortunately, it often takes a crisis such as SARS to reveal them.