Wishing you health, happiness and harmony!

As we prepare for 2018 and reflect on this year’s accomplishments, we have plenty to celebrate. We invite you to learn more about our activities this past year and what makes our approach to enhancing the national understanding of families in Canada unique.

As you can see, there has been much cause for pride and joy during Canada’s 150th anniversary, and there is a lot to look forward to next year.

With all of our achievements, we feel that the greatest reason for celebration is our relationships. We couldn’t be more grateful to be surrounded by people who share our passion and enthusiasm. The connections we have created and strengthened over the past year are the key to our success.

We would like to pause for a moment to thank our friends, colleagues, supporters and partners for contributing to the fantastic year we’ve had – we look forward to many more.

The Vanier Institute team wishes you and your family health, happiness and harmony this holiday season and into the new year.

Our office will be closed from December 22 to January 2 (inclusive) while we spend time with our families.

Vanier Institute Update: December 2017

The Vanier Institute team wishes you and your family health, happiness and harmony this holiday season and into the new year.

Please note that our office will be closed from December 22 to January 2 (inclusive) while we spend time with our families. 

What’s New 

 What We’re Reading

What’s in the Media 


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Published on December 15, 2017


Modern Family Finances: Seniors in Canada

Canada’s population is rapidly aging, which means a growing number of seniors across the country are managing household finances in an evolving economic climate. In this context, many are choosing to remain in – or return to – the paid labour market to manage their financial responsibilities, while others focus on other diverse income sources to meet their needs.

As seniors and their families adapt their financial management strategies and their aspirations in response to this ever-changing environment, they in turn are reshaping workplaces, retirement and the economy at large. To explore the relationship between seniors and family finances, we’ve published Modern Family Finances: Seniors in Canada, which brings together statistics from a variety of sources about seniors and their economic well-being, including data about employment, income, retirement and debt among this age group.

Highlights include:

  • In 2016, the average retirement age in Canada was 63.6 years – a slow but steady increase from a low of 60.9 years in 1998.
  • More than one-third (36%) of Canadians in the labour force say that ongoing employment earnings are a part of their financial retirement plan.
  • In 2015, 3 in 10 seniors in Canada reported having employment income, with significantly higher rates among Inuit seniors (46%).
  • In 2015, nearly 1 in 7 seniors lived with low income – nearly four times the rate in 1995. Rates were higher among senior women (17%, vs. 12% among senior men), recent immigrant seniors (22.2%) and seniors reporting an Aboriginal identity (21.5%).
  • In 2015, nearly 1 in 5 seniors in Canada had “unaffordable” shelter costs, spending more than 30% of average total monthly income on housing.
  • Nearly 4 in 10 of surveyed seniors in Canada (37%) say they plan on leaving an inheritance to a grandchild.

This bilingual resource will be updated periodically as new data emerges. Sign up for our monthly e-newsletter to find out about updates, as well as other news about publications, projects and initiatives from the Vanier Institute.


Download Modern Family Finances: Seniors in Canada from the Vanier Institute of the Family.


Learn more about modern family finances in Canada:


Published on November 30, 2017

Census Releases Highlights Labour, Education, Commuting and Mobility

Today, Statistics Canada released its final wave of new 2016 Census data and a series of publications providing a detailed look at trends in labour, education, commuting and mobility in Canada.

A series of new and updated data and highlight tables, infographics and videos, and Census in Brief articles provide analysis on a variety of topics, including post-secondary education rates, employment trends, working seniors, commuting and family mobility. These releases share valuable insights into families, education and work in the context of broader trends that have been monitored and reported on by the Vanier Institute.

This release sheds new light on some key social and economic indicators and information about family experiences in Canada including (but not limited to):


– Canada is home to a growing share of working seniors (many of whom have financial relationships with younger generations), which is changing our understandings of “retirement.”

  • In 2016, an estimated 13.7% of seniors in Canada participated in the paid labour market, more than double the rate in 2000 (6%); among seniors, rates were highest among the 65–69 age group (26%).
  • More than one-third (36%) of surveyed Canadians said ongoing employment earnings are a part of their financial retirement plan.
  • Seniors in Canada reported an average debt of approximately $16,000 in Q2 2017; while this is up by 4.3% from Q2 2016, their delinquency rate fell by 7.3%, suggesting that they are managing their payments.  

Learn more in Seniors and Family Finances in Canada and A Snapshot of Population Aging and Intergenerational Relationships in Canada. 


– Students manage unique constellations of financial obligations and resources, which families facilitate and support in creative and evolving ways. 

  • 6 in 10 surveyed graduating university students in Canada said that parents, family or spouses helped fund their education, while current (49%) or summer (44%) employment and government loans or bursaries (41%) were also cited as funding sources.
  • One-third of parents with children under age 25 said they took on debt as a result of financing their children’s education, 36% of whom said they would need to delay their own retirement as a result.

Learn more in Students and Family Finances in Canada and Family Finances: Investments in Education.


– While commuting is a common experience for employed Canadians, there has been an increase in the number of workers who travel long distances (sometimes across borders), which can have an impact on family life. 

  • In 2011, 8% of Canadians reported that they travel an hour or more to their workplace, and 12% said they commute to a location that varies from day to day.
  • Many family members who work far from home (such as many of those employed in the oil sands industry of northern Alberta) rely on “networks of care” to manage family responsibilities, which are facilitated by other family members, friends, neighbours and the use of communications technology (e.g. Skype).

Learn more about in commuting in Canada with Commuting in Canada and Circuits of Care: Mobility, Work and Managing Family Relationships.


– Many families in Canada, such as military families, are highly mobile – and this mobility can have an impact on family life, work and access to community services. 

  • More than 1 in 5 Canadians (22%) say they’ve moved for work-related reasons.
  • 6 in 10 surveyed North American companies say they’ve had employees decline relocations because of “family issues/ties.”
  • More than one-quarter (27%) of surveyed Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) spouses report that they’ve relocated at least four times due to military postings.
  • Nearly 3 in 10 (29%) surveyed CAF spouses say they found it “extremely difficult” to re-establish their seniority at work after moving to a new location.

Learn more in Moving and Migration in Canada and A Snapshot of Military and Veteran Families in Canada.


If you would like to book an interview with Vanier Institute CEO Nora Spinks, please contact lsteele@vanierinstitute.ca.

The Vanier Institute shares evidence-based, evidence-informed and evidence-inspired stories and research findings, working with organizations such as Statistics Canada to explore modern families through diverse resources, publications and public engagements. Read more about our relationship with Statistics Canada by reading their blog post Learning about Canada’s diverse families through Nora Spinks from the Vanier Institute of the Family.


Published on November 29, 2017

Vanier Institute Update: November 2017


What’s New 

 What We’re Reading

What’s in the Media 

  • Military Families. News Talk 770AM (Alberta Morning News) interview with Vanier Institute Special Advisor Col (retd) Russ Mann.


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Published on November 24, 2017