CCPA Receives Vanier Institute Mirabelli-Glossop Award for Work in Support of Military and Veteran Families in Canada

The Vanier Institute of the Family and the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA) are proud to announce that Dr. Kim Hollihan, Deputy CEO of CCPA, and Dr. Lorna Martin, President Emerita of CCPA, have received the Vanier Institute’s 2017 Mirabelli-Glossop Award for outstanding leadership in the development of School Counsellors Working with Military and Veteran Families, a resource that provides information on the important roles and unique lifestyles of military and Veteran families that enrich schools, communities and workplaces.

The Vanier Institute focuses its work on understanding how families interact, and how they are affected by social, economic, environmental and cultural forces. The Mirabelli-Glossop Award recognizes excellence in advancing the national understanding of families in Canada.

“Dr. Hollihan and Dr. Martin were integral to the development and promotion of this important resource,” says the Vanier Institute’s CEO, Nora Spinks. “In addition to building military literacy, this resource offers clear recommendations counsellors can take to ensure all students benefit from the rich experiences of children in military and Veteran families. The resource also ensures that counsellors can draw on these recommendations to address some of the challenges that confront students from military and Veteran families as they move across educational jurisdictions and experience diverse social environments.”

School Counsellors Working with Military and Veteran Families was written and produced in partnership with the Canadian Military and Veteran Families Leadership Circle. The resource aims to assist school personnel in increasing their military literacy, and enabling increased support and inclusion of children and youth of military and Veteran families in the social, academic and athletic lives of schools across Canada. The resource, available in English and French, has been shared with provincial and territorial Ministries/Departments of Education for dissemination to schools in communities from coast to coast to coast.

“We are extremely proud that our organization has been recognized for its work in putting together what we hope is one of the most comprehensive resources on how school counsellors can assist children and families who have a parent who is a Veteran or who actively serves in the military,” says Barbara MacCallum, CEO of CCPA. “It is essential that the mental wellness of military families be prioritized, and this resource and its use in schools across Canada is a very positive step forward.”


For further information, please contact:

Nora Spinks, CEO, The Vanier Institute of the Family
Telephone: 613-724-8500 or 613-228-8500, ext. 214


Published on October 16, 2017

Vanier Institute Update: September 2017

What’s New 


 What We’re Reading


What’s in the Media 


To automatically receive monthly updates about our publications, projects and networks, sign up for our e-newsletter.



Dr. Alyson Mahar receives Colonel Russell Mann Military Family Health Research Award

Congratulations to Dr. Alyson Mahar, recipient of the 2017 Colonel Russell Mann Military Family Health Research Award!

Each year, the Vanier Institute of the Family recognizes high-quality Canadian research that increases our understanding of military and Veteran family health with the Colonel Russell Mann Military Family Health Research Award, delivered annually at Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research (CIMVHR) Forum events.

Dr. Mahar was recognized at Forum 2017 as the lead author of the study A Comparison of Mental Health Services Use in Older Dependants and Spouses of Service Personnel in the Canadian Armed Forces to Age and Sex Matched Civilian Comparison Cohort.

This study investigates mental health service use among military-connected families, and helps fill a knowledge gap resulting from the fact that there had previously been no population-based Canadian data describing patterns of mental health services use in older dependants and spouses of active service personnel in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). Dr. Mahar and her team found that these dependants and spouses are indeed accessing mental health services in the public system (though less so than their civilian counterparts), and these services may be used differently than in the civilian population.

Learn more about this study and others featured at CIMVHR by reading the Forum 2017 abstract compendium.

Published on September 27, 2017

A Snapshot of Families and Food in Canada

Food is at the heart of family life. A biological necessity for our survival and well-being, food is also much more than that. What we choose to eat is often more than just a matter of personal preferences and whims; in many instances, what we eat reflects our cultural, community and family identities. Sometimes, our choices are made for us based on the availability and accessibility of food.

Regardless of the context, families adapt and react to ensure that dietary needs are being met. Some families have many opportunities to eat together, and these family meals provide a setting where family dynamics and relationships often “play out,” whether it’s in the delegation of cooking roles, discussing an upcoming family vacation or arguing over who has to do the dishes. Sometimes families – particularly those with busy schedules or high mobility – opt to eat meals “on the go.”

A Snapshot of Families and Food in Canada explores the evolving relationships between families and food in Canada, including research and statistics about family meals, eating patterns, nutrition, food security and more.

Highlights include:

  • More than 6 in 10 Canadians (62%) surveyed in 2017 said they eat dinner as a family at least five times per week.
  • More than one-quarter (26%) of Canadians surveyed in 2017 agree with the statement, “My work–life balance does not permit me to prepare and/or eat my meals at home.”
  • The most recent data indicates that 12% of households across Canada (1.3 million) experienced food insecurity in 2014, home to 3.2 million people.
  • More than half (52%) of Inuit living in Inuit Nunangat((From Statistics Canada: “Inuit Nunangat is the homeland of Inuit of Canada. It includes the communities located in the four Inuit regions: Nunatsiavut (Northern coastal Labrador), Nunavik (Northern Quebec), the territory of Nunavut and the Inuvialuit region of the Northwest Territories. These regions collectively encompass the area traditionally occupied by Inuit in Canada.” Link: aged 25 and over lived in food-insecure households in 2012.
  • In 2015, households across Canada spent an average $8,600 on food, an increase of 9.9% since 2010.
  • 4 in 10 of those who said it’s become more difficult to afford groceries said they’ve been choosing less healthy options in the aisle to manage the rising prices.
  • According to a 2017 study, more than three-quarters of Canadians aren’t meeting Canada Food Guide recommendations for fruit and vegetable consumption, with a resulting estimated economic burden to society of is $4.39 billion per year.
  • More than 863,000 people across Canada accessed food banks in March 2016 alone (40% of whom lived in family households with children), 28% higher than in 2008.
  • Research shows that the widespread malnutrition experienced by Indigenous children in Canada’s residential school system has had (and continues to have) a multi-generational impact on the health and well-being of their children and grandchildren, contributing to higher rates of chronic conditions.

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 A Snapshot of Families and Food in Canada from the Vanier Institute of the Family.


Learn more about families and food in Canada:


This Statistical Snapshot publication is dedicated to David Northcott, CM, OM, retired Executive Director of Winnipeg Harvest Food Bank and a founder of both the Canadian Association of Food Banks and the Manitoba Association of Food Banks. David recently completed his second full term on the Vanier Institute Board of Directors, where his enthusiasm, dedication to family well-being and generous heart has had an impact on the entire Vanier Institute team.

Published on September 20, 2017


2016 Census Release Sheds New Light on Family Finances in Canada

Today’s Census release from Statistics Canada on income shows that just like families themselves, family finances are characterized by diversity and complexity. While conversations about family finances tend to focus primarily on income earned through paid labour, new Census data provides a fuller portrait that also covers income acquired through other sources such as investments, government transfers, benefits, social assistance and more. Two new Census in Brief releases provide analysis on children in low-income households and contribution rates for selected registered savings accounts.

This release, however, isn’t a complete portrait of family finances, which include many diverse and complex intergenerational exchanges not captured in the Census, such as grandparent investments in younger generations (e.g. RESP contributions, paying for summer camp), parents paying for adult children’s cellphone plans and more.

The Census data on income provides valuable insights into family finances in the context of broader trends that have been monitored and reported on by the Vanier Institute, including (but not limited to):


Canada is home to a growing number of working seniors…

  • 14% of seniors were in the paid labour market in 2016, more than double the rate in 2000 (6%).
  • Approximately 6 in 10 surveyed Canadians who expect to work past age 65 say they plan to do so because they need to, while 4 in 10 say it’s because they’ll want to.
  • The average retirement age in Canada in 2015 was 63.4 years, up from 60.9 years in 1998.


Families play an essential role in supporting younger generations in school…

  • Half of graduating university students in Canada reported having student debt in 2015, with an average amount of $27,000.
  • 6 in 10 graduating university students in Canada said in 2015 that parents, family or spouses helped fund their education.


Learn more about family finances in Canada:


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.


To arrange an interview, contact Vanier Institute CEO Nora Spinks at 613-724-8500 or 613-228-8500, ext. 219, or by emailing

Published on September 13, 2017