Upcoming Event: Families, Mobility, and Work Atlantic Canada Symposium (May 2018)

Do you work with families that are separated due to employment in oil and gas, construction, trucking, health care, forestry, the military, fishing, agriculture, education, tourism or some other type of employment? Are you part of a family impacted by this type of employment?

From May 15 to 17, 2018, the Families, Mobility, and Work Atlantic Canadian Symposium will examine intersections between diverse families, work situations and employment-related geographical mobility in the Canadian context. This event will bring together policy and civil society leaders, researchers studying families and mobility, and families directly impacted by work-related mobility to facilitate dialogue and knowledge-sharing with a focus on leading and emerging policy and practices at home, at work and in the community.

Where: University of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown, PEI

When: Tuesday, May 15, 2018, 6:00 p.m. to Thursday, May 17, 2018, 3:30 p.m. ADT (view schedule)

Register: Eventbrite

Themes for discussion will include:

In the Home

  • What role does work-related mobility play in family planning, conception/fertility and parenthood?
  • How are parenting and child care, caregiving and elder care, or care for persons with disabilities impacted by employment-related geographical mobility? How are these care relationships impacted by extended absence due to mobility for work?
  • How does coming to Atlantic Canada for temporary work impact international labour migrants and their families who reside in their place of origin?

In the Workplace

  • How are labour and professional organizations and employers accommodating family status in response to extended absences?
  • In what ways do precarious employment or atypical work schedules combine with work-related mobility to impact the family and individual well-being of mobile workers?

In the Community

  • How does mobility impact the communities that mobile workers live in/leave from and work in/go to? How does this reverberate back to impact their families?
  • How are diverse health care professionals, community service providers, educators, spiritual advisors/faith leaders and others responding and adapting to best meet the needs of families affected by extended commuting for work?

The Symposium is being organized by the SSHRC-funded Tale of Two Islands and On the Move Partnership research projects and in collaboration with the Vanier Institute of the Family, the University of Prince Edward Island and Memorial University of Newfoundland. Funding for this event has been received through a SSHRC Connections Grant.

The On the Move Partnership is a research initiative with international links investigating workers’ extended travel and related absence from their places of permanent residence for the purpose of, and as part of, their employment. On the Move is a collaboration between the Vanier Institute of the Family and more than 40 researchers from 17 disciplines and 22 universities across Canada and internationally, working with more than 30 community partners to design and carry out research, interpret results and disseminate findings. On the Move is a project of the SafetyNet Centre for Occupational Health and Safety Research at Memorial University of Newfoundland funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), the Newfoundland and Labrador Research Development Corporation (RDC), the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) and numerous universities and partners.

Learn more about family mobility in Canada:

Published on March 9, 2018


Families in Canada: Parents Making It Work

In light of tomorrow’s federal budget release and speculation surrounding the possibility of the introduction of a new leave for second parents (paternity leave), the Vanier Institute of the Family has compiled related data and recent statistics about work, family and modern parenthood in Canada.

Below you can find up-to-date information and insights about parents in Canada and the evolving social, economic, cultural and environmental contexts that shape – and are shaped by – family life.

Women, Work and Family

  • In 2017, the labour force participation rate of women aged 25 to 54 was approximately 83%, a steady increase from only 52% in 1976.((Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey Estimates (LFS), by Sex and Detailed Age Group (CANSIM Table 282-0002) (page last updated January 5, 2017). Link: http://bit.ly/2p38FWs.))
  • In 2016, the labour force participation rate of mothers whose youngest child was under 6 was 73%, up from 36% in 1976.((Canadian Institute of Child Health, “Module 8, Section 2: Labour Force Participation Rate,” The Health of Canada’s Children and Youth: A CICH Profile (2018). Link: http://bit.ly/2oq4xyZ.))
  • In 2017, women accounted for three-quarters (74%) of part-time workers aged 25 to 54, down from 89% in 1976.((Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey Estimates (LFS), by Sex and Detailed Age Group.))
  • In 2015, 69% of couple families with children had two earners, up from 36% in 1976.((Statistics Canada, “The Rise of the Dual-Earner Family with Children,” Canadian Megatrends, Statistics Canada catalogue no. 11-630-X (May 30, 2016). Link: http://bit.ly/25wbfED.))
  • In 2015–2016, families who received both EI maternity and parental benefits used an average of 47 weeks on a family basis (of the available 50 weeks).((Employment and Social Development Canada, Employment Insurance Monitoring and Assessment Report for the Fiscal Year Beginning April 1, 2015 and Ending March 31, 2016 (May 10, 2017). Link: http://bit.ly/2GO3Xlj.))



  • In 2014, 44% of all births to first-time mothers were to women aged 30 and older, up from 28% in 1994.((Statistics Canada, Live Births, by Age and Parity of Mother, Canada (CANSIM Table 102-4508) (page last updated April 26, 2017). Link: http://bit.ly/2o4EP4D.))
  • In 2014, 35% of all births were to women aged 30 to 34, nearly triple the share in 1970 (14%).((Statistics Canada, Live Births, by Age and Parity of Mother, Canada.))
  • In 2014, 3.6% of all births were to mothers in their 40s, more than double the rate in 1994 (1.4%).((Statistics Canada, Live Births, by Age and Parity of Mother, Canada.))


New Dads and Family Relationships

  • In 2016, 30% of all recent fathers across Canada reported that they took or intended to take parental leave, up from 3% in 2000.((Statistics Canada, “Employment Insurance Coverage Survey, 2016,” The Daily (December 15, 2016). Link: http://bit.ly/2CD3nIw.)), ((Katherine Marshall, “Fathers’ Use of Paid Parental Leave,” Perspectives on Labour and Income, Statistics Canada catalogue no. 75-001-X (June 2008). Link: http://bit.ly/1UgSdfz.))
    • Much of the increase in the national rate is due to the large increase in fathers taking leave in Quebec following the introduction of the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP) in 2006.
      • In 2016, 80% of Quebec dads reported that they claimed or intended to claim parental leave, up from 28% in 2005.((Statistics Canada, “Employment Insurance Coverage Survey, 2016.”))
      • Outside Quebec, the share of recent dads who claimed or intended to claim parental leave increased from 11% to 13% over the same period.((Statistics Canada, “Employment Insurance Coverage Survey, 2016.”)), ((Katherine Marshall.))
  • In 2015–2016, 14% of parental benefits claims made were by men.((Employment and Social Development Canada.))
  • A 2015 study found a “large and persistent impact” on gender dynamics in the three-year period following Quebec fathers’ use of paternity leave.((Ankita Patnaik, “‘Daddy’s Home!’ Increasing Men’s Use of Paternity Leave,” briefing paper prepared for the Council on Contemporary Families (April 2, 2015). Link: http://bit.ly/1Igwa0Y.))
    • Fathers who took leave were found to be more likely to do housework (and spend 23% more time doing this work).
    • Mothers were found to be more likely to engage in paid work. Under QPIP, Quebec dads also spent an average half-hour more per day at the family home than those outside of Quebec.
    • A recent Statistics Canada study found that in 2015, 41% of surveyed fathers in Quebec reported having participated in cleaning, laundry and other housework that day, higher than in other regions across Canada, which ranged from 25% to 35%.((Patricia Houle, Martin Turcotte and Michael Wendt, “Changes in Parents’ Participation in Domestic Tasks and Care for Children from 1986 to 2015,” Spotlight on Canadians: Results from the General Social Survey, Statistics Canada catalogue no.89-652-X (June 1, 2017). Link: http://bit.ly/2rJ4AZL.))


Diverse Parents

  • In 2016, there were nearly 73,000 same-sex couple families in Canada (0.9% of all couples), up 61% from 2006.
    • 12% of same-sex couples were raising children (up from 8.6% in 2001), four-fifths of whom are female couples.
    • More than 10,000 children aged 0 to 14 were being raised by same-sex couples.((Statistics Canada, “Census in Brief: Same-Sex Couples in Canada in 2016,” Analytical Products, 2016 Census (August 2, 2017). Link: http://bit.ly/2DStGc4.))

Multi-generational Households

  • In 2016, there were 404,000 multi-generational households (three generations) in Canada, accounting for 2.9% of all households.
    • 2.2 million people, or 6.3% of Canada’s population, lived in multi-generational households – up from 4% in 2001.
  • In 2016, approximately 15% of children with an immigrant background lived in a multi-generational household.((Statistics Canada, “Census in Brief: Children with an Immigrant Background: Bridging Cultures,” 2016 Census Analytical Products, Statistics Canada catalogue no. 98-200-X2016-015 (October 25, 2017).Link: http://bit.ly/2hbqCxx.))
  • In 2011…
    • 22% of Inuk (Inuit) grandparents lived with their grandchildren.
    • 14% of First Nations grandparents lived with their grandchildren.
    • 5% of Métis grandparents lived with their grandchildren.
      • This compares with 3.9% among non-Indigenous grandparents that year.((Anne Milan, Nadine Laflamme and Irene Wong, “Diversity of Grandparents Living with Their Grandchildren, 2011,” Insights on Canadian Society, Statistics Canada catalogue no. 75-006-X (April 2015). Link: http://bit.ly/2mPcug5.))


Learn more about the diversity of families in Canada:

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


Published on February 26, 2018

Vanier Institute Update: February 2018

 What’s New

 What We’re Reading

What’s in the Media 


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Published on February 23, 2018


Families in Canada Interactive Timeline

Today’s society and today’s families would have been difficult to imagine, let alone understand, a half-century ago. Data shows that families and family life in Canada have become increasingly diverse and complex across generations – a reality highlighted when one looks at broader trends over time.

But even as families evolve, their impact over the years has remained constant. This is due to the many functions and roles they perform for individuals and communities alike – families are, have been and will continue to be the cornerstone of our society, the engine of our economy and at the centre of our hearts.

Learn about the evolution of families in Canada over the past half-century with our Families in Canada Interactive Timeline – a online resource from the Vanier Institute that highlights trends on diverse topics such as motherhood and fatherhood, family relationships, living arrangements, children and seniors, work–life, health and well-being, family care and much more.

View the Families in Canada Interactive Timeline.*


Full topic list:

  • Motherhood
    o Maternal age
    o Fertility
    o Labour force participation
    o Education
    o Stay-at-home moms
  • Fatherhood
    o Family relationships
    o Employment
    o Care and unpaid work
    o Work–life
  • Demographics
    o Life expectancy
    o Seniors and elders
    o Children and youth
    o Immigrant families
  • Families and Households
    o Family structure
    o Family finances
    o Household size
    o Housing
  • Health and Well-Being
    o Babies and birth
    o Health
    o Life expectancy
    o Death and dying

View all source information for all statistics in Families in Canada Interactive Timeline.


* Note: The timeline is accessible only via desktop computer and does not work on smartphones.

Published February 8, 2018

A Snapshot of Family Diversity in Canada (February 2018)

Download A Snapshot of Family Diversity in Canada (February 2018).

For more than 50 years, the Vanier Institute of the Family has monitored, studied and discussed trends in families and family life in Canada. From the beginning, the evidence has consistently made one thing clear: there is no single story to tell, because families are as diverse as the people who comprise them.

This has always been the case, whether one examines family structures, family identities, family living arrangements, family lifestyles, family experiences or whether one looks at the individual traits of family members, such as their ethnocultural background, immigration status, sexual orientation or their diverse abilities.

Building on our recent infographic, Family Diversity in Canada (2016 Census Update), our new Statistical Snapshot publication provides an expanded and more detailed portrait of modern families in Canada, as well as some of the trends that have shaped our vibrant and evolving family landscape over the years. Based on current data and trend analysis, this overview shows that diversity is, was and will continue to be a key characteristic of family life for generations to come – a reality that contributes to Canada’s dynamic and evolving society.

Highlights include:

  • According to Statistics Canada, there were 9.8 million Census families living across Canada in 2016.
  • 66% of families in Canada include a married couple, 18% are living common-law and 16% are lone-parent families – diverse family structures that continuously evolve.
  • Among Canada’s provinces, people in Quebec stand out with regard to couple/relationship formation, with a greater share living common-law than the rest of Canada (40% vs. 16%, respectively) and fewer married couples (60% vs. 84%, respectively) in 2016.
  • In 2016, 1.7 million people in Canada reported having an Aboriginal identity: 58% First Nations, 35% Métis, 3.9% Inuk (Inuit), 1.4% other Aboriginal identity and 1.3% with more than one Aboriginal identity.
  • In 2016, 22% of people in Canada reported that they were born outside the country – up from 16% in 1961.
  • In 2016, more than 1 in 5 people in Canada (22%) reported belonging to a visible minority group, 3 in 10 of whom were born in Canada.
  • 73,000 same-sex couples were counted in the 2016 Census, 12% of whom are raising children.
  • In 2016, there were nearly 404,000 multi-generational households in Canada – the fastest-growing household type since 2001 (+38%).
  • In 2011, 22% of Inuk (Inuit) grandparents, 14% of First Nations grandparents and 5% of Métis grandparents lived with their grandchildren, compared with 3.9% of among non-Indigenous grandparents.
  • In 2014, 1 in 5 Canadians aged 25 to 64 reported living with at least one disability. Disability rates were higher for women (23%) than men (18%).
  • More than one-quarter (27%) of Canadians surveyed in 2014 said religion is “very important” in their lives.
  • One-quarter of Canadians reported “no religious affiliation” in the 2011 Census (most recent data available), up from 17% in 2001.

Download A Snapshot of Family Diversity in Canada (February 2018).

This bilingual resource is a perpetual publication, and will be updated periodically as new data emerges (older versions are available upon request). 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.

Learn more about family diversity in Canada:

Infographic: Family Diversity in Canada (2016 Census Update)
What’s in a Name? Defining Family in a Diverse Society
Infographic: Modern Couples in Canada (2016 Census Update)
Timeline: 50 Years of Families in Canada
A Snapshot of Military and Veteran Families in Canada
Polyamory in Canada: Research on an Emerging Family Structure
Strength in Diversity: Positive Impacts of Children with Disabilities
Beyond the “Ideal”: Beryl Plumptre and the Vanier Institute’s Definition of “Family”
Sharing a Roof: Multi-generational Homes in Canada (2016 Census Update)
Facts and Stats: Indigenous Families in Canada
Living Apart, Together: LAT Couples in Canada


Published on February 6, 2018