Vanier Institute and CHRC Host Roundtable on Workplace Diversity and Human Rights

On February 28, 2017, the Vanier Institute of the Family and the Canadian Human Rights Commission partnered to host the Canadian Work–Life Leadership Circle Roundtable on Workplace Diversity and Human Rights. This collaboration brought together Canadian leaders with an interest or involvement in work–life issues to enhance the ongoing conversation on work, life and family in Canada.

The roundtable included the following catalytic presentations and discussions:

  • Human Rights Perspectives and Workplace Impacts: The intersection of workplace policy and human rights moving forward (Marie-Claude Landry, Ad.E., Chief Commissioner, Canadian Human Rights Commission)
  • Diversity, Inclusion and Human Rights in the Workplace: The diversity of families and employees and their impact on workplace policy (Nicole Nussbaum, Staff Lawyer, Legal Aid Ontario)
  • Leading and Promising Practices: Workplace policy and practice, such as the duty to accommodate on the basis of family status, right to request flex and extending family-related leaves

“The concept of family is evolving every day, our workplaces should too,” said Marie-Claude Landry, Lawyer Emeritus (Ad.E.), member of the Bar and Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission. “Workplace accommodation is about working differently, not less. Supporting employees to meet their family obligations means that everyone wins.”

“Human rights legislation, family law, labour law, employment law and immigration law all impact families and aren’t always in alignment,” said Vanier Institute of the Family CEO Nora Spinks. “The complexity and diversity of families is being taken into consideration with informal and formal workplace accommodations in order for employees to fulfill their multiple responsibilities at work and at home.”

 

Learn about work–life and work–family issues, and diversity in Canada with the following Vanier Institute resources:

 


Published on March 2, 2017




Leaders meet to share progress on developing military literacy in Canada

(Ottawa, ON, January 24, 2017) Her Excellency Sharon Johnston, C.C., joined representatives of the Canadian Military and Veteran Families Leadership Circle yesterday, engaging with members to create resources to develop military literacy among professional associations and community organizations that will have a positive impact on the military and Veteran family experience.

Her Excellency highlighted the work being done to create a circle of support for military and Veteran families. “As we celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation, the Leadership Circle illustrates the power of collaboration and community engagement across the country for the benefit of military and Veteran families,” she said.

Canada is home to 40,000 Regular Force military families, 14,000 Reserve Force families and more than 600,000 Veterans. They access a variety of programs and services in their neighbourhoods, including child care and eldercare, health and mental health, education, employment and transition support. Community programs are more inclusive and welcoming of military and Veteran families when professionals and practitioners have a high degree of military literacy – awareness of their experiences and unique “military life stressors” (i.e. high mobility, separation and risk). The Leadership Circle facilitates innovative partnerships and collaborations based on building military literacy.

Statistics on Military and Veteran families in Canada:

  • In the mid-1990s, 80% of military families in Canada lived ON a base – today, 85% live OFF-base
  • 49% of serving CAF members and 37% of Veterans have children under 18
  • The majority (54%) of surveyed children in military families say they feel pride in their deployed parent
  • 87% of surveyed CAF partners say they are able to cope emotionally with their partner’s absence during deployment
  • 3 in 10 surveyed CAF partners spouses say their career has NOT been affected by their partner’s military service
  • 8% of Veterans report living with low income, compared with 15% of Canadians

“The military lifestyle is unique and full of adventure. The effectiveness and well-being of our military members is underpinned by their strong, resilient, and proud military families who remain that way due to the programs and services delivered by the types of organizations represented in the Leadership Circle,” said Major General Wayne Eyre, Deputy Commander Military Personnel Command.

“Canadian military and Veteran families can thrive if they have access to appropriate care and support. Since military families move so frequently, they often face special challenges like finding a family doctor or continuing educational progress for their children when they relocate to a new community, or a new province,” said Colonel Dan Harris, Director, Military Family Services and Co-Chair, Canadian Military and Veteran Families Leadership Circle. “Military Family Services, as a co-founder of the Military and Veteran Families Leadership Circle, is happy to collaborate with our many committed partners to enhance military literacy among associations and organizations in Canada.”

“The true value of the Leadership Circle is fully realized as committed members continue to work together to produce useful resources, develop innovative programs and establish strong relationships,” added Nora Spinks, CEO of the Vanier Institute of the Family and Co-Chair of the Canadian Military and Veteran Families Leadership Circle.

“When a man or woman serves in the Canadian Armed Forces, the entire family serves with them.  Sharing innovative ideas is key; and providing reliable information for professionals and community practitioners about the unique lifestyle of military and Veteran families is vital to building awareness,” said Karen McCrimmon, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, who also attended the event.  “Veterans Affairs Canada is proud to be working with so many committed organizations to enhance understanding, access, resources and care for Veteran families.”

The Canadian Military and Veteran Families Leadership Circle is a collaboration between organizations and leaders from across the country that is building awareness, capacity, competency and community in support of military and Veteran families. This growing initiative is currently comprised of more than 60 individuals from over 50 organizations, including 38 member organizations, who are working with and for military and Veteran families in Canada.

 


Learn about the Leadership Circle Hubs.

Watch the video message to Leadership Circle members and participants from Hon. Kent Hehr, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence.

Learn about military and Veteran families in Canada with A Snapshot of Military and Veteran Families in Canada.

Watch the CFPC video about ensuring equitable access to quality health care for military families.




Twitter Chat: Military Families in Transition to Civilian Life

Diverse, resilient and strong, Canada’s military and Veteran families are a source of pride for the country and they are an essential part of our nation’s family landscape. Through their service and dedication, Canadian Armed Forces members and their families have earned our respect and deserve our recognition and full support.

On Tuesday, April 5, the Vanier Institute of the Family will co-host the first in a series of Twitter Chats with Veterans Ombudsman Guy Parent from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. EDT. The theme of this chat will be military families in transition to civilian life, and we welcome Veterans, families, service providers and experts to participate in online discussions about the experiences of these families in transition.

This series of Twitter Chats will facilitate engagement between the Veterans Ombudsman and Canada’s Veteran community, allowing those who have served our country to voice their concerns and give feedback, and to guide the Ombudsman’s priorities.

To participate, tweet at @VetsOmbudsman (English) or @OmbudVeterans (French) and use/follow the #OVOChat hashtag. Over the course of the chat, we will be posing questions, sharing information and learning from military families as well as from those who study, serve and support them.

To learn more about the Vanier Institute’s work with military and Veteran families, visit our Military and Veteran Families in Canada Initiative and Canadian Military and Veteran Families Leadership Circle pages.

See you online!




Human Rights Perspectives: Emerging Issues and Workplace Impacts

Marie-Claude Landry

Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission

The following was delivered by Marie-Claude Landry, Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, at the Canadian Work–Life Leadership Circle Round Table on February 26, 2016. Hosted by the Vanier Institute of the Family and Alterna Savings, this event brought together employers and HR professionals and practitioners to engage in conversation about work–life quality, flex and intergenerational change in workplaces.


 

Good morning!

I have been looking forward to this discussion all week. Thank you so much for inviting us to participate.

As the Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, I’m happy to be discussing work–life balance from a human rights perspective.

I think this discussion is incredibly important, and I hope it will contribute to a better future for our children.

I must tell you that I personally have lived and understand this issue – as an employer, a daughter, a mother, and a grandmother.

Today, many employees across Canada are struggling with how to meet both their work and family caregiving obligations.

Of course, accommodating family obligations poses very real challenges for employers, too.

But the truth is, being more flexible and more proactive about accommodating family obligations is one of the best decisions an employer can make.

And here’s why – I’m going to give you three reasons.

First: because the concept of family is evolving every day, our workplaces should too.

Second: because accommodation is about working differently, not less.

And finally: because supporting employees to meet their family obligations means that everyone wins.

Before I go on, I would like to tell you a bit more about the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

We are Canada’s human rights watchdog.

We operate independently from government.

We stand up for people who are experiencing discrimination in Canada.
… people who are not receiving a fair and equal chance
… people who are not being fully included.

As you know, the Canadian Human Rights Act includes “family status” as a ground
of discrimination.

Family status – or a ground like it – is included in almost all provincial human rights codes, including the Ontario Human Rights Code.

Recently, the courts have confirmed that caregiving is a protected right under “family status.”

This means that despite workplace policies or practices, an employer must accommodate employees who are providing necessary caregiving to their loved ones.

As I mentioned, the challenge for today’s employer is that the concept of family is more complex than ever.

This brings me to my first point: The concept of family is evolving every day.

Nearly 40 years ago, when the Canadian Human Rights Act was created, the socially accepted definition of family was very limited.

Today, much has changed.

The term “family” is no longer just a mom, a dad, a brother and a sister.

It is a mom and a mom, a dad and a dad, a grandparent and a child, a friend caring for a neighbour, and so on.

So what does this mean for employers?

It means that when it comes to family obligations, employers need to keep an open mind.

Employers should review and revise policies on leave and benefits to recognize that families come in many forms.

One example of emerging family diversity issues is the increasing recognition of transgender rights.

An important change to the Canadian Human Rights Act will hopefully happen soon. It will make the rights of transgender people in Canada explicit in federal human rights law.

This is coming. And in many provinces, it has already happened, including in Ontario, which already has protections on the basis of gender identity and gender expression.

Workplace policies need to be made more inclusive to support trans employees who are transitioning, and employees with trans partners or children.

There are many agencies, including Egale and the 519 in Ontario, who can assist workplaces to be more inclusive of trans employees and their families.

Some employers are concerned. They think that as the definition of “family” expands, it will mean more accommodation requests, more absences, and less productivity.

Not true.

This brings me to my second point: Accommodation is about working differently, not less.

Accommodating employees means trying to find ways for them to meet both work and family obligations in creative and flexible ways.

Our Guide to Balancing Work and Caregiving Obligations provides some examples of various flex-work options.

It also explains that accommodation is a two-way street.

It’s about give-and-take.

Employers are not required to accommodate an employee’s every wish or preference to care for their family.

For example, leaving work to attend a child’s soccer game is, in most cases, a
personal choice.

But leaving work to bring an injured child to the hospital when no other caregiver is available is an obligation of the employee that must be accommodated.

The final solutions may not be ideal either. An employee who needs to leave early to care for a loved one may be required to make up the time.

Both the employer AND the employee need to work together to find a realistic solution that is good for both of them, and that works for everyone.

Of course, from a human rights perspective, there’s something even better than single accommodation solutions.

And that brings me to my final point today: When a workplace is inclusive and proactive about accommodating family obligations, everyone wins.

Studies show that workplaces that are open to flexible work arrangements have:
• lower rates of absenteeism,
• more loyalty among staff,
• higher morale and retention, and
• increased productivity.

A flexible workplace gives employees more options to balance their work and their family obligations.

This can actually reduce requests for accommodation.

So a flexible and inclusive workplace is better for the employee…
… which is better for productivity
… for the employer
… for the economy
… for society.

Consider this…

It was not long ago that taking a year of parental leave was not even an option.

Today, it is a given.

A change to our policies can create a culture shift in our workplaces, so that we can all work and care for loved ones.

It’s about being proactive.

Why?

… because the concept of family is evolving every day and so our workplace policies should too.

… because accommodation is about working differently, not less.

… because when we are proactive about accommodating the family obligations of our staff, everyone wins.

Thank you.


This article can be downloaded in PDF format by clicking here.

This document can also be found on the Canadian Human Rights Commission website.

 




Flex at Work Benchmarking Initiative

Sara MacNaull and Nora Spinks

Workplace flexibility and the use of flexible work arrangements (FWAs) continue to be topics of great interest for employers and employees alike.

Organizations across Canada have been adapting their flex initiatives in response to changing demographics (aging workforce, millennial generation), technological advancements and increasing expectations of workplace flexibility among employees. Many of these organizations have also embarked on a systematic review of their organizational philosophy, policies and practices regarding flexible work.

Sponsored by a member of the Canadian Work–Life Leadership Circle, the Flex at Work Benchmarking Initiative focused on 15 organizations (professional services, financial institutions and Crown corporations) and their approaches to flex at work from their unique perspectives.

Key Findings from the Flex at Work Benchmarking Initiative

1. Flex is no longer optional: Workplaces are dynamic, and flex is a key component of talent management, in particular the recruitment and retention of top talent.

2. Organizations may slide along or back on the continuum: Some organizations have moved along the continuum from standard work arrangements (e.g. 9-to-5) to flexible work arrangements to mass career customization to agility and fluidity, while other have slowed down their pace or decreased flex opportunities.

3. Flex has become less formal, less bureaucratic, less structured: FWAs are less likely to be formalized in writing and more likely to be based on conversations between managers and employees to determine what arrangements work best from a performance and productivity perspective.

4. Consideration and team notification vs. permission-seeking: Flex work and remote work has become more about informing colleagues about schedule changes (i.e. choosing to work from home on a particular day) as opposed to asking a manager for permission to work from home.

Key Drivers for Flex

  • Productivity and performance
  • The importance of healthy workplaces, commitment to work–life quality
  • Commitment to sustainability and environmental protection (corporate social
    responsibility)
  • Demographics
  • Transition to team-focused performance
  • Technology (mobility)
  • Diversity and inclusion

 


Sara MacNaull is Program Director at the Vanier Institute of the Family, and is currently working toward earning the Work–Life Certified Professional designation.

Nora Spinks is Chief Executive Officer at the Vanier Institute of the Family.

For more information about work–family, diversity and inclusion, and workplace wellness, contact the Vanier Institute of the Family at worklife@vanierinstitute.ca.




Vanier Institute CEO Nora Spinks to Deliver 2016 Harshman Lecture

On February 23, 2016, Vanier Institute of the Family CEO Nora Spinks will be presenting this year’s Harshman Lecture at the University of Guelph.

In her lecture, Families in Canada: Complex, Dynamic and Diverse, Spinks will explore modern families in Canada through a human rights lens, focusing on evolving family realities and the policies, practices and procedures that currently support Canada’s families.

“We need to understand the diversity of families and the complexity of family life,” says Spinks. “Most family supports are based on a fairly traditional model of a mother, father and children or a couple with children. Increasingly, we’re seeing extended families and other diverse family forms emerging within that context.”

Workplace and community supports, she adds, need to be inclusive of families in transition, such as new immigrants, families with very young children or elderly people, and families with members in the military or in prison.

Free admission. A reception will follow.

Sponsored by the H. H. Harshman Foundation, this lecture series began a year after the death in 1977 of Dr. Page Harshman, former chair of the foundation. Previously affiliated with the University of Guelph’s former College of Family and Consumer Studies, the H. H. Harshman Foundation now supports undergraduate and graduate scholarships in the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences.

Event details:
Families in Canada: Complex, Dynamic and Diverse
Tuesday, February 23, 7 p.m.–8:30 p.m.

University of Guelph, Cutten Fields
190 College Avenue East
Guelph, Ontario




Supporting Canada’s Military and Veteran Families

Leaders from business, community organizations, government, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and military and Veteran families gathered in Ottawa at the Canadian War Museum on January 29 for the second annual meeting of the Canadian Military and Veteran Families Leadership Circle to foster and strengthen relationships, to facilitate collaboration and to spark innovation in the development and delivery of supports for Canada’s military and Veteran families.

Building awareness, competence, capacity and community

This second gathering of the Leadership Circle builds on the success of last year’s inaugural event, which saw 32 leaders from business and community organizations, the Department of Defence and Veterans Affairs, as well as Military Family Services and Military Family Resource Centres convene to build and strengthen supports for military and Veteran families.

Of the 21 organizations in attendance last year, 18 signed on as members and two more joined this year. Today, more than 40 individuals from 37 organizations have come together, including all of the original members.

Modern military and Veteran families are diverse, complex and evolving

Military and Veteran families, like civilian families, are diverse, complex and dynamic, and each one is unique. Today, there are nearly one-half million military and Veteran families from coast to coast to coast, and over 1,000 military families posted to the United States and Europe. And, across the country, nearly one-half million children are growing up in military and Veteran homes.

Military and Veteran families manage multiple roles at home, at work and in their communities. One in five Regular Force members with children is a single parent, and 16% of Veterans with children are single parents. Like civilian families across Canada, in the majority of military and Veteran couples, both adults contribute to household income. Today, on average, CAF personnel report spending more than one-quarter of their time away from home on military-related duties.

Military and Veteran family life is evolving. Twenty years ago, 80% of Regular Force CAF families lived on a base; today, 85% of these families live off base. Another 40,000 reservists live in neighbourhoods across the country – away from a base or a wing, and often not even in close proximity to one. Almost 600,000 Veterans also live in civilian communities.

Like all families, military and Veteran families access a variety of programs and services in their communities, including child care and eldercare, health and mental health, community recreation and leisure, and education and employment. These programs and services are often delivered by professionals and practitioners who have little or no knowledge, understanding or experience working with military or Veteran families.

Military literacy key to providing support for military and Veteran families

As the military and Veteran family community grows, there is a need for military literacy in Canada – awareness of the unique experiences of these families and the “military life stressors” (such as high mobility, extended and/or unexpected separation, and risk) that have an impact on CAF parents and their children.

Individuals and organizations that are military literate have the competency and confidence to consistently deliver high-quality services that are respectful and responsive to the experiences, circumstances and perspectives of military and Veteran families.

Leadership Circle partners are collaborating to support military and Veteran families

Organizations that incorporate military literacy create environments that are welcoming and inclusive of military and Veteran families, and can provide evidence-based programs and services specially tailored to support these families.

Military Family Resource Centres are but one example. They provide access to services to medically released Veterans and their families for up to two years as part of a pilot project launched in 2014.

Calian recently partnered with Military Family Services to provide access to family health care through their clinics in Toronto, Winnipeg and Halifax as part of the recently announced Military Family Doctor Network. This program helps military families access physicians to enhance the quality and continuity of care – addressing one of the key findings of the 2013 DND/CAF Ombudsman report on military families.

The Canadian Child Care Federation has partnered with the Vanier Institute to develop resources for Early Childhood Educators as a prototype for a comprehensive awareness-building campaign.

Accenture Canada is working with Military Family Services and Military Family Resource Centres to deliver employment-related training for spouses, both in person and virtually through the Skills to Succeed program.

The Vanier Institute was created through a military and Veteran family partnership

Support for Canada’s military and Veteran families has always been important to the Vanier Institute, as the inception of the Institute itself was a collaboration that included members of the military.

Our founders were military family members. His Excellency Major-General the Right Honourable Georges P. Vanier, a Veteran of two world wars, arrived home from the battlefield having lost part of his leg in combat. In 1964, in his role as Governor General, His Excellency and his wife the Honourable Pauline Vanier – along with a leadership team that included Military Social Workers – convened the Canadian Conference on the Family at Rideau Hall. That conference resulted in the establishment of the Vanier Institute of the Family.

Building relationships to strengthen supports

Going forward, there will be many opportunities for sharing, strengthening and expanding this circle. One of the publications being planned coming out of this meeting will be a Compendium of Partnerships and Collaborations that exist across Canada. This publication will highlight work being done across the country and will encourage others to join this growing initiative. It will convey a strong message to military and Veteran families that the country is standing beside them while they stand behind their loved ones.

Partnerships and collaborations such as the Canadian Military and Veteran Families Leadership Circle demonstrate the power of working together and leveraging respective strengths. By working together, those who study, serve and support military and Veteran families can accomplish more than they can individually, can make more progress in less time and can realize more gains with less energy and fewer resources. We can ensure that of those who serve – and have served – our country, and their families, have access to community services and supports that understand the unique experiences, realities and perspectives of military and Veteran family life.




Community and Business Leaders Making a Difference for Canadian Military Families

Diverse, resilient and strong, Canada’s military and Veteran families are a source of pride for the country and are an essential part of our nation’s family landscape. Today, military and Veteran families and leaders from business, community, government and the Canadian Armed Forces will gather at the second annual Canadian Military and Veteran Families Leadership Circle at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa to build community knowledge around military and Veteran families.

Karen McCrimmon, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, will deliver the keynote address on behalf of the Honourable Kent Hehr, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence. The event is co-hosted by Canadian Armed Forces Commander of Military Personnel Command Lieutenant-General Christine Whitecross and Vanier Institute of the Family Board Chair Victor Duret. The discussions will be facilitated by Nora Spinks, CEO of the Vanier Institute, and Colonel Dan Harris, Director of Military Family Services.

“Families are fundamental to the ongoing care and support of Canada’s Veterans,” says Parliamentary Secretary McCrimmon. “The Government of Canada will listen to Veterans’ families, learn from their experiences and implement policies that make a real difference in their lives. I want to thank the Canadian Military and Veteran Families Leadership Circle for their work, and I look forward to continuing to work with them to bring about real change.”

Canada’s military and Veteran families are becoming increasingly diverse and complex, evolving as they adapt to and reflect changing social, economic, cultural and environmental conditions.

  • Today, there are nearly one-half million military and Veteran families in Canada, and one-half million children are growing up in military and Veteran households.
  • Twenty years ago, 80% of Regular Force families in the Canadian Armed Forces lived on base; today, 85% of these families live off base.
  • Another 40,000 reservists live in communities from coast to coast to coast.
  • Almost 600,000 Veterans also live in civilian communities.
  • Of Regular Force members with children, 20% are single parents, and 16% of Veterans with children are single parents.
  • On average, Canadian Armed Forces personnel report spending more than one-quarter of their time away from home on military-related duties.

“Canadian military families contribute so much to the operational effectiveness of the Canadian Armed Forces that it is absolutely essential that we work with Canadian decision-makers and other like-minded organizations to join forces with us for greater effect in support of military families,” says LGen Whitecross. “In many ways, supporting our troops begins with supporting their families.”

At last year’s inaugural Leadership Circle meeting, 32 leaders gathered to foster and strengthen relationships, partnerships and collaborations, and spark innovation and creativity in program design. This year, over 40 delegates will gather to leverage their respective strengths.

“The Leadership Circle and its members convey a strong message to military and Veteran families that the country is standing beside them while they stand behind their loved ones – people who have made Canada stronger through their service and sacrifice,” says Vanier Institute of the Family CEO Nora Spinks.

 


Learn more about the Canadian Military and Veteran Families Leadership Circle.




CIMVHR: Serving Those Who Serve Us

Nathan Battams

Diverse, resilient and strong, military and Veteran families are an essential part of Canada’s social fabric. They’re on the front lines, providing care and support to their loved ones who devote their lives to their country. They have unique experiences as a result of the mobility, separation and risk associated with military service. Like most families, they are responsive and adaptable. Their important role is strengthened with evidence-based community supports and services.

For the past six years, the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research (CIMVHR) has brought together researchers, clinicians, industry, government, students, military and retired Veterans to mobilize knowledge and advance health research to support Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members and their families.

The Vanier Institute shares CIMVHR’s passion for supporting military and Veteran families. We collaborate with community, academic, health and corporate leaders in the Military and Veteran Families in Canada Initiative and the Canadian Military and Veteran Families Leadership Circle to enhance our understanding of the unique experiences, expectations and perspectives of military and Veteran families, and to ensure military families have equitable access to services and programs in their neighbourhoods.

I was grateful for the opportunity to contribute in my own small way at CIMVHR Forum 2015, where I participated in the social media team to transfer knowledge from this event to the public. Forum 2015 was hosted at Hilton Québec, not far from where a statue of Vanier Institute founder General The Right Honourable Georges P. Vanier – himself a member of a military and Veteran family – was recently unveiled, and where he and Madame Pauline Vanier are buried at La Citadelle. It was an honour to be part of such an informative, insightful and inspirational event, where delegates from coast to coast to coast demonstrated their devotion and commitment to the health and well-being of Canada’s military, Veterans and their families.

Research sessions at Forum 2015 provided delegates with an opportunity to learn about current and emerging health research covering diverse topics related to military and Veteran health, including mental health, family health and well-being, life after service, health technology, sexual harassment, coping and resilience, homelessness, trauma therapy and more. Forum 2015’s scientific poster session showcased research studies and initiatives, allowing people to directly engage with the minds behind today’s military and Veteran health research.

The content and many of the findings presented were intriguing, diverse and eye-opening, including:

  • Non-biological “fictive” kin play an important supportive role in the lives of single military parents.
  • In Australia, the definition of “Veteran” includes the family.
  • The vast majority of single CAF parents report that military duties conflict with family life.
  • Nearly one in five military spouses report having relocated 4 to 6 times due to postings.
  • Research is being done with psychiatric service dogs to detect and manage anxiety and sleep disturbances among Veterans with PTSD.
  • Despite the frequently-reported “doom-and-gloom” narrative and deficit-focused research, many positive outcomes have been found among children in military and Veteran families.

With delegates from across the country and from diverse disciplines and backgrounds, this event demonstrated a national desire to understand and support Canada’s military and Veteran families. As CIMVHR’s Scientific Director Dr. Alice B. Aiken said at the end of Forum 2015, the desire to “serve those who serve us” has been an enduring driver for CIMVHR, and will continue to be so in the years ahead.

 


Nathan Battams is a writer and researcher at the Vanier Institute of the Family.




Dr. Alla Skomorovsky: Forum 2015 Colonel Russell Mann Award Recipient

From November 24 to 26, 2015 the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research (CIMVHR) hosted Forum 2015, where researchers, clinicians, industry, government, students, military and retired Veterans gathered to mobilize knowledge and advance health research to support Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members and their families.

Forum 2015 allowed the research, military and Veteran communities to recognize individual researchers for their work. As part of the Military and Veteran Families in Canada Initiative, the Colonel Russell Mann Award was presented at Forum 2015 to recognize high-quality Canadian research that increases our understanding of military and veteran family health. The award is named after Colonel Russell Mann (ret.), a recognized national leader and a key supporter of the Military and Veteran Families in Canada Initiative.

The Colonel Russell Mann Award was created to celebrate and recognize outstanding scholarly research, to highlight the research by translating and mobilizing knowledge from across the country, and to inspire researchers and scholars to further study the unique experiences of military and Veteran families in Canada.

This year’s recipient is Dr. Alla Skomorovsky, who is currently researching work–family conflict and well-being among CAF parents, as well as the intersection of stress coping strategies, personality and psychological well-being among CAF members.

Congratulations, Dr. Skomorovsky!