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




Vanier Institute Update: February 2017

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A Snapshot of Family Caregiving and Work in Canada

At some point in our lives, there is a high likelihood that each of us will provide care to someone we know – and receive care ourselves. Family members are typically the first to step up to provide, manage and sometimes pay for this care.

Families are highly adaptable and most of the time people find ways to manage their multiple work and family responsibilities, obligations and commitments. However, juggling work and care can sometimes involve a great deal of time, energy and financial resources, and employers can play an important role in facilitating this care through accommodation, innovation and flexibility.

In A Snapshot of Family Caregiving and Work in Canada, we explore some of the family realities and trends that shape the “landscape of care” across the country. This resource highlights how our family, care and work responsibilities intersect, interact and have an impact on each other.

Highlights include:

  • 28% of Canadians (8.1M) report having provided care to a family member or friend with a long-term health condition, disability or aging need in the past year.
  • Three-quarters of family caregivers (6.1M) were employed at the time, accounting for 35% of ALL employed Canadians.
  • Most (83%) surveyed caregivers say their experience was positive, and 95% say they are effectively coping with their caregiving responsibilities.
  • 44% of employed caregivers report having missed an average 8–9 days of work in the past 12 months because of their care responsibilities.
  • More than one-third of young carers (36%) arrived to work late, left early or took time off due to their caregiving responsibilities.
  • Employers across Canada lose an estimated $5.5 billion annually in lost productivity due to caregiving-related absenteeism.
  • Research shows that caregiving provides a variety of benefits to caregivers, including a sense of personal growth, increased meaning and purpose, strengthened family relationships, increased empathy and skill development.

 

Reconciling care and work requires understanding, respect and recognition from employers that sometimes an employee’s family circumstances need focused attention. Research shows that family caregivers and their employers benefit from policies that are inclusive, flexible and responsive, and when employees have a clear understanding of the process for handling individual requests for accommodation and customizing work arrangements.

For nearly all Canadians, caregiving is inevitable at some point over the course of their lives. Care is not always predictable and does not always arise outside working hours. Open communication and creative approaches to harmonizing work and care in a flexible manner benefits employees, employers, the economy and society.

Download A Snapshot of Family Caregiving and Work in Canada from the Vanier Institute of the Family.

 

Learn more about family caregiving and work in Canada:

 


Published on February 21, 2017




Vanier Institute Update: January 2017

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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.




Vanier Institute Update: December 2016

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Our office will be closed from December 23 to January 2 (inclusive) while we spend time with our families during the holidays.

 




Dr. Heidi Cramm receives Colonel Russell Mann Military Family Health Research Award

Congratulations to Dr. Heidi Cramm, recipient of the 2016 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. Cramm was recognized at Forum 2016 as the lead author of the study Navigating Healthcare Systems for Military-connected Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Qualitative Study of Military Families Experiencing Mandatory Relocation. Dr. Cramm and her research team conducted semi-structured qualitative interviews with military families and found that they experience challenges and burdens when tasked with system navigation for children who have autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The study recommends enhanced coordination of services and communication across interjurisdictional providers, along with health care system literacy and advocacy strategies for families.

 


Published on November 28, 2016




Vanier Institute Update: November 2016

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New Resource for Family Physicians Working with Canadian Military Families

(Vancouver, BC, November 9, 2016) Defence Minister Harjit S. Sajjan joined representatives of the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) and the Canadian Military and Veteran Families Leadership Circle today to release a new resource called Family Physicians Working with Military Families for health professionals to enhance awareness of health care issues specific to military and Veteran families in Canada.

For 40,000 Regular Force military families and 14,000 Reserve Force families in Canada, access to health care is challenging due to frequent geographic relocations, long-term separations from their loved ones and work-related risks of physical and mental illness. Families of active military members do not receive medical care through the military and must access services through provincial and territorial health care systems. Combined, these issues make it difficult to secure a family physician and maintain routine health appointments, immunizations and preventive care. Access to specialists often requires longer wait times and difficulties getting to appointments that may be hours away from where military families are stationed.

Current statistics from Family Physicians Working with Military Families:

  • 44% of Canadian Armed Forces spouses find it extremely difficult to re-establish medical services after relocation (CAFFRT, 2016)
  • 25% of military spouses did not receive needed health care in the past year, mainly due to long wait times (Wang, Aitken & CAFFRT, 2016)
  • 24% of military spouses reported that they don’t have a family physician for themselves; 17% did not have a family physician for their children (compared to the Canadian average of 15.5%)
  • 1 in 6 military members report symptoms of at least one mental health disorder (Pearson, Zamorski & Janz, 2014)

“We depend on the women and men of our Canadian Armed Forces to defend and protect Canadians. It is important that they, and their families, are supported with the health care services needed for active, productive lives,” says Defence Minister Harjit S. Sajjan. “I applaud the commitment of the partners who have collaborated to produce the new resource being released today. Sharing their collective skills and expertise makes a real difference.”

“This unique partnership and the new resource are positive and important steps to building awareness and providing reliable information for family physicians about the unique health care requirements of military families,” says CFPC Executive Director and CEO Francine Lemire, MD CM, CCFP, FCFP, CAE. “Only then can we impose positive change. The CFPC is proud to participate in this partnership and help enhance access, resources and care for all.”

“It can be challenging for many Canadian families to find family physicians and other health care providers, especially in small and remote communities. Since military families move so frequently, they often face special challenges finding a family doctor when they relocate to a new community, or a new province,” says Colonel Dan Harris, Director, Military Family Services, and Co-Chair, Canadian Military and Veteran Families Leadership Circle. “Military Family Services, as a member of the Military and Veteran Families Leadership Circle, is happy to collaborate with the College of Family Physicians of Canada on this initiative to enhance military literacy among family physicians in Canada.”

“The true value of the Leadership Circle comes to the forefront when committed members work together to build awareness, capacity, competence and community by producing tangible resources such as this for caring community providers across Canada,” adds Nora Spinks, CEO of the Vanier Institute of the Family and Co-Chair of the Canadian Military and Veteran Families Leadership Circle.

This resource was developed by a panel of experts drawn from civilian practice and the military and Veteran community, including the CFPC, Military Family Services, National Defence Health Services Group, Veterans Affairs Canada, Canadian Institute for Military and Veterans Health Research and the Vanier Institute of the Family.

 

Download Family Physicians Working with Military Families.

 


See also:

A Snapshot of Military and Veteran Families in Canada




A Snapshot of Military and Veteran Families in Canada

Canada’s military and Veteran families are diverse, resilient and strong, and they are a great source of pride for the country. They engage with – and play important roles in – their workplaces, communities and the country at large.

Like all families, military and Veteran families access a variety of programs and services in their communities, including (but not limited to) child care and eldercare, health and mental health, community recreation and leisure, and education and employment. However, these programs and services are often delivered by professionals and practitioners who have little or no understanding of, or experience with, military and Veteran families.

This lack of military literacy – awareness of the unique experiences of military and Veteran families and the “military life stressors” (mobility, separation and risk) that affect them – can result in negative experiences for both service providers and the families they seek to support.

To enhance the understanding of military and Veteran families, the Vanier Institute has published A Snapshot of Military and Veteran Families in Canada – the third in our new series of publications providing statistical analyses of diverse family experiences and the social, economic, cultural and environmental contexts that shape family life.

Highlights include:

  • Canada is home to 108,000 members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and more than 600,000 CAF Veterans.
  • In the mid-1990s, 80% of military families in Canada lived on a base, whereas 85% live off-base today.
  • There are more than 64,000 children growing up in military families in Canada.
  • Four in 10 military families with children rely on or need non-parental child care; 30% of these families report experiencing difficulties finding adequate care.
  • More than half of surveyed CAF spouses agree that “military children are at a disadvantage because civilian public schools do not understand military life.”
  • Between 21% and 27% of military families in Canada report that they do not have a primary care physician for themselves or their children, compared with 15% of the general population.
  • CAF personnel report spending a quarter of their time away from home on military-related duties.
  • More than one-quarter (27%) of surveyed CAF spouses report that they have relocated at least 4 times due to military postings.
  • More than half (51%) of surveyed CAF spouses say they’ve made some career sacrifices as a result of their partner’s military service.

 

Download A Snapshot of Military and Veteran Families in Canada from the Vanier Institute of the Family.

 


Suggested reading:

Military and Veteran Families in Canada: Collaborations and Partnerships Compendium 1.0

Building Inclusive Communities for Canada’s Military and Veteran Families

The Current State of Military Family Research