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

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

Call-out: Families, Mobility, and Work Atlantic Canadian Symposium

Are you working with families that are separated due to employment in the oil and gas industry, construction, trucking, health care, forestry, the military, fishing, agriculture, education, tourism or some other type of work? The Families, Mobility, and Work Atlantic Canadian Symposium is looking for presenters, delegates and sponsors to participate in next year’s gathering, May 15–17, 2018, at the University of Prince Edward Island.

Download a PDF flyer – please share!

Families in Canada are diverse and continually adapting to the realities of a changing labour market. These changes include sectoral shifts in employment and growth in precarious and mobile work that often requires complex and extended travel for work. This employment-related geographical mobility (ERGM) includes extended and complex daily commutes to work as well as less frequent commutes with extended absences from home.

These commutes can be to a regular place of work or to multiple, transient, remote and sometimes, as in trucking, mobile worksites. Many Canadians and a growing number of people from outside of Canada work in other regions, provinces and countries, which often results in prolonged daily, weekly, monthly or even longer periods away from loved ones and home communities.

The Families, Mobility, and Work Atlantic Canadian Symposium will examine the intersections between diverse families, work situations and ERGM in the Canadian context. Some research has documented the challenges associated with some types of work-related mobility (such as long-distance commuting or short but lengthy daily commutes) for some kinds of families (from professionals to migrants performing jobs in unskilled positions). However, little attention has been paid to different types of families engaged in the full spectrum of ERGM in diverse sectors of the Canadian labour market.

The Symposium will facilitate dialogue and sharing between those studying, serving and supporting families who are experiencing work-related mobility, with a focus on leading and emerging policy and practices at home, at work and in the community. It will bring together (face-to-face and virtually) policy-makers and civil society leaders from multiple sectors, researchers studying the intersectionality between families and ERGM in Canada, and families directly impacted by work-related mobility.

Some potential themes for discussion will include:

In the home:

  • What role does work-related mobility play in family planning, conception/fertility and parenthood?
  • How is parenting and child care, caregiving and elder care, or care for persons with disabilities impacted by ERGM? How are these care relationships impacted by extended absences 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 places 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 and atypical work schedules combine with work-related mobility to impact the familial 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 with support from the SSHRC-funded A Tale of Two Islands and On the Move Partnership projects and in collaboration with the Vanier Institute of the Family, the University of Prince Edward Island and Memorial University of Newfoundland.

Participation and partnership with other research programs and groups is welcome, including those in government and civil society interested in enhancing our understanding of how work/employment and families interact with, have an impact on and are affected by ERGM. We also invite participation from families directly impacted by employment mobility.

Those interested in partnering with, presenting at and/or participating in the Symposium should contact Dr. Christina Murray, Faculty of Nursing, University of Prince Edward Island or Danielle Devereaux at the On the Move Partnership, Memorial University no later than September 15, 2017.


Published on July 27, 2017

Congratulations to Canada’s Next Governor General

On behalf of the Vanier Institute of the Family, CEO Nora Spinks extends congratulations to Ms. Julie Payette on her appointment as the 29th Governor General of Canada. Her esteemed career and history of accomplishment serve as an inspiration to Canadians of all ages and backgrounds, and we look forward to her leadership as Canada moves beyond its 150th anniversary into a bright future.

Founded in 1965 by His Excellency General The Right Honourable Georges P. Vanier and Madame Pauline Vanier, the Vanier Institute of the Family is a national, independent, charitable organization dedicated to understanding the diversity and complexity of families and the reality of family life in Canada. In our work to realize the Vaniers’ vision, we offer access to a range of publications, research initiatives, presentations and social media content to enhance the national understanding of how families interact with, have an impact on and are affected by social, economic, environmental and cultural forces.

Throughout their tenure, we have worked closely with Their Excellencies, The Right Honourable David Johnston and Mrs. Sharon Johnston in a variety of settings to facilitate the work of those who study, serve and support Canada’s diverse families. We look forward to continuing our long-standing relationship between the Vanier Institute and the Office of the Governor General.


Published on July 14, 2017

Exploring Families with Statistics Canada and the Vanier Institute

In their most recent blog post, Statistics Canada discusses the Vanier Institute’s approach to exploring families and family experiences, as well as its role in enhancing the national understanding of families in Canada.

“Statistics Canada data are vital to what we do and to all of the people and organizations that want, and are involved with, evidence-based decision making,” said Spinks. “At the Vanier Institute, we look deeper to find the stories these numbers are telling us, and to ultimately make a difference in the lives of Canadians from coast to coast to coast.”

– Vanier Institute CEO Nora Spinks

Read more by visiting the Statistics Canada blog post, Learning about Canada’s diverse families through Nora Spinks from the Vanier Institute of the Family.


Posted on June 23, 2017