Participants Wanted for Survey on Mobile Work

Many employees in Canada are “on the move” for work. Mobile workers may engage in long daily commutes, extended absences from home lasting weeks, months and even years, and many people travel to, from and within their jobs. These employment patterns have an impact on workers, their families, employers and the communities in which they live.

To understand this reality and how it affects households and communities, and influences and impacts Canadian prosperity, the Vanier Institute of the Family is collaborating with 40 researchers from 17 disciplines and 22 universities across Canada and around the world as part of the On the Move Partnership.

As part of this research initiative, a team of researchers is conducting a study of leading HR policies and practices used to manage mobile workers and balance concerns regarding employee productivity, family and well-being.

The On the Move Partnership is currently seeking survey participants. Do you have responsibility for mobile employees in your organization who need to spend extended time away from home to do their jobs? If so, your participation is invited.

There are two ways to take part:

  1. A confidential telephone interview (which will take less than one hour to complete). Please contact Kara Arnold for this option.
  2. An anonymous online survey taking approximately 45–60 minutes to complete.

On the Move will create a report and a free webinar on the survey findings. Participants will have access to these resources as benchmarks for participating organizations as well as a source of ideas about what policies and practices work for these employees and their organizations. Participants can also enter a draw for a free registration to an online HR Social Media seminar.

Please email Kara Arnold for more information:

To learn more about the On the Move Partnership, visit the project page, or read the following resources:


The proposal for this research has been reviewed by the Interdisciplinary Committee on Ethics in Human Research and found to be in compliance with Memorial University’s ethics policy. If you have ethical concerns about the research, such as the way you have been treated or your rights as a participant, you may contact the Chairperson of the ICEHR at or by telephone at 709-864-2861.

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
  • 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

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.