Facts and Stats: Indigenous Families in Canada

The Vanier Institute of the Family recognizes and honours Indigenous families in Canada, which have sustained rich and vibrant Nations across this land since time immemorial.((First Nations Health Authority (FNHA), “FNHA and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report,” First Nations Health Authority Support for Truth and Reconciliation Recommendations (2015). Link: https://bit.ly/2JsrmxC.)) As we engage in conversation with Indigenous communities to build a foundation of data to support evidence-based decision making, we recognize that the realities and experiences of Indigenous people – including First Nations, Métis and Inuit families – are highly diverse and, as such, the statistics and information in this resource are presented by specific group wherever possible.

Indigenous families in Canada are highly diverse and, like all families, they adapt and react to evolving social, economic, cultural and environmental contexts. Facts and Stats: Indigenous Families in Canada compiles data from Statistics Canada to explore some of the family realities of Indigenous people in Canada.

Highlights include((Source information can be found in the fact sheet.)):

  • In 2016, there were approximately 977,000 people in Canada reporting First Nations identity, 758,000 reporting Métis identity and 65,000 reporting Inuit identity – fast-growing populations that are projected to total a combined 2.0 to 2.6 million people by 2036.
  • In 2016, the average age of First Nations people (30.6 years), Métis (34.7 years) and Inuit (27.7 years) in Canada were nearly a decade younger than their non-Indigenous counterparts (40.9 years).
  • In 2016, 21% of First Nations, 11% of Métis and 23% of Inuit children aged 4 and under lived with at least one grandparent – higher shares than among their non-Indigenous counterparts (10%).
  • In 2016, 23% of First Nations people, 9% of Métis and 41% of Inuit lived in crowded housing – compared with 9% among their non-Indigenous counterparts.
  • In 2016, more than half (51%) of all foster children in Canada aged 4 and under were Indigenous, despite only accounting for 7.7% of all children in this age group.


Download Facts and Stats: Indigenous Families in Canada (June 2018) from the Vanier Institute of the Family.

The language surrounding identity and Indigenous people is evolving, and we have attempted to identify and use current terminology while also recognizing that there is always diversity regarding people’s preferences. As we continue the conversation, we welcome any feedback you may have, which can be sent to publications@vanierinstitute.ca.

This bilingual resource will be updated periodically as new data emerges. 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.


Published on June 13, 2018


Infographic: Fathers and Work in Canada

Most fathers in Canada are in the paid labour force, and research shows that a growing share are involved in their child’s early years, and are more likely to assume household management responsibilities than in the past. As fathers manage multiple responsibilities at home, at work and in their communities, parental leave and flexible work arrangements can play an important role in facilitating their growing role in family life.

Using current Census and Labour Force Survey data, our new infographic provides a statistical glance at evolving work–family experiences for fathers in Canada.

Highlights include:

  • In 2016, 91% of fathers in couples and 82% of lone fathers were employed.((Statistics Canada, “Father’s Day… By the Numbers,” The Daily (page last updated June 28, 2017). Link: https://bit.ly/2xkDOui.))
  • In 2016, new and expectant fathers inside Quebec were roughly 6 times as likely to report having received (or were intending to claim) parental benefits than fathers in the rest of Canada (80% and 13%, respectively).((Employment and Social Development Canada, Employment Insurance Monitoring and Assessment Report for the Fiscal Year Beginning April 1, 2016 and Ending March 31, 2017 (page last updated June 5, 2018). Link: https://bit.ly/2LA9WgG.))
  • As of June 2019, new and expectant fathers in eligible two-parent families((Including adoptive and same-sex couples.)) will have access to a new “use-it-or-lose-it” employment insurance (EI) parental sharing benefit, which they can take at any point following the arrival of their child.((To learn more about pending changes to parental leave, see Canada’s New Parental Sharing Benefit, a backgrounder from the Department of Finance Canada (n.d.). Link: https://bit.ly/2CMmKuX.))
  • In 2016, when asked whether they had asked for flex work in the past five years, 73% of surveyed Canadians said they had.((Employment and Social Development Canada, “When Work and Caregiving Collide: How Employers Can Support Their Employees Who Are Caregivers,” Report from the Employer Panel for Caregivers (February 16, 2015). Link: https://bit.ly/2sf0QOv.))
  • In 2012, full-time working fathers with a flexible schedule were more likely to report satisfaction with their work–life balance (81%) than those without a flexible schedule (76%).((Statistics Canada, “Satisfaction with Work–Life Balance: Fact Sheet,” Spotlight on Canadians: Results from the General Social Survey, Statistics Canada catalogue no. 89-652-X (April 14, 2016). Link: http://bit.ly/1S7H2nb.))


Download the Fathers and Work in Canada infographic from the Vanier Institute of the Family.


Learn more about modern fathers in Canada:


Published on June 12, 2018

Research Recap: School Experiences of Children in Military Families

Emily Beckett

Download Research Recap: School Experiences of Children in Military Families

There are more than 64,000 children growing up in military families in Canada.((Heidi Cramm et al., “The Current State of Military Family Research,” Transition (January 19, 2016). Link: http://bit.ly/23cpyut.)) Many of these children experience high mobility, as studies show that military families move three to four times more often than their civilian counterparts.((Kerry Sudom, “Quality of Life among Military Families: Results from the 2008/2009 Survey of Canadian Forces Spouses,” Director General Military Personnel Research and Analysis, Chief Military Personnel (August 2010). Link: http://bit.ly/2b8Hp3U.)) While most military families are highly adaptive and resilient during relocations, a growing body of research has found that these frequent moves can have an impact on family well-being.((Learn more with A Snapshot of Military and Veteran Families in Canada.))

Nearly three in 10 surveyed military spouses (27%) report they have been relocated at least four times due to military postings.((Sudom, 2010.))

While frequent moves can affect multiple aspects of family life, some research suggests that the greatest disruption on youth is related to school and school-related activities.((Pamela Arnold et al., “Needs of Military-Connected School Divisions in South-Eastern Virginia,” Old Dominion University Center for Educational Partnerships (September 2011), link: https://bit.ly/2EQGs9F; Angela J. Huebner et al., “Parental Deployment and Youth in Military Families: Exploring Uncertainty and Ambiguous Loss,” Family Relations 56(2) (April 2007), link: https://bit.ly/2qT6zrH; and Kristin N. Mmari et al., “Exploring the Role of Social Connectedness among Military Youth: Perceptions from Youth, Parents, and School Personnel,” Child and Youth Care Forum, 39(5) (October 2010), link: https://bit.ly/2vm4aey.)) Parents in military families are aware of these disruptions, with more than half (54%) of surveyed military spouses agreeing that “military children are at a disadvantage because civilian public schools do not understand military life.”((Sanela Dursun and Kerry Sudom, “Impacts of Military Life on Families: Results from the Perstempo Survey of Canadian Forces Spouses,” Director General Military Personnel Research and Analysis, Chief Military Personnel (November 2009). Link: http://bit.ly/1pbjBgC.)) However, research also shows that a child’s school environment can facilitate the transition and have a positive impact on the well-being of youth in military families.

In recent review of available literature, School Participation and Children in Military Families: A Scoping Review, Heidi Cramm, PhD, and Linna Tam-Seto, PhD(C), explored existing research on how transition affects the well-being of children and youth in military families with regard to school participation. Through an examination of 112 academic articles, they found that experiences common in military families, such as separation from a deployed parent, relocation, parental deployment in dangerous conflict situations and changes to family dynamics during and after deployments, can all shape the quality and quantity of children’s participation in school-related activities. While the vast majority of the articles in the literature review are based on U.S. data, military families in Canada seem to share many of the same experiences and concerns, as reflected in data from the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Community Needs Assessment: 2016 Overall Results report.((Prairies Research Associates, CAF Community Needs Assessment: 2016 Overall Results (September 2017). Link: https://bit.ly/2Jj2pBE.))

Resettling into a new community takes time

While starting at a new school doesn’t necessarily mean a child from a military family will experience academic difficulties, research in the literature review suggested that it takes students approximately four to six months to academically re-establish themselves each time they move. Though this period is temporary, these disruptions can have a long-term effect on opportunities later in life, specifically in regard to a child’s willingness to take risks or pursue challenges.

Based on the predominantly American research, Cramm and Tam-Seto noted that difficulties in transition among students were found to be associated with the duration of deployments (total number of months that the child’s parents are away on deployment), the mental health of the non-deployed parent and decreasing resiliency. Research also acknowledges the potentially difficult period of reintegration of a military member into family structures and routines after their deployment. Given that there is some evidence that the accumulation of months deployed is associated with these types of negative effects, it will be critical to determine what the experience is for military families in Canada.

Academic experiences and access to supports can be impacted by military life

Cramm and Tam-Seto found that students in the research, who were primarily from U.S. military families, can experience negative impacts on their academic performance (e.g., academic gaps and redundancies) when they move across jurisdictional boundaries: factors such as standards, credit requirements and the age of kindergarten can change from region to region. They also found that stress at home during deployment and reintegration can often affect in-school behaviour and class dynamics, as these students may act out emotionally and experience difficulties with concentration, anxiety and conflicts with peers. Though the survey doesn’t specify whether the problems exhibited in the children of the respondents to the CAF Community Needs Assessment were associated solely with mobility, 13% of respondents reported that their child exhibited emotional or behavioural problems at school in the past year. Further research is needed to provide a greater understanding and focus on military families in Canada.

In 2016, more than 1 in 7 surveyed CAF members (13%) reported that their child exhibited emotional or behavioural problems at school in the past year.

Studies found an association between behavioural and emotional adjustment and academic performance (e.g., conduct, attendance, attitudes toward school and approaches to learning). The difficulties associated with transitioning to a new school can be compounded when a student requires access to special education resources.((Cramm, 2016.)) Many of the 8.2% of surveyed CAF families who report having children with special needs((Heidi Cramm, “Health Care Experiences of Military Families of Children with Autism,” Transition (November 6, 2017). Link: https://bit.ly/2h9kOnT.)) require access to resources and supports, and the process of accessing them can be disrupted with every move.

Like any family with a member with special needs, many military parents of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can face difficulties navigating health care and education systems, not only to acquire appropriate resources but to secure assessments and diagnoses as well.((Cramm, 2017.)) Obtaining a diagnosis can be difficult as families can spend months or even years on a wait-list, which can result in military families relocating before they receive care or services.

Many special education resources cannot be accessed without a diagnosis, and Cramm and Tam-Seto found that schools may delay providing resources based on the assumption that a student’s academic struggles are related solely to military life or a temporary reaction to a deployed parent. Alternatively, special education resources are occasionally provided rather than taking the larger step of addressing gaps in education due to relocation. Many U.S. school staff report that they feel unable to appropriately identify students in military families for clinical referrals.

Building community in the face of high mobility

Research shows that in the context of high mobility, military students can experience difficulties initiating and maintaining meaningful personal relationships and building social circles with children their age. Many civilian peers may not understand or be able to empathize with parental deployment or frequent moves, which can have an impact on relationships with military children. Social connections between military and civilian youth are common, since 85% of military families in Canada now live off-base in civilian communities, compared with only 20% in the mid-1990s.((Cramm, 2017.))

Cramm and Tam-Seto found that children of military families living in U.S. civilian communities are particularly vulnerable to feelings of isolation and loneliness – important measures, since the connection between strong social networks and well-being has been well established in research.((Maire Sinha, “Canadians’ Connections with Family and Friends,” Spotlight on Canadians: Results from the General Social Survey, Statistics Canada catalogue no. 89-652-X (page last updated November 30, 2015). Link: https://bit.ly/1waJ2MQ.))Conversely, research shows that a sense of community belonging can be a factor in protecting mental health and enhancing resiliency.((Statistics Canada, “Community Belonging,” Healthy People, Healthy Places, Statistics Canada catalogue no. 82-229-X (January 2010). Link: https://bit.ly/2Jl4MmX.))

Participation in extracurricular activities can be affected by mobility among youth in military families. For example, opportunities for a child in a military family to sign up for a soccer team may have passed by the time they move, as the tryouts may have already been held and the team was set before the beginning of the academic year. Higher levels of sports teams or leadership programs may pass over military students to avoid complications that could arise if the student needs to relocate again.

The 2016 CAF Community Needs Assessment report found that among respondents who cited their child’s well-being as the most significant problem in the past year, nearly three in 10 (29%) reported requiring help with activities (e.g., bolstering fitness, stress relief, family bonding) to aid in the child’s well-being. Circumstances may not allow a parent to organize transportation to extracurricular activities or manage without the student’s support at home due to increased child care responsibilities during parental deployment, as 23% of all respondents reported experiencing issues with child care, such as quality, distance, expense and hours of availability.

Educational professionals have unique opportunities to facilitate transitions

Research suggests that teachers, counsellors and other educational professionals have unique opportunities to facilitate transitions for military youth. American research in the review suggested that the school environment can act as a protective factor during relocation, and that educators can support students in military families by strengthening the child’s resiliency and adaptive coping skills.

Due to the inherently disruptive nature of relocation and the potential loss of stability and routine in their lives, military families and students can be particularly reliant on school personnel and structure for social and emotional support. Among surveyed CAF parents who selected child well-being issues to be the most significant problem in the past year, more than one-third (34%) reported requiring emotional or social support. When families are able to get involved in their child’s schools, studies suggest it can enhance school engagement, academic success and their likelihood of graduating and pursuing post-secondary education.

However, Cramm and Tam-Seto also found that many U.S. educational staff report feeling overwhelmed by the magnitude of their students’ needs and struggle to deal with military family-specific issues, such as repeated transitions, parental deployment, fear of death or injury of a deployed parent, and how to meet those needs and communicate effectively with military families.

While many of the studies and research explored and cited by Cramm and Tam-Seto were from abroad, the findings are important in better understanding military families in Canada, who share many of the same “military life stressors” as their American counterparts – in particular, high mobility, frequent periods of separation and risk.((National Defence and Canadian Forces Ombudsman, “On the Homefront: Assessing the Well-being of Canada’s Military Families in the New Millennium,” Special Report to the Minister of National Defence (November 2013). Link: https://bit.ly/2q6hi2a.)) The research in this scoping review study suggests that schools and educational professionals with a high degree of military literacy (awareness of these stressors and military family experiences) can play a major role in facilitating transitions among youth. Canadian-specific research with school communities will be important in the coming years.

Resources and information facilitate support for military youth

Enhancing military literacy among educational professionals can play an important role in supporting military youth and their families, and many have expressed a desire for resources to help them with this goal. Resources such as School Counsellors Working with Military and Veteran Families, published in 2017 in collaboration with the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association and the Canadian Military and Veteran Families Leadership Circle, can play an important role in creating and strengthening “military-literate” teams of school counsellors (and their colleagues) in schools across Canada by providing information about the military and Veteran lifestyle and sharing tailored resources.

Military and Veteran families are strong, diverse and resilient, and they make unique and valuable contributions to communities across the country. Many experience high mobility, which affects the well-being of military-connected children and youth, and, in turn, on the well-being and operational effectiveness of serving CAF members.((National Defence and Canadian Forces Ombudsman, 2013.)) Enhancing understanding of their experiences and the “military lifestyle” among educational professionals and others who study, serve and support families will be key to ensuring that communities and workplaces are inclusive environments in which these families can thrive.


Read the full study:

Heidi Cramm, PhD, and Linna Tam-Seto, PhD(C), “School Participation and Children in Military Families: A Scoping Review,” Journal of Occupational Therapy, Schools, & Early Intervention (March 1, 2018). Link: https://bit.ly/2qiWfcU.


Download Research Recap: School Experiences of Children in Military Families


Emily Beckett is a professional writer living in Ottawa, Ontario.

Published on May 22, 2018

This article was reviewed by Col. (retd) Russ Mann, Special Advisor to the Vanier Institute of the Family and former Director of Military Family Services, as well as Heidi Cramm, PhD, and Linna Tam-Seto, PhD(C).

Facing Death: Emerging Trends in Death and Dying in Canada

Emily Beckett

Throughout Canada’s history, the experience of death and dying has changed significantly for families and their communities. Across generations, evolving social, cultural and medical trends have shaped family experiences with death, be they shifts in the causes of death, progressive practices in medicine and care at the end of life or social norms and customs surrounding death that are perpetually in transition. Throughout all this, families have adapted and reacted, finding new ways of mourning the loss of loved ones, and acknowledging and celebrating their lives and their legacies.

To explore developments in the experience of death and dying in Canada, the Vanier Institute of the Family published Family Perspectives: Death and Dying in Canada, authored by writer, speaker and retired Carleton University professor Dr. Katherine Arnup. An update to the original 2013 edition, this conversation catalyst explores diverse family experiences with death while encouraging families to have conversations about death and end-of-life care planning. While these topics are important to the well-being of dying people and their families, many find it difficult to discuss end-of-life subjects with their loved ones and health care providers. However, the topic has been brought to the forefront of public discourse, fuelled by population aging and the legalization of medical assistance in dying (MAID) in June 2016.

With this silence broken, the ways that families across Canada recognize, accept and react to death have changed. People are finding new ways to confront their mortality, face death and celebrate the lives of those they care about, as new opportunities for connection and communication are now possible thanks to social media and online life. These changes are driven by individuals, families and communities – all of which intersect, interact with and have an impact on an ever-changing policy landscape. By exploring some of the new and emerging ways people think about and manage death and end-of-life care planning, much can be learned about how families in Canada are adapting and reacting to death in the current climate.

Death cafés

One new trend that provides an opportunity to confront death is the creation and popularization of death cafés. In 2004, Swiss-born anthropologist Bernard Crettaz hosted a small gathering called café mortel to talk about death. The concept was picked up and popularized by Londoner Jon Underwood, who hosted his first death café in his East Hackney home is 2011. Since then, more than 6,000 death cafés across 55 countries have been held. Though many informal death cafés exist, only those planned by individuals associated with Underwood’s organization can use the title “Death Café.”

The idea [behind death cafes] is to “demystify” death and help people face their fears by facilitating conversation, thus helping to mitigate people’s fears about death and erode the taboo on the subject.

A death café is a gathering of strangers who connect online to come together over tea and cake to discuss death. Participants are separated into tables of four or five with a list of potential conversation starters. The ages of participants vary, ranging from youths to seniors. Most people in attendance have some first-hand experience with death or have had a serious illness themselves, but it isn’t a requirement. Death cafés have few rules – no promotions of services or merchandise and no orthodoxy. These gatherings provide an opportunity to confront and air out our fears regarding death and examine our own desires for the end of our lives. The idea is to “demystify” death and help people face their fears by facilitating conversation, thus helping to mitigate people’s fears about death and erode the taboo on the subject.

Managing death in a digital age

With communications technology rapidly evolving and a growing share of Canadians connecting and staying in touch online, it’s no surprise that this influences how people respond to major life events such as death – a reality highlighted in Family Perspectives: Death and Dying in Canada. As social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram have become ubiquitous only in recent years, our norms, expectations and sense of propriety surrounding death in the “digital age” are still in their infancy. For example, searching for the “#funeral” hashtag on Instagram reveals people’s diverse ways of acknowledging and sometimes celebrating the lives of recently passed family members. However, it also provides images that many people might feel “cross the line” when it comes to respecting the feelings and privacy of the deceased and their families. As part of our new conversation of death, discussing boundaries and appropriate ways to intersect our grief with an increasingly public life on social media is imperative.

As social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram have become ubiquitous only in recent years, our norms, expectations and sense of propriety surrounding death in the “digital age” are still in their infancy.

Apps such as WeCroak, which sends five notifications at random times during the day to remind users of their eventual death (emulating Bhutanese tradition), represent another way people are using technology to face death. The idea behind WeCroak is to remind people of their mortality and, in doing so, remind them of the value of life.

As fewer Canadians identify with and practise religion, as seen over the last few decades, an increasing number are turning toward non-religious spaces, such as funeral homes, for end-of-life services. As with individuals, places such as funeral homes are also using technology to help people manage death. Recognizing that Canadians are more spread out and mobile than in the past, some now offer video recording or live-streaming of funeral services to reach friends and family members who cannot physically be there to pay their respects.

Death doulas

With a vast majority of Canadians expressing a desire to die at home, many are turning to death doulas (also known as death midwives or soul midwives) to make this a reality for themselves or a loved one. As described in Family Perspectives: Death and Dying in Canada, death doulas are available before, during and after death to support the dying person and their family through the process (much like birth doulas). There is no one particular job for a death doula other than to facilitate the wishes of their client and client’s family. This may include aiding in planning or coordinating end-of-life care, providing emotional support to grieving family and friends through the process, arranging the funeral service, celebration of life or burial rituals, and tending to the body.

Though death doulas are informally trained (mainly by other doulas), some are trained as nurses and can provide medical assistance to the dying. While certification programs are available, no formal government-approved certification currently exists in Canada.

Community mourning and celebrations of life

The decline in the share of Canadians identifying with religion has also shaped where and how we grieve. As services were typically held in churches or religious settings in past generations, a growing number of families are saying goodbye to loved ones in non-religious settings, such as community centres, secular sacred spaces, restaurants, hockey rinks and private homes – locations that may have significantly more meaning to the deceased than a religious place of worship. Many people are passing on events that focus on mourning loss (e.g. funerals, wakes) in favour of celebrations of life. Some are even hosting “living wakes” to honour dying persons and their lives while they are still around to receive the gratitude and respect of their family and friends.

Many people are passing on events that focus on mourning loss (e.g. funerals, wakes) in favour of celebrations of life.

The manner in which people are laid to rest is also changing, and people now have more opportunities than in the past to choose what to do with their remains, with some opting for methods that align with their personal values, preferences and aspirations. For example, green burials (when the body is laid directly in a shroud or simple pine box to limit environmental impact) and biodegradable urns that facilitate the growth of a plant or tree from among the ashes could enable a nature lover who was environmentally conscious in life to maintain that in death. There are even memorial spaceflights available to send a symbolic portion of someone’s remains to land among the stars, on the moon or beyond.((Lauren O’Neil, “You Can Now Be Buried on the Moon – Even If You’re Not Rich,” CBC News (August 25, 2015). Link: https://bit.ly/1isVd82.))

The topic of death and dying in Canada will become increasingly important to families, organizations and policy-makers in coming decades, as the same factors that pushed it to the forefront (e.g. population aging, legislation) are projected to continue.((Learn more in Vanier Institute of the Family, A Snapshot of Population Aging and Intergenerational Relationships in Canada (June 2017).)) While these are difficult topics for people to discuss, they are unquestionably important, and an essential step toward becoming a society that doesn’t defy or deny the universal experience of death.

While death may be a medical fact of life, death is also a human issue, a social issue, an issue that impacts each and every one of us. When we can embrace our deaths … perhaps we can begin to create a culture that truly values living and dying.

– Katherine Arnup, Family Perspectives: Death and Dying in Canada


Family Perspectives: Death and Dying in Canada examines the evolution of death and dying in Canada across generations, the desires and realities of families surrounding death and dying, the role of families in end-of-life care and its impact on well-being. Through current data and trend analysis, personal interviews with caregivers and families, and personal reflections from hospice volunteering from author Dr. Katherine Arnup, this study discusses death and dying within the current and emerging social, cultural and policy landscapes.


Download Family Perspectives: Death and Dying in Canada

Emily Beckett is a professional writer living in Ottawa.

Published on May 9, 2018

Death Becoming Less Taboo, but Many Families Avoid Talking About End-of-Life Care

Death is a natural part of life, but many Canadians are hesitant to have essential conversations about the end of their lives. The Vanier Institute of the Family seeks to change this with the publication of Family Perspectives: Death and Dying in Canada, a conversation catalyst intended to spark dialogue in households, workplaces and communities across the country by exploring death and dying through a family lens.

Family Perspectives: Death and Dying in Canada examines the evolution of death and dying in Canada across generations, the desires and realities of families surrounding death and dying, the role of families in end-of-life care and its impact on well-being. Through current data and trend analysis, interviews with caregivers and families, and reflections on hospice volunteering from author Dr. Katherine Arnup, this study discusses death and dying within the current and emerging social, cultural and policy landscapes.


– Hospice palliative care can play an important role in helping dying people and their families, yet most Canadians don’t receive any.

  • Palliative care benefits up to 85% of dying people at the end of their lives.
  • An estimated 16% to 30% of Canadians receive some form of palliative care, depending upon where they live.
  • Three-quarters (74%) of surveyed Canadians report having thought about end-of-life care, but only one-third (34%) have actually had a conversation with a family member. 

– Medical assistance in dying (MAID) is having an impact on the conversation on death and dying in Canada. 

  • Since June 2016, more than 2,600 people across Canada have obtained medical assistance in dying.
  • More than one in eight seniors in Canada (12%) say they or a family member have talked to a health care provider about access to MAID.

– Death is becoming less taboo in Canada, thanks to care providers and community initiatives. 

  • Hospice staff and volunteers, death doulas and other end-of-life practitioners are providing diverse forms of support to many families in Canada, including facilitating advance care planning and discussions about end-of-life care, coordinating care and providing grief support.
  • “Death Cafés” are helping people across Canada to gather and discuss their thoughts about death and dying.

“While many people are hesitant to talk about death and dying with their families and health care providers, some of the silence surrounding death and dying in Canada has been broken – a step in the right direction,” says Dr. Arnup. “Talking about death with family, planning for what we hope for and supporting others can help us to see that death is a natural part of life that is not inherently undignified, and to appreciate the present, thereby enriching our lives.”

“Birth and death are among the few universal family experiences,” says Vanier Institute CEO Nora Spinks. “Many Canadians and their families are hesitant to discuss death despite the importance of these conversations in providing and arranging for the care of loved ones at the end of life. It is our hope that Family Perspectives: Death and Dying in Canada helps to move the conversation forward as we recognize and celebrate National Hospice Palliative Care Week.”

Download Family Perspectives: Death and Dying in Canada 


Published on May 7, 2018