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On the Move Partnership: Employment-Related Geographic
Mobility in the Canadian Context 2012–2019

From daily commutes that take hours to jobs that take workers from home for days, weeks, months or years, the phenomenon of employment-related geographic mobility (E-RGM), or extended commuting, is widespread in the Canadian workforce.

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.

The SafetyNet Centre for Occupational Health and Safety Research at Memorial University of Newfoundland is providing the leadership for this one-of-a-kind, seven-year study.

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 arnoldk@mun.ca 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: arnoldk@mun.ca.

The Vanier Institute’s role in this collaboration is:

  • To publish findings from various project subcomponents on our website, in our e-newsletter and through social media
  • To support Ph.D. students who research the impact on families at the Institute
  • To participate in conferences and panels for the project

The On the Move Partnership will increase our understanding of:

  • The size and dynamics of extended commuting
  • The impact of extended commuting on family life, neighbourhoods and home and host communities
  • The impact on labour recruitment, training requirements, productivity, occupational health and other key domains of life in Canada
  • Regional, sectoral and sociodemographic patterns and commuting trends since the 1980s
  • The policies that have an impact on extended commuting

Engage, Participate and Collaborate

Dozens of students, along with participants from more than 30 community organizations representing industry, labour and government, have been analyzing and synthesizing E-RGM-related information.

  • Graduate students may apply to conduct research at the Vanier Institute through post-doctoral internships.
  • Families and community may keep updated on the project through our e-newsletter.
  • The public will find updates on our Facebook page and can follow us on Twitter.


The On the Move Partnership receives funding support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) through its Partnership Grants funding opportunity, the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the Newfoundland and Labrador Research Development Corporation, Memorial University, Dalhousie University and numerous other university and community partners in Canada and elsewhere.

Project Timeline

The project is ongoing from 2012 to 2019.

Project Lead

Dr. Barbara Neis
University Research Professor, Department of Sociology
Senior Research Associate, SafetyNet Centre for Occupational Health and Safety Research
Memorial University of Newfoundland

Vanier Leads

Nora Spinks
The Vanier Institute of the Family
Program Committee Member

Dr. Robert Glossop and Dr. Rosemary Ommer
Vanier Alumni Network members
On the Move Partnership Program Committee Co-Chairs

Ethics Approval

This project is ethics-approved by Memorial University of Newfoundland.



For more information, please contact:

Sara MacNaull
Program Director
The Vanier Institute of the Family
94 Centrepointe Dr., Ottawa, Ontario  K2G 6B1
Tel.: 613-228-8500, ext. 219