Families Count 2024: new resource on family structure now available


Families Count 2024 is now available

2025: Celebrate 60 years of advancing knowledge of families in Canada


Approaching 60 years of the Vanier Institute

For 60 years now, the Vanier Institute of the Family has served as a national resource for understanding families and family life in Canada.

Since its founding, the Vanier Institute of the Family has been addressing these issues through its work with organizations that support families, scholars who create knowledge about families, and governments charged with creating policies that reflect these understandings.

“The Vanier Institute of the Family can be compared to a Royal Commission established to investigate and learn all there is to know about the families of Canada in a world of change. But since the need for knowledge and study will continue as long as we inhabit the globe, this Royal Commission will never be discharged.”

– General The Right Honourable Georges P. Vanier, 1966

Then and now:

60 years of families in Canada

The Vanier Institute has been monitoring and reporting on family trends since being founded in 1965. Families drive and adapt to social, economic, cultural, and environmental change,
as reflected in data from Statistics Canada:

4.4M and 10.3M

Number of Census family households in Canada in 1966 and 2021, respectively.

91.8% and 64.6%

Proportion of Census families that included a married couple in 1966 and 2021, respectively.

8.2% and 16.4%

Proportion of Census families that were one-parent families in 1966 and 2021, respectively.

2.83 and 1.33

Average number of children per woman in Canada (Total Fertility Rate) in 1966 and 2022, respectively.

35.8% and 79.7%

Labour force participation rate of mothers aged 25 to 54 of children under age 6 in 1976 and 2023, respectively.

15.4% and 23.0%

Proportion of the population in Canada that was born outside the country in 1966 and 2021, respectively.

Every family has its own unique history. The same is true of the Vanier Institute of the Family, which has been studying families and family life across Canada for nearly 60 years.

Pauline Vanier conceived of the idea of an Institute to promote the wellbeing of families. She and Governor General Georges Vanier hosted the Canadian Conference on the Family that led to the founding, in 1965, of the Vanier Institute.

The Vanier Institute launched Family Relations, Canada’s first family life education program. Resources from the Institute continue to shape understanding of and services for families across Canada.

The Vanier Institute undertook a national coordination role on behalf of the Canada Committee celebrating the UN International Year of the Family. The following year the Institute received the distinguished service award from the National Council on Family Relations.

The institute will proudly celebrate its 60 years of advancing knowledge about families in Canada.

Georges and Pauline Vanier

The Vanier Institute of the Family was founded in 1965 by then-Governor General Georges P. Vanier and Madame Pauline Vanier, following the inaugural Canadian Conference on the Family in June 1964 at Rideau Hall.

Learn more about Georges and Pauline Vanier on Wikipedia: Georges Vanier and Pauline Vanier.

The Vanier Institute: 60 and beyond—our commitment to the future generations

We aim to help to build a healthy and inclusive Canadian society with family wellbeing at its core, where every family is recognized, supported, and celebrated. Through our work, we increase understanding of diverse families in Canada, enhance our networks and reach, and influence policy change and societal conditions to support marginalized and vulnerable families.

Mobilize credible and accurate information about family wellbeing in Canada

Build capacity of scholars and emerging professionals to support the study of families in Canada

Deepen our relationships with media, government, and academics

Deepen our relationships with media, government, and academics

Engage policymakers and advocate for inclusive and equitable policies for all families

Diversify voices presented through our work, with a focus on Francophone and Indigenous identities